Saturday, September 10, 2016

Stress Pounds and Inches

Times of great stress can cause havoc with your waistline. Stress can cause you to feel nauseous, unable to eat and lose weight. It can cause you to comfort eat. have cravings and gain weight.

From my personal experience my relationship with food isn't the best. When I'm upset, stressed, run down, even daily I tend not to eat enough. In times of extreme stress and sadness I don't eat a lot at all and still don't feel hungry. My weight has been pretty constant in my adult life but only since meeting my husband have I stayed a healthy weight. In my teen years it was quite low. Not to the point of being dangerously unhealthy but still underweight. 

This post is not about eating disorders but about weight loss and gain due to stress and why it happens. So here's the science part...

Weight Loss and Stress

  • factors linked with weight loss include depression, stress, anxiety, alcohol misuse, drug misuse, eating disorders
  • these factors including life changing events can cause a person to lose weight
  • stress hormones are stimulants which speed up metabolism, fuel consumption and lower our ability to absorb nutrients
  • If we lose sleep to stress it also increases the stimulating hormones
  • Nervous energy can make us fidgety and more active which burns more energy
  • Stress can cause stomach and digestive problems giving you feelings of nausea and making you not want to eat or associate eating with pain and discomfort

Weight Gain and Stress

  • factors linked with weight gain include depression, eating to feel numb, eating disorders, stress, frustration
  • these factors can cause a person to gain weight by giving in to cravings and comfort eating
  • once the adrenaline related to a stressful event wears off the stress hormone cortisol tells your body to replenish its fuel supply
  • the anxiety linked to stress and the adrenaline can lead our body to crave food and trigger emotional eating to make the stress go away
  • If you lose sleep to stress your body craves carbs as a way to stay awake and gain energy
  • stress hormones cause your body to be less sensitive to insulin which means you have more glucose in your blood which can lead to weight gain
Now that's the science part and hopefully it helps explain what is happening if you are experiencing this. If you have a sudden or significant weight loss or gain it is best to speak to your GP to make sure it is not linked to an underlying medical issue or illness. Once the stressful situation ends you should find it easier to get back to your normal weight. The important thing to remember is that an ideal weight isn't a certain look, clothes size or a certain number but the weight that is healthy for your height, sex, age and build.

Much love,
Becky xx

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