How to Prevent the Weight Gain and Stress Cycle

“Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder”
-Plato

A commonly accepted ground of reality that we all abide by is the understanding of the quote mentioned above that says, “how different people have different ideas about what they find beautiful.” It is essential for us to be patient, respectful, and lovable towards our own bodies, irrespective of their being in any shape, way, or form.

Do you feel frustrated that you are no longer in control of what you allow yourself to eat? Do you usually feel compelled to devour a meal, only to realize later on that it evokes feelings of guilt? Have you noticed yourself being stressed and overeating as a result of it?

These questions seem to be cognitively consuming, yet they stand as true as the depths of the ocean. Throughout our lifetime, our body evolves and changes in size. We tend to overlook this aspect and beat ourselves over the weight gain. We tend to stress over the changes happening in our bodies. We have to be mindful of not exerting our bodies with hate and physical activities to get back in shape just for the sake of it.


Causes of weight gain

Weight-gain can be caused by numerous factors in our day to day lives. Few of the factors through which it can be triggered are age, lack of sleep, diet, certain medical conditions, family history and culture, etc. One of the causes, among many others, which can be unconsciously effective is experiencing stress.

Stress can have noticeable effects on our body, some that are noticed immediately, whereas the other effects such as weight-gain that may take time to be noticed. We may find it difficult to maintain a healthy weight while we are under stress or it may stop us from losing weight altogether. The connection between stress and weight gain is obvious and completely normal, whether it’s due to elevated amounts of the stress hormone named cortisol, unhealthy stress-induced behaviours, or a mix of the two.


How does Stress make you gain weight?

Have you ever wondered whenever you feel low or stressed you crave your comfort food, food enriched with the goodness of sugar? High cortisol levels can make us crave salty, fatty, and sweet foods.

There is a scientific reason on how stress causes or induces weight gain without overeating being one of the contributing factors. During a stressful event our body reacts by producing more cortisol, a stress hormone preparing it for “fight or flight.” In response to a threat, the adrenal glands in our body generate more cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol levels return to normal when there is no longer a threat in your perception. On the flip side, persistent exposure to stress can lead to overexposure of cortisol, also known to be a significant appetite stimulant.

Our body experiences a rush of energy as a result of cortisol’s stimulation of one’s fat and carbohydrate metabolism. While necessary for survival conditions, this procedure also makes us hungrier. As a result, Stress can and does lead to weight gain as we indulge diligently in stress-eating/overeating, feel bloated, develop belly fat, weight in our abdomen region and so on. Weight gained because of cortisol spike may also lead to fatigue, depression, health complications.


Gender Differences in stress weight gain

The experience of stress and anxiety in day-to-day life is linked to weight gain in both genders. Particularly, female stress weight-gain is found to be higher compared to men. This was due to the basic nature of their being in addition to multiple other factors.


What makes it hard for some people to lose weight?

Something that is crucial to keep in mind while trying to lose weight is that one should be aware of many factors that can make it hard to lose weight, such as our genes, calorie intake, being inactive, medications, difficulty managing stress. We must remember that seeking out for help is available if we ought to find it difficult in any sense.


How to lose stress weight gain?

How much weight can stress make you gain depends completely upon the frequency and intensity of the stress and varies from person to person. Having said that, the production of cortisol can be curbed and weight loss for being fitter can be achieved through:

– Engaging in relaxation exercises like deep breathing, yoga, or mindfulness
– Eating healthier comfort- foods
– Keeping a food Journal
– Keeping Hydrated
– Incorporating stress-relief strategies in our daily life.

“Loving your body is about being comfortable in your body, and only you get to set the parameters of that. Only you get to decide what that looks like, and only you know where the finish line is. Never let anyone make you feel ashamed about what you decide, or don’t decide, to put on your body.”
-Brittany Gibbons