Stressed and gaining weight? How to avoid gaining weight from stress

Stress has been known to make people add weight through several ways. One of the ways is cortisol which is a stress hormone. When one is under stress, a fight response is triggered in the body causing a release of various hormones.

Our bodies react to stress as if we are harmed and we need to fight for our bodies. The body hereby experiences a burst of energy, shifts in metabolism, and blood flow changes amongst other changes during stress. If one remains in a prolonged state of chronic stress, the body general health is at risk. Excessive weight gain is one of those risks.

However, one can avoid weight gain through avoiding these habits:-

  1. Watch out for signs of stress e.g. anxiety and muscle tension. Research has shown that constantly thinking about a stressful event occurring in the future can cause one to eat more by increasing the levels of a hunger hormone called ghrelin. Therefore, people tend to eat more during these moments. People are advised to focus more on what they are doing at present rather than thinking about what happened long ago or what is going to happen in future. By understanding that one is getting stressed, one can be able to react accordingly.
  2. Emotional eating. Increased levels of hormone cortisol in the blood raises the crave for unhealthy food. The excessive nervous energy will cause one to eat more than they normally would. Many times people scour in the kitchen for a snack or munching on junk food due to stress but not really hunger. Social eating is a form of emotional eating whereby stressed people especially women tend to eat a nice meal in a group. Crying on friends shoulders over a couple of hot fudge sundaes, a plate of fried appetizers or a bowl of chips are all social forms of emotional eating.
  3. Avoid fast foods. Research has shown that stressed people are too busy to make healthy dinners at home and often opt to get fast foods in the nearest restaurant.
  4. Forgetting to eat. Amid an endless to-do list, people may be too busy to eat and this slows down the metabolism which makes one to eat much more in future. Low blood sugar level due to failure to eat makes work more difficult and stressful.
  5. Not getting enough sleep. Economising sleep causes weight gain by promoting unhealthy body metabolism. Acquiring enough sleep not only helps to deal with stress the next day, but also prevents the body from storing too much fat and boosting one’s self control.
  6. Poor food choice should be avoided. Under stressful state, one is likely to buy more fries at a supermarket according to Harvard research. People should make good shopping list before going shopping in order to make informed choices.
  7. Excessive caffeine has been blamed by researchers for causing weight gain and insulin complications. Coffee drinks are normally filled with sugar and creams which have quant some calories. Less than 5 cups of coffee are recommended per day to maintain weight.
  8. Reducing a workout time is likely to cause weight gain through increased anxiety and stress. A sweat session will burn calories needed to maintain steady weight despite stress.

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