This disease is often not only related to the lack of healthy habits, such as physical exercise and a balanced diet, and may have other causes, such as:
- thyroid problems,
- Excess cortisol.
- Medicines that influence appetite and metabolism.
In addition, another factor that can influence is stress.
To talk more about this subject that is so relevant and that raises many questions in my patients, I created this article. Keep reading and check out what the relationship between weight gain and stress is.
Can stress cause weight gain?
Yes. Stress has different effects on the body and among them is weight gain.
This finding has already been proven in several studies, including research that shows that tense family environments can cause obesity in children.
This is due to the consequences that this negative state causes in the body, such as:
Increased intake of carbohydrate-rich foods and alcohol
Weight gain during periods of stress is largely due to what is called emotional eating .
This term is used to designate when you eat to reduce sadness, bad mood or to deal with problems.
Normally, this is done by eating foods that are rich in carbohydrates, as these release substances in our brain that activate the so-called areas of the reward system, the pleasure region, much more.
Some examples are:
- sweets such as cakes, pies and biscuits,
- ultra-processed foods.
This diet also includes the consumption of alcohol , which, by itself, is caloric.
lack of sleep
Another consequence of stress that can influence weight gain is lack of sleep.
While sleeping, the body regulates the production of different hormones that are directly related to being overweight.
Two of them are:
- cortisol : responsible for the accumulation of abdominal fat,
- Ghrelin : hormone that triggers feelings of hunger.
Also, a bad night leaves us without energy and mood. One more reason to eat more, because the body seeks this energy through food. Furthermore, the chances of being more active and exercising on this tired day are much smaller, do you agree?
This is why lack of sleep also impacts weight gain.
Interruption of physical exercises
Periods of stress also tend to be accompanied by the interruption of physical exercises, whether due to routine overload or lack of motivation.
When the interruption of this habit accompanies an increase in caloric intake, weight gain is common.
It is also worth noting that physical activities are good for the body and release hormones that promote well-being, so interrupting them can cause even more discomfort and leave you feeling even more depressed.
How to avoid weight gain caused by stress?
The truth is that there is no magic formula to avoid weight gain caused by stress.
The first step is to recognize the source of this problem and try to resolve it.
In the meantime and you need to deal with the situation, control the damage with some daily practices, such as:
- sleep well,
- practice exercises,
- listen to music,
- have rest shifts to disconnect,
- self-care: a time just for you to do what you like. Invest in a hobby, something that gives you pleasure!
In addition, it is also essential to seek psychological follow-up and, when indicated, psychiatric follow-up.
Finally, I also recommend avoiding having reward foods in the house.
This means not having available cookies, pies, chocolates or any other type of food that you resort to in excess when you are experiencing moments of greater stress. Environmental control helps a lot in this first moment.
It is also important to understand that weight gain is never healthy for the body, but it can be reversed.
Worrying too much about it can make you even more stressed, feeling guilty about your behavior and getting into an even worse place. It often paralyzes you.
So seek help, have a healthy lifestyle for yourself, build it slowly. Take care of your mental well being and soon you will be better and even more able to improve your physical health.