How Stress Can Cause Weight Gain?

How Stress Can Cause Weight Gain?

You might have problems at work or home or you are stressed and it has started to show that too in more than one way. With time, you might also notice extra fat around your mid-section that was not present before. Still, wondering where these extra pounds came from?

Well, the main culprit behind this is stress which plays a big role in weight gain. While it can make you have less of an appetite at first but long-term chronic stress can boost your hunger to a great extent.

You need to know that stress can drastically impact your ability to maintain an ideal and healthy weight. Not only this, but it also helps in preventing people from losing weight. 

Whether it is the result of high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, unhealthy stress-induced behavior, or a combination of two, the connection between stress as well as weight gain is evident.

Does stress really lead to weight gain?

Yes, it is true. When you are stressed, your body goes into fight or flight mode, making it release the hormone adrenaline to assist you to fight against the perceived threat you are feeling worried about.

In order to build up energy to deal with such kind of threat, your body starts releasing glucose or sugar into the bloodstream. However, when your adrenaline wears off and the level of blood sugar drops, the hormone cortisol jumps in to offer you more energy to continue attending to the threat.

As cortisol arouses the release of insulin to maintain your blood sugar levels properly, it can also activate sugar cravings along with your appetite. Giving in to those cravings further makes you gain weight. 

Keep one thing in your mind, cortisol not only makes you feel hungry but also slows down your metabolism rate. Stress is also responsible for impacting your hunger hormone leptin and grehlin which send signals to your brain to determine how hungry you feel. 

What are the risks of stress and weight gain?

When stress peaks or become difficult to manage, the chance of suffering from serious and long-term health issues increase. However, health disorders like insomnia, depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, anxiety, and obesity are associated with untreated chronic stress.

Some of the major risks linked with weight gain include:

  • A decrease in lung and respiratory function
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • An increase in joint pain
  • Heart disease
  • Reproductive organs

Doctors often find a solid connection between obesity and certain cancers like colon, pancreatic, esophageal, breast, and kidney cancer. Keep one thing in your mind, stress can hit your mental health badly. An increase in anxiety or depression also happens when you gain weight unintentionally. So buy antidepressant medicines if facing issue from long time.

What are the stress-induced unhealthy habits?

Along with hormonal changes related to stress, stress can also make you indulge in various unhealthy behaviors that can further cause weight gain.

Emotional eating

Increased levels of cortisol not only make you crave unhealthy food but also lead to additional nervous energy, making you eat more than you normally consume.

Eating accessible or fast food

When you are stressed, you often tend to eat food items that are readily available & accessible and are usually not the healthy option for your body.

Exercising less

With all the demands on your schedule, exercising might be one of the last things to do on your list. If yes then don’t worry because you are not alone. Sitting for a long time behind your desk can leave very little chance for physical activity.

Skipping meals

When you are dealing with a number of things at the same time, it becomes difficult to eat a healthy meal. You might even skip your breakfast just because you are running late or not eating lunch due to hectic office schedules.

Sleeping less

Many people are stressed, and they often report trouble sleeping. Not taking proper sleep also leads to a slower metabolism. When you feel overtired, your willpower is reduced, which leads to unhealthy eating habits.

How to deal with your stress?

It is important to know that stress can affect all of us at some point of time in life. There are some people who experience it multiple times a day, while others may notice stress while doing their daily tasks.

Here are some easy ways to decrease your chance of stress:

  • Exercise regularly for 20 to 30 minutes
  • Go outdoors and enjoy the nature
  • Take at least a 10-minute yoga break
  • Listen to music
  • Read book
  • Say no to alcohol and smoking
  • Be kind to yourself
  • Always nourish your body with healthy food items

Therefore, if your stress is leading to weight gain then don’t panic, simply contact your doctor and follow the treatment recommended.