As you go about trying to lose weight, you may not realize the degree to which stress affects your weight. This is a complicating factor in weight loss that most people don’t realize until it’s too late.
We tend to focus heavily on weight loss measures involving supplements, diet, and exercise, which we are certain will help us to lose the weight and keep it off, but we’re missing an important part of the picture. If you aren’t careful, maintaining a stressful lifestyle can work against your weight loss efforts. Stress can contribute not only to health problems in general but also, specifically, to weight gain or an inability to lose weight.
How Stress Affects Your Weight
When you consider how stress affects your weight, think about how it can directly affect your body. When you feel stress in your life, this can weigh on you both mentally and physically. Your body feels the negative effects of this strain, and after a while it starts to fight back.
Your brain sends signals to your body that something is wrong and that it must go into protection mode. This can often result in the body holding onto fat to protect you. It can also result in the release of cortisol, which is a hormone intended to protect you from stress. Cortisol can have a direct impact upon you gaining weight, specifically in terms of accumulation of belly fat.
Direct and Indirect Impacts of Stress on Your Weight
Another negative way that stress affects your weight is in the lifestyle that you lead. Most people tend to turn to food when stressed and engage in emotional eating. They may turn away from exercise, which would actually help, and instead turn to less healthy habits. Thus, the exercise diminishes, the food cravings increase, and your willpower is reduced, which means that you eat more of the wrong foods on a daily basis. Not only, then do you have more difficulty taking off the weight, but you also tend to gain additional weight.
When you consider how stress affects your weight, realize that it has a lot to do with physical and emotional connections. If you experience negative emotions about yourself or your life, then you are unlikely to take good care of yourself. You may get sick more often due to a weakened immune system. Instead of making healthy dietary choices, you turn to foods that offer you immediate comfort.
Therefore, there stress imposes direct and indirect consequences for your weight and your overall health. You want to work toward a healthy lifestyle that will allow you to achieve a healthy weight range; and a big part of this is learning to manage your stress. When you can get stress under control, you will be amazed at how great you feel and look.
Getting Things Under Control Including Healthy Dietary Choices
The stress affects on your weight loss can be very frustrating, so learning the right tips for control can help you to overcome them. The following are some helpful stress control tips that you can introduce right away so you can begin benefitting from them.
- Try to look at situations with as positive an attitude as possible.
- Accept that certain parts of your life are not in your control.
- Drop aggression and be assertive instead. Assert your opinions, feelings, or beliefs instead of becoming defensive, angry or even passive.
- Adopt relaxation techniques and use them regularly, including yoga, meditation, tai chi, or breathing exercises.
- Exercise on a regular basis. It is a rapid way to smash stress levels way down.
- Balance your meals with healthy ingredients.
- Practice effective time management.
- Make time for relaxation as well as interests and hobbies.
- Don’t try to feel better through the use of alcohol, drugs or compulsive behaviors.
- Be social, whether that means talking on the phone, video calling or meeting up with people in person.
- Talk to a professional therapist or psychologist who is a mental health professional in the area of stress.
- Set limits and learn how to say no to requests from you that require more from you than you can give without causing excessive stress.