Your Stress is Affecting Your Weight!


We simply can’t avoid stress. Everyone faces it at some point or another, and for many of us, it’s a common part of our everyday lived experiences. Handling stress ineffectively, however, can be very damaging to our health – and especially our weight!

Understanding stress and its impact on our bodies (mentally and physically) is an important part of the weight management journey, so you should know how to take control of it and use it to your benefit! Below, we walk you through the science behind stress and offer you some tips on how to effectively manage it.

Stress: Understanding the What, Where, Why and How

First off, we know stress to be a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes our bodies and brains to build tension. This can result from many areas of our lives, including handling our job, our schoolwork, relationships, children, finances… you name it! When stress begins to pile up, we often experience its painful effects in the form of shortness of breath, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, lack of concentration, weight gain and other consequences.

What you may not know is the role that stress plays in the production of our hormones. When we find ourselves too overwhelmed and beginning to experience many of the above symptoms, our bodies release a hormone called “cortisol” from our adrenal glands. If we don’t expend our negative energy soon enough, that energy is stored into fat – the worst possible kind! As a result, we may also experience an increase in appetite and food cravings – thus, the cause of stress-induced weight gain.

Tips for Managing Stress Effectively

Fortunately, there are a variety of ways for us to cope with stress and channel it into positive experiences:

  • Step back and analyze the situation – When you begin to experience the early physical and emotional symptoms, try to identify the cause. This will help you in determining how to respond to each stressor.
  • Take a time out – Temporarily remove yourself from the situation. Try taking a brief walk, calling someone on the phone, or find a way to distract yourself.
  • Breathe – Take a long, deep breath from the abdomen. You’ll feel more relaxed as oxygen travels to your brain.
  • Relax your muscles – Take the time to massage your muscles and relieve the tension that’s building. You can do this on your own through deep breathing and self-help, or you can ask someone else such as a spouse, family member or massage therapist to do it for you.
  • Prevent it from happening – This won’t work all the time, but you can at least try! If your situation is something you can control, consider ways to prevent stressors from occurring. Examples may include leaving your house early to avoid traffic, or working ahead on your project to make meeting the deadline a little easier.
  • Channel the negative energy – When you begin to experience stress, try changing the negative physical and emotional responses into something healthy and productive. You might go for a walk or run, sit down with a good book, take a swim or spend time with friends.

Just remember – stress is a normal, healthy part of our lives and everyone goes through it! The key is to understand what’s happening to your body when it occurs, and to know how to handle the situation. Developing long-term, healthy habits will make stress a lot easier to control, and you’ll notice that your health (and weight!) will benefit greatly.

Want more information on stress and how to manage it? You can read the full article from Your Weight Matters Magazine by CLICKING HERE.

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