Every expert says that you should avoid stress, and every person knows that stress happens no matter what you do. There are always life events and moments that can cause stress no matter how relaxed or mindful you try to be. But if you experience chronic, frequent stress, you might find the struggle for weight loss even harder.
Stress and Weight
Stress can prevent you from losing weight. You can eat healthy, exercise and take care of yourself, and you can still find yourself struggling to lose weight because of stress. In fact, stress can make you gain weight even when you’re doing everything else right.
There’s a scientific reason why stress stops your body from losing weight. Stress triggers certain hormones in the brain and body that releases cortisol and adrenaline. This taps into your body’s reserve energy, and it triggers an automatic response in your body to replenish the energy you lose through stress. This loss of energy makes you feel lethargic, and it makes you want to eat. You naturally crave high-fat foods that release chemicals to soothe stress.
Before you know it, you can have half your refrigerator eaten before the tension lessens.
And even if you resist the urge, even if you don’t give into all those stress-related food cravings, you still can’t burn fat and build muscle. That’s because the testosterone hormone that builds muscles slows down in your body because your body is busy making stress-related hormones instead. This can cause a decrease in your muscle mass and you end up building less muscle as a result, even when you exercise regularly.
Meanwhile, the stress hormones encourage your body to store fat. That’s because your body knows you need energy to feed your stress. This raises your cholesterol and prevents you from burning fat to lose weight. Stress literally slows down your metabolism. Your body burns fewer calories, stores more fat and makes it more difficult for you to lose weight.
No one can eliminate all stress in life. That’s unrealistic and impossible. But you can find healthy ways to manage your stress and break this ugly pattern. Start by understanding when you’re feeling stressed. Pay attention to the anxious feelings you may have, and find a healthy way to release tension that doesn’t involve eating. When you notice your stress, take a few minutes to de-stress. Practice deep breathing, do jumping jacks — find something that works for you.
You can’t eliminate stress, but you can reduce it. When you feel stress coming on, stop right then and there and do your best to diffuse it. In time, you’ll begin to learn how to stress out less and lower the responses in your body that impact weight loss.