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Can Stress Affect Weight Loss?

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Stress is something that we all experience. Some of us more than others, and to different degrees.

However, just because all of us feel it doesn’t mean that it’s easy to go through.

Especially when it can affect so much in your life such as your mental and physical health.  

How Does Stress Affect Weight Loss? 

Stress can affect your weight in several ways.

Not only can it cause a fluctuation in hormones within the body, but it can also cause us to behave in different ways.

You might notice that you eat less during periods of extreme stress, or even comfort eat at the end of a long day.

However, chronic stress is something that we need to be aware of, as this is where it can really start to affect your weight.  

When someone experiences chronic stress, it can raise the levels of cortisol (the body’s natural steroid). This can then increase appetite.

If a person has been dealing with stress for a long time, or hasn’t found any helpful coping mechanisms, it may lead to a larger appetite and over-consumption of calories.

Over time, this can lead to weight gain. This is especially true if the issues aren’t resolved or addressed.

Stress can also lead to a poor quality of sleep which we already know can contribute to weight gain. 

Stress affects the mind and body in several different ways, so it makes sense that it can affect your weight too.

If you’re noticing that you’re eating more due to stress, it may be a good idea to reduce your portion sizes.

You might even want to think about increasing your protein and fibre intake which should help to keep you fuller for longer. However, this is always easier said than done.

The real fact of the matter is that if stress is affecting your life, you should take measures to identify the causes, and what you can do to manage your stress levels.  

It’s incredibly important to make sure that your stress levels are managed. This isn’t just for weight loss, but for the rest of your life as well.

Some people find it helpful to use mental health apps to keep a diary of their mood.

This can help in identifying any triggers that might cause you to feel stressed, as well as finding out what contributes to you feeling positive and happy (as long as you enter the days that you enjoy, too!).

Often, identifying the cause of stress can be half of the battle as can then take steps towards managing the problem.

If stress impacts your quality of life or your mental health, you may want to consider talking therapies.

These are usually available through your GP or even a self-referral. 

Other things that you could do to try and reduce your stress levels include:

  • Exercise – it’s a great stress buster and it’s good for your body
  • Meditation 
  • Yoga – also great for building and toning muscles
  • Taking up a new hobby as an outlet
  • Reducing your workload if possible
  • Schedule some time for you to decompress and digest everything – read a book, go for a walk, or take a long bath – anything that helps to relax you. 

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Laura Henderson

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