Sometimes weight problems aren’t just about overeating. It’s not the secret that stress negatively affects our health by completely affecting our lifestyle.
May cause insomnia, causing skin condition and general well-being to deteriorate. In addition, excessive stress can lead to both overweight and unwanted weight loss. Scientists have long proven why this happens and how to deal with it.
What happens to the body during stress?
The body responds to stressors with the help of the endocrine system, increasing the production of some hormones and decreasing others. This “hormonal mix” will be different for different types and levels of stress . So, in response to a short-term extreme, the adrenal glands produce a whole bunch of hormones, among which adrenaline dominates.
This invigorating biologically active substance when it enters the bloodstream , causes a surge of strength, increased pressure, rapid heartbeat and complete loss of appetite. Such feelings are experienced, for example, when jumping with a parachute or fleeing from danger. This condition is also called “fight or flight”.
Adrenaline speeds up your metabolism for a short time, because it takes a lot of energy to parachute or run fast.
It is considered that periodic testing of adrenaline surges is even useful, of course, if they are accompanied by positive emotions. That’s why we say yes to extreme episodes like skydiving, river rafting or an exciting first date.
However, frequent and prolonged exposure to stress leads to a change in the “hormonal set” . The body, realizing that extremity is slowed down, decides to include “heavy artillery” in the fight against it, where the stress hormone cortisol becomes the main weapon . This hormone in itself and in small doses is not bad either, but its long-term production leads to a negative result.
One of the most unpleasant side effects of cortisol is increased appetite and a drastic slowdown in metabolism. Metabolism is largely subject to the cruel laws of the primitive period, when every danger was associated with food problems.
Therefore, experiencing prolonged stress of “cortisol”, metabolism involves genetic memory in an inappropriate way and begins to accumulate energy for future use. And reserves are deposited in the form of the most energy-intensive substance – fat.
Here’s how, completely imperceptibly, with prolonged unwarranted stress, we start gaining weight. In addition, they are stored in the most unpleasant places: in the waist and abdomen, around the internal organs. If this continues for a long time, you may have serious health problems in the near future.
Stress and being overweight
Stress is an integral part of life. These are different types of resistance that we encounter at work, in our personal relationships, in various others. circumstances. People perceive life events differently and deal with stress differently. This perception is closely related to weight loss.
The risk of overeating increases in moments of nervous tension . Stress causes increased synthesis of the hormone cortisol, which causes fluid retention and causes the accumulation of visceral fat. Therefore, nutritionists are advised to learn how to reduce stress levels while losing weight.
We’ve already learned that overeating is often associated with nervous tension. Stress can hide various feelings and emotions, such as boredom or anxiety. The first step to solving the problem of overeating is paying attention to the needs and signals that your body emits. And to create the right habits .
Things are more complicated with cortisol. Its level is increased by stressors such as financial difficulties, overtime, conflicts or endless traffic jams, as well as chronic lack of sleep , strict low-calorie diets , over-employment with something like eating. It is important to start a stress-free diet and reduce irritation.
How do we know that being overweight doesn’t go away because of stress?
First of all, being overweight is an eating disorder. Equally likely is caused by both stress and poor eating habits.
If you’re used to exceeding your daily calorie intake and you’re stuck , stress may not be related to it. To be clear, use this formula to calculate your daily calorie intake and estimate the cost of activity throughout the day . If you consume more than you spend, then the reason for the extra pounds is in the diet.
But if you follow the norm, but are still overweight or psychologically difficult to refuse to consume such an amount of food, then you need to consider how often stressors appear in your life. This does not only mean violent shocks.
Here is a rough list of such factors:
- Lack of respect, acceptance, normal communication in the family or work team.
- Constant fear or stress caused by work, family quarrels and other factors.
- Patterns of self-destructive behavior are constant internal discomfort caused by low self-esteem, guilt, or other attitudes.
- Constant lack of sleep, hard physical work, emotional burnout.
If these factors are present in your life, it will be much easier to gain weight and harder to lose weight . How can you get rid of stress and can you do it by changing your diet, not your environment?
How to get rid of stress?
If you’re consuming too many calories and you’re stuck, the first step is to change your eating habits. However, it will be extremely difficult to do this without eliminating stressful situations.
In addition, you run the risk of developing an eating disorder. Overeating will be replaced by fanatical calorie counting or such serious problems as bulimia and anorexia.
Therefore, you must first deal with stress – change the environment in which stressors are present . For example, a job that makes you very nervous about deadlines.
If you can’t act radically – change jobs or leave the family – you can start small. For example request remote work or transfer to another department , try to be less at home – sign up for fitness or find another hobby.
There are also simple and effective ways to deal with stress:
- physical activity
- communicating with people you like
Remember – constant stress is a problem , which not only prevents you from losing weight, but also provokes the appearance of disease and shortens your life.
Weight Loss from Stress
For other people stress can have a direct effect on their weight. Whether it causes weight loss or weight gain can vary from person to person – and even from situation to situation.
In some cases stress can lead to missed meals and poor food choices. For others, stress can cause them to completely lose the desire to eat. Often this change is only temporary. Your weight may return to normal once the cause of the stress has passed.
Signs that weight loss is related to stress
Stress can cause not only unexpected weight loss, other symptoms of stress include:
- poor digestion
- tense muscles
- mood swings
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- short-term memory problems
- increased heart rate
- reduced sexual desire
Why does weight loss happen?
When you’re stressed, you can engage in behaviors other than normal, such as working without a lunch break or staying up late at the office. These disorders can worsen your body’s internal response to stress.
Your body’s “fight or flight” reaction can speed up your metabolism
When you’re stressed, your body goes into “fight or flight” mode. Also known as an “acute stress response,” this physiological mechanism tells your body that it must respond to a perceived threat.
Your body prepares by releasing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline prepares your body for vigorous activity, but it can also minimize your desire to eat.
Meanwhile cortisol signals your body to temporarily suppress functions that are insignificant during a crisis. This includes your responses to the digestive, immune and reproductive systems.
Hyperstimulation can lead to gastrointestinal distress
Your body slows down digestion during the “fight or flight” reaction to be able to focus on how to respond to the stressor.
This can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, such as:
- stomach aches
Chronic stress can aggravate these symptoms and lead to other medical conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome . These changes in your digestive system can make you eat less and lose weight later.
You may not feel like eating
The absorbing force of stress can leave you unable to think about anything else. This can affect your eating habits . You may not feel hungry or forget to eat completely when you are stressed, which leads to weight loss.
Stress can make it difficult to fall asleep and sleep. It can also affect the quality of sleep you get, making you feel sluggish and tired. . These disorders can affect cortisol production, which can affect your metabolism. Your eating habits can also be affected.
When is weight loss a cause for concern?
Although losing a pound or two is not usually a cause for concern, unexpected or unwanted weight loss is bad for your body. See a doctor or other healthcare professional if you have lost five percent or more of your total body weight for a period of 6 to 12 months.
You should also see a doctor if:
- lose weight without deliberately trying to achieve it
- you have a chronic headache
- you have chest pain
- use alcohol or drugs as a way to deal with stress
Your doctor can determine if your symptoms are related to stress or otherwise basic condition and prescribe medication if necessary.