Today I want to talk about stress and give you some tips on how to deal with it.
Stress preventing weight loss sounds counterintuitive. it is commonly believed that the more stressed you are, the more weight you lose.
But actually, it is the opposite!
Just imagine, you’re under pressure, you’re anxious and on the go all the time. You aren’t overeating and you are exercising a fair amount, yet you seem to be gaining weight rather than losing. What’s going on?
The hustle and bustle of daily life naturally create a certain amount of pressure that actually helps us function. A demanding work environment, family issues, illness, financial worries and relationship problems are part of life, but it’s the impact that they have that matters.
Stress causes many people to overeat.
Stress eating is a type of emotional eating, which contributes to excess calories, and when you do that, it will often cause weight gain. Stress also causes the body to produce more of the hormone cortisol.
Cortisol is a stress hormone that promotes body fat storage and makes it more difficult to lose weight, particularly around the stomach.
Additionally, when people are stressed, they sleep less and less, and chronic fatigue causes the hormone ghrelin to rise.
Ghrelin is the primary hunger hormone and causes hunger even when you don’t need to eat. It’s also released when we drink too much alcohol, which again, is a common numbing technique used when people are stressed.
Stress also causes routines to go out the window. So someone who is usually on top of controlling their blood sugar will suddenly find that they are eating at erratic times, or that they’re going for hours without eating at all.
How Does Stress Affect Weight Loss?
Here are three simple ways to help beat stress.
1. Keep moving!
To start, move every day and exercise. Even if it’s just a brisk, a 20-minute walk makes your blood circulate quickly, transporting the cortisol to your kidneys and flushing it out of your system.
2. Slow down
Next, make sure to slow down. We know that slowing down the speed of our eating leads us to consume less, but even more than that, experts now believe that cortisol levels drop when we slow down at mealtimes.
3. Dial down the caffeine
Did you know that coffee is actually an anxiogenic? In other words, too much of it can contribute to anxiety. Next time you’re particularly stressed, try herbal tea or choose decaf instead. Incredibly, caffeine can actually raise cortisol levels more than stress alone.
One study undertaken by the University of Oklahoma showed that consuming two to three cups of coffee while mildly stressed boosted cortisol by as much as 25% and kept it elevated for three hours afterwards.
We’ve talked about how stress can make you gain weight, and impede or slow down weight loss.
But how about those people who lose weight when they’re stressed? Is it a good thing?
We believe the answer is no. It’s poor quality weight loss. For those people that lose their appetite weight loss is unhealthy and can cause dehydration, weakness and suppress the immune system.