How Stress Leads to Weight Gain

It would be an understatement to say that we live is stressful times!

Unfortunately, all of this excess stress can lead to an increase in weight. And whether the extra weight is a result of overeating and unhealthy food choices, or your body's response to increased levels of cortisol, getting a handle on stress is a priority if you want to prevent stress-related weight gain.

What stress does to your body

You may not notice it at first, but stress can have a noticeable effect on your body. From tight muscles and headaches to feeling irritated, overwhelmed, and out of control, stress takes a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional health.

Some of your body's responses to stress, such as weight gain, may take time to notice. Your body responds to stress by increasing levels of cortisol, which gets the body ready to "fight or flee."

If stress is always present, you can experience an overexposure to cortisol, which is a problem since cortisol is also a significant appetite stimulant.

This is why so many people respond to stress by going for comfort food.

And to make matters worse, the excess calories consumed in the setting of high cortisol appear to be preferentially deposited around the middle.

What's more, a 2015 study showed that our bodies metabolize slower under stress. The study found that the women participants who reported one or more stressors during the previous 24 hours burned 104 fewer calories than non-stressed women.

What you can do about stress

When you're feeling stressed, there are several small steps you can take to calm down, including:

In Summary...

Chronic stress can lead to weight gain. The good news is there are simple and effective ways to reduce daily stressors, and consequently, manage your weight.