Have you noticed that when you are stressed that the number on the scale starts to creep up? And no matter what you do you just can’t seem to lose weight?
Stress can significantly impact your ability to maintain a healthy weight. It can also prevent you from losing weight. Whether it’s the result of:
- high levels of the stress hormone cortisol,
- unhealthy stress-induced behaviors
or a combination of the two, the link between stress and weight gain is glaring.
It’s tempting to think we can “walk it off” when it comes to stress, but your hormones are powerful and they can throw your entire system into disruption.
Here’s a quick list of what can happen metabolically/hormonally when you’re under stress:
Almost immediately, you can start burning fewer calories.
A study done a few years ago at Ohio State found that stress was linked to burning fewer calories for women.
In the study, women were fed a high-fat, high-calorie meal. Those who reported being under a lot of stress the day before burned 100+ FEWER calories than the women who weren’t under stress.
Plus, the stressed-out women had higher insulin levels, which can exacerbate fat storage.
You start to crave high-fat, high-sugar foods
Thanks to the extra cortisol (a primary stress hormone) in your system.
Snacking on those fatty, sugary comfort foods can fire up your brain’s reward centers, giving you temporary relief. Over time, this can become a habit or go-to method of self-soothing.
These less-than-healthy comfort foods can leave you feeling blah and tired, affect your mood, and set you up for feeling even worse.
PLUS … studies show “ultra-processed” (like the fatty/sugary foods in the studies) actually cause you to eat more than you would if you ate healthier foods.
So … what can you do?
The most important thing you can do is to BE AWARE and listen to your body.
1) Be mindful about how you are feeling … and what you are eating. This lets you stay in (or regain) control. If you find yourself stressed or tense, take note! A food journal is very helpful in achieving mindfulness.
2) Take regular anti-stress breaks. Sometimes you have to be sneaky. We know of people who make solo grocery trips and stand in the longest checkout line to extend their “alone” time. Also, experiment with meditation or breathing exercises a couple times a day.
3) Make time for exercise. A brisk walk counts!
4) Honor your needs. Just because someone in your life has an urgent need doesn’t mean your own needs are less important. Make time for YOU!
And above all, don’t stress about stressing! The key to it all is being MINDFUL, and adding “self-care” to your do-do list.
We are on a MISSION to help over 40 high level professionals and entrepreneurs to conquer stress so that they can live their best life. Download our FREE guide REJUVENATE: 24 Techniques to Beat Stress.