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Can Anxiety Cause Weight Gain

How Do You Wean Yourself Off Of Lexapro

How Stress can cause Weight Gain Ways you can Prevent it.

You should never stop taking Lexapro abruptly. If you do, you can experience withdrawal symptoms, including irritability, dizziness, nightmares, headaches, nausea, or a tingling sensation on your skin. Your healthcare provider will slowly decrease your dose of Lexapro to help avoid these symptoms as you wean off the medication. Speak with your doctor before making any changes to your medications.

Are There Other Ways Stress Leads To Weight Gain

Yes. Not only can stress influence your cortisol levels, but not managing it can also lead to other unhealthy behaviors that can also lead to weight gain. Here are a few:

Emotional eating

Eating food can be a way to soothe difficult emotions for some, which, like in every rom-com, might be why you’re more tempted to eat ice cream after a breakup or an argument with your partner. That’s because of the dopamine hit, or pleasurable feeling, we get from eating palatable, high-calorie foods, Dr. Youdim says. “When weâre stressed or when we have difficult emotions or an emotional, psychological void, we search for ways to feel pleasure.”

But emotional eating can lead to unhealthy eating habits, like snacking at odd hours when you normally wouldn’t, or eating a lot more of foods that are high in calories and low in nutrition. Those unhealthy eating habits can then lead to weight gain.

Binge eating

Binge eating is a disorder in which a person eats an unusually large amount of food in one sitting in order to deal with negative emotions. It goes beyond the common kind of emotional eating mentioned aboveâpeople who binge eat may also feel guilt and shame for their behavior, or feel like they have a lack of control. While it can certainly lead to weight gain, binge eating can also have detrimental mental health effects. If this is something you’re experiencing, it’s best to see a doctor who can help you determine the best course of action.

Eating fast food

Drinking more alcohol

Alteration Of The Hpa Axis

The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis controls the bodys response to stress, which affects cortisol levels.

When the body is under stress, the pituitary gland signals to the adrenal glands to release cortisol. This hormone increases the bodys fuel for energy by releasing fatty acids and glucose from the liver.

Cortisol also helps regulate the bodys immune response and reduces inflammation.

Chronic stress impairs the functioning of the HPA axis, causing changes in metabolism and eating habits.

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Can Stress Cause Weight Gain

How Stress Can Cause Weight Gain

Youre having problems at work or at home. Youre stressed, and its beginning to show — in more ways than one. Youve noticed a bulge around your mid-section that wasnt there before. Where are these extra pounds coming from?

Stress could be one of the culprits. It plays a role in weight gain. While it can make you have less of an appetite at first, long-term “chronic” stress actually boosts your hunger.

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How Anxiety May Cause Weight Loss

  • Anxiety has a complex relationship with weight, and can be responsible for weight gain or in some cases weight loss.
  • Weight loss from anxiety is typically safe, but not necessarily considered a healthy form of weight loss.
  • Its important to know the causes of weight loss so you can monitor your lifestyle habits and changes and see if you need to alter your behaviors or diet.
  • Weight loss itself can also contribute to anxiety, so it is important to address anxiety and rule out other conditions.
  • Reducing anxiety may or may not cause the weight to go or come back, but is important for healthier living.

How Can I Lose Weight If I Am Constantly Stressed

We know that stress and anxiety often cause weight gain, yet the reality is that most of us live with a certain level of stress. But if you cant immediately remove a stressor from your life, how can you lose weight?

As a general rule, diets dont work for weight loss. Instead, you need a more holistic, sustainable approach to lose weight one that addresses the reasons why you may have gained weight, like poor hydration, imbalances in your body, the foods you eat, and even the amount of sleep that you are getting.

Ideal You offers a healthy way to lose weight by allowing you to reset your metabolism so that you are burning fat instead of storing it. You dont have to work out, or buy expensive pre-packaged food on the Ideal You program. Instead, youll eat real food, take all natural supplements, and work with experienced weight loss coaches to slim down. By changing your metabolism, you can counteract many of the effects of chronic stress even if you cannot completely eliminate stress from your life.

At Ideal You, we understand that figuring out how to lose weight can also be a source of stress. That is why we provide you with a structured food list and weight loss journal, and provide support from a team of weight loss coaches. You wont have to worry about how youre going to lose weight, because youll be following our proven strategy.

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Poor Food And Exercise Choices

Ever been to the supermarket when youre stressed or anxious? You probably ended up with a trolley full of chips and chocolate, and nothing to make for dinner. Its like our mind is hijacked by the anxiety, and rational thought gets left behind in favour of just surviving. Anxiety can also leave you feeling like youre wading through a fog, and the idea of going for a jog or doing some exercises at home seems way to hard.

Prolonged Stressing Is Harmful To Your Health

Can Stress Cause Weight Loss Or Gain? What Actually Happens.

This comes as no surprise as too much of almost everything becomes harmful to your body, and it goes the same for stress. Long-term stress can affect your digestive system, immune system, sleep, and even your reproductive system. With time, it can cause one to develop certain cardiovascular diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and various mental disorders like anxiety and depression.

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So Can Stress Really Cause Weight Gain

Yup. Whenever you’re stressed, your body kicks into fight or flight mode, causing it to release the hormone adrenaline to help you fight off the perceived threat you’re feeling anxious about. To build up energy to deal with this threat, your body also releases glucose, or sugar, into your bloodstream. When your adrenaline wears off and your blood sugar levels drop, the hormone cortisol jumps in to provide you with more energy to continue addressing the threat.

Since cortisol stimulates the release of insulin in order to maintain your blood sugar levels, it can also trigger sugar cravings and your appetite in general. Giving into those cravings could lead to weight gain. In fact, research shows that people with higher weights tend to have an increased cortisol response to stress, says Vidhya Illuri, MD, an adult endocrinologist in Texas.

Not only can cortisol make you hungry, but it can also slow down your metabolism at the same time . After having their metabolic rates measured, women who reported one or more stressors the day before burned fewer calories than those who didn’t, found a study in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Dont Compare Yourself To Others

We live in a world where social media enables us to constantly compare ourselves and what we look like to others. Sadly, what you see on social media is rarely an accurate reflection of reality. It does you no good for your self-esteem and body image to use a fitness influencer’s Instagram pictures to gauge how you should look.

In fact, that will create an impossible standard to “live up to” because the odds are there’s a lot of photo editing, touch-up, and manipulation that go into those pictures. It’s okay if you want to use social media for motivation and inspiration but refrain from judging your looks based on such content.

Moreover, just because your friend is taking every cardio class at the gym or eating a certain way and is in great shape doesnt necessarily mean it’s right for you. Fitness is a life-long journey only you can determine what works best for your body.

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How To Prevent Future Health Issues

Although decreasing your stress levels may feel impossible some days, you can still manage the effects of elevated cortisol. To begin with, practicing relaxation through mindfulness, meditation, yoga or deep breathing can help bring the production of this hormone back down to normal levels.

Youll also prevent the excess storage of empty calories by ensuring that you consume a diet high in quality foods. Even though your body may be craving a quick fix, aim to eat mostly whole, plant-based foods. Of course, making the decision to eat right isnt always easy, but its worth it. By monitoring your diet, the calories you consume will be turned into energy, not converted into fat and stored by the body.

Finally, exercise is an excellent way to manage your stress hormones too. Whether you go out for a run, take a daily walk with your family or hit the gym, exercising will help maintain your lean body mass. This is especially important during prolonged periods of high cortisol levels.

Effects Of Struggling With Both Anxiety And Weight Issues

Can stress cause weight gain?

Being overweight and having anxiety or stress can cause a significant amount of distress in an individuals life and can ultimately affect ones overall general health. If both the anxiety and weight concerns are not properly addressed, there is an increased chance for the development of the following negative consequences:

  • The development or worsening of other mental health conditions, such as depression
  • Additional weight gain
  • Overall poor quality of life
  • Inability to enjoy certain daily activities
  • Low self-esteem
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Social isolation
  • Stress and conflict within the family
  • Serious health problems, including heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, sleep apnea, and osteoarthritis
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors

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Behind The Psychology And Biology Of Stress

Have you ever found yourself mindlessly eating a tub of ice cream while you brood about your latest romantic rejection or eating a hamburger and fries in front of your computer as you furiously try to make a work deadline? Perhaps youre a busy mom, eating cookies in your car as you shuttle the kids back and forth to a slew of activities. Or youre a small business owner desperately trying to make ends meet when you suddenly realize your waistline has expanded.

If you recognize yourself in any of these scenarios, youre not alone and its probably not your fault. Stress that goes on for a long period of time is a triple whammy for weight. It increases our appetites, makes us hold onto the fat, and interferes with our willpower to implement a healthy lifestyle.

Five Stress-Related Causes of Weight Gain

Below are the five major reasons stress leads to weight gain and four great research-based coping strategies you can use to fight back.

1. Hormones

When your brain detects the presence of a threat, no matter if it is a snake in the grass, a grumpy boss, or a big credit card bill, it triggers the release of a cascade of chemicals, including adrenaline, CRH, and cortisol. Your brain and body prepare to handle the threat by making you feel alert, ready for action and able to withstand an injury.

2. Belly Fat

Anxiety And Weight Gain: How Stress Can Cause You To Put On Weight

There are a few feelings that are universal to us all. Anxiety and stress are emotional reactions we all have, in some to a larger degree than others. However, what differs is the way our body responds to these feelings of anxiety.

It has been established that theres a correlation between our psychological health and our physical health. This is where researchers have drawn the link between anxiety and weight gain.

So why does this happen to some of us? And what can we do about it?

Lets take a look.

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Hyperstimulation Can Lead To Gastrointestinal Distress

Your body slows digestion during the fight or flight response so it can focus on how to respond to the stressor.

This can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort, such as:

  • stomach pain

Chronic stress can amplify these symptoms and result in other underlying conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome.

These changes to your digestive system may cause you to eat less, subsequently losing weight.

If Youre Exercising Get Into The Habit Of Eating A Snack Afterward

Is STRESS making you GAIN weight? [Can Stress Cause Weight Gain?]

Eating post-workout is the only way to restore the energy you burned while working up a sweat. Skipping a snack or small meal may seem harmless, but it can lead to unpleasant side effects like lightheadedness and low blood sugar.

Burning more calories than youre consuming can also result in unexpected weight loss.

Reach from something high in protein or healthy carbs, like:

  • avocados

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How To Relieve Stress Without Overeating

When stress affects someone’s appetite and waistline, the individual can forestall further weight gain by ridding the refrigerator and cupboards of high-fat, sugary foods. Keeping those “comfort foods” handy is just inviting trouble.

Here are some other suggestions for countering stress:

Meditation. Countless studies show that meditation reduces stress, although much of the research has focused on high blood pressure and heart disease. Meditation may also help people become more mindful of food choices. With practice, a person may be able to pay better attention to the impulse to grab a fat- and sugar-loaded comfort food and inhibit the impulse.

Exercise. While cortisol levels vary depending on the intensity and duration of exercise, overall exercise can blunt some of the negative effects of stress. Some activities, such as yoga and tai chi, have elements of both exercise and meditation.

Social support. Friends, family, and other sources of social support seem to have a buffering effect on the stress that people experience. For example, research suggests that people working in stressful situations, like hospital emergency departments, have better mental health if they have adequate social support. But even people who live and work in situations where the stakes aren’t as high need help from time to time from friends and family.

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