I think it is funny how this new age of technology is supposed to make our lives easier. We have computers, automatic lighting, even cars that drive themselves. Yet we are more stressed out than ever. Back when life was simpler, we took time to enjoy our lives. Now more people die from stress than ever. Weight gain and obesity is more common than ever. Does stress cause weight gain?
It’s a fact that we eat horrible food these days. Fast food restaurants are going to kill us all I think. We are all in a rush and in a hurry, so we eat what we can. You compile lousy unhealthy foods with tons of stress, and you will gain weight. In the past, stress often caused people to lose weight, but times have changed.
Stress can still cause weight loss but more often now, causes weight gain. Even when stress causes a loss of appetite. Researchers identified that it is possible chronic stress may increase the rate of new fat cell formation.
Weight Gain Factors Due To Stress
- Causes food cravings
- Makes insulin less effective
- Belly fat increase due to cortisol increase
- Stress can inhibit muscle recovery during exercise
Stress can stimulate your appetite by tricking your body into thinking it needs more nourishment to meet the demand. Cortisol, the stress hormone, can throw all your blood sugar levels all out of whack. This makes you think you need to eat all the time. So in this case, does stress cause weight gain? Yes, it does.
When your blood sugar levels become affected, this throws off your insulin. This tailspins into a complete out of balance chemical miss-mesh. So, with your insulin being less to non-effective and your cortisol begins to increase, this in turn increases belly fat.
Unfortunately, with all your body chemistry, sugar levels and cortisol levels out of whack. Even exercise often cannot counteract this culmination of chaos going on inside your body. In fact, with all these messed up levels inside your body, you can have a stroke or heart attack trying to exercise.
Stress will in turn into insomnia and then into depression. Unfortunately, that cortisol character is more than just a stress hormone, it also regulates your sleep. Healthy levels of cortisol help you wake up in the mornings while unhealthy levels can deprive you of sleep. Lack of sleep and weight gain usually leads to depression. Your body chemistry does affect your attitude and outlook.
Doesn’t Exercise Reduce Stress
As mentioned, sometimes your stress levels will affect your body chemistry where exercise isn’t effective. However, that doesn’t mean you should not exercise, it just means it’s going to be more than just working out.
In order to get exercise to work, you are going to have to change your diet to a healthier one. Of course, drink more water and lay off sugar drinks. It will be just about what a regular exercise diet would be. However, you are going to need foods that can help combat your cortisol levels from being messed up. It would be best to consult with your doctor.
The list of foods below combined with exercise can help get you cortisol levels stable.
- Dark chocolates
- Black or green teas
- Foods with probiotics
Once you get your cortisol levels stable, your muscle will start reacting positively. This will also help with insomnia as well. A dietitian will tell you that these foods are not good for you, but don’t listen to them. They base the best results off people that are already somewhat healthy with zero stress.
The Importance of Controlling Your Weight Gain
Yes, not only does stress cause weight gain, it can cause issues from gaining weight. As mentioned, stress causes all your body chemistry to go out of whack. That in itself can be dangerous. But once your body starts taking on added weight, new issues can arise.
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
Obesity always runs these risks. If weight gain is caused from overeating and or eating the wrong things, compiled with stress levels. A stroke could be around the next corner. Stress can be very dangerous.
Ways To Reduce Stress
Does stress cause weight gain? The answer is that and possibly more issues. I know this is easier said than done. But the best way to reduce stress is to remove yourself from stress causing factors. However, if you can’t do that, possibly these tips might help.
- Light exercising
- Listen to music
- Take time out for TV or a movie – nothing with excessive drama, make it fun and light
- Tai Chi
- Sit outside and just take in the outdoors
- Try getting plenty of sleep
- Get a massage
- Go for a drive, motorcycle, or bicycle ride
Exercising can be good. However, you will need to pay attention to how you feel or if you’re getting benefits from it. Yoga and Tai Chi are a combined mental and physical type routine. These could help your stress more than exercise.
I know you saw sex in the list and are probably wondering what that is about. Sex is the healthiest activity you can do. It is a complete break from reality. Not to mention that it kind of helps straighten out your body chemistry. Sex is not only a physical release, but an emotional once as well.
Any of the listed activities can help reduce your stress. The more you are away from the stress causing factor, the better off you will be. Also, increase down and relaxed time, the more your body can start repairing itself. I do understand that today’s times, leave very little time to exercise. However, there are alternatives, such as Virtual Exercising, you should look into it.
The main question is, does stress cause weight gain? The answer is most definitely yes. Stress can cause weight loss in the beginning, but inevitably causes gain in the end.
It is very easy to let stress creep up on you without you even realizing it. It commonly starts with things to do or events that go on overload. Usually, all these extra things, bad events or situations take you away from your routine. Once you get out of that, you kind of get lost and frustrated.
You may not be doing your regular workout anymore. It could be stopping you from taking your “Me Time” away. Whatever the case, you are going to have to find a balance to get back on track. Health and Fitness are key to keeping balance for sure.
There are methods such as meditation or even Reiki that can help get you mind clear. Stress is a major contributor to the six top causes of death in the United States. I understand more than most, things happen that keep you trapped with stress. But is it really worth your life? You can help others more by being healthy, rather than dead.
Take time for yourself, everyone needs to step out of the ring to take a breather. Your mind is your most powerful tool. Learn to use it and trust it.