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Can Stress And Anxiety Cause Weight Loss

Increased Levels Of Epinephrine

Can stress or anxiety cause weight loss?

Also known as adrenaline, it is a hormone that is released by the adrenal glands in the body. Whenever you are stressed, in danger or experience strong emotions such as anger, this hormone is released in large amounts, thus triggering your fight or flight response .aspx” rel=”nofollow”> 14).

A surge of adrenaline in the body leads to an increase in heart rate, expanding the air passages of the lungs, enlarged pupils, redistributing blood to the muscles, and high blood pressure, all factors that affect your bodys metabolism by making it move faster. A faster metabolism means that you are burning calories faster than you normally would and this can lead to weight loss.

When Someone Struggles To Lose Fat It Can Tell You A Lot

Its like a dashboard indicator that alerts you to problems.

Except, unlike your cars dashboard, this warning sign doesnt come with an owners manual that helps you pinpoint the precise problem.

The issue, of course, could be lots of things.

Maybe someone is unintentionally eating more than theyre tracking. Theyre not realizing, for example, the true size of their portions.

Or, for people whove been dieting for a long time, perhaps their metabolism has adapted and a reverse diet could be in order.

But what if the problem doesnt start with food?

Lets say it stems not from what someones eating, but rather from how theyre coping with any number of stressors, from anxiety to anger to unhappiness to lack of sleep.

For example:

  • Theyre pounding soda all day because of a high-pressure job.
  • Theyre skipping exercise because of the challenges of new parenthood.
  • Theyre binging at night because of some deep-seated resentment, smoldering just beneath the surface.

Theres almost no way to fix the secondary problem until youve addressed the root issue. In fact, lifestyle stressors not only make fat loss harder, they can make it darn near impossible for some.

So much so, they can be the X-factor for fat loss: the one variable that matters most for success.

Many nutrition coaches understand this, of course.

But our clients?

So how do you help clients go there? Without accidentally offending them? Or having them say something like, Youre a nutrition coach, not a shrink?

What Causes Weight Loss

Losing weight is almost always a case of calories in versus calories out.

If you start taking in fewer calories, youâll create a calorie deficit in your body. Then, your body will burn into stored energy and youâll lose weight as a result. You can do this by eating fewer calories than you burn or expending more energy than you eat.

But a calorie deficit isnât the full explanation for unexplained weight loss. What if youâre still eating the same way as ever â and your activity levels havenât changed much either?

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Why Do People Stress Eat

Some research suggests a gender difference in stress-coping behavior, with women being more likely to turn to food and men to alcohol or smoking. And a Finnish study that included over 5,000 men and women showed that obesity was associated with stress-related eating in women but not in men.

Harvard researchers have reported that stress from work and other sorts of problems correlates with weight gain, but only in those who were overweight at the beginning of the study period. One theory is that overweight people have elevated insulin levels, and stress-related weight gain is more likely to occur in the presence of high insulin.

How much cortisol people produce in response to stress may also factor into the stressweight gain equation. In 2007, British researchers designed an ingenious study that showed that people who responded to stress with high cortisol levels in an experimental setting were more likely to snack in response to daily hassles in their regular lives than low-cortisol responders.

Eat A Snack After Your Workout

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Exercise is a great way to deal with stress, but as we mentioned, there are several ways exercise can be harmful to your health if you go overboard. But to keep your diet in check and not lose weight unintentionally, get a healthy snack after you finish your workout. Bananas, avocados, rice cakes, and greek yogurts are excellent choices.

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Cortisol Can Lead To Weight Gain

Cortisol stimulates your fat and carbohydrate metabolism, creating a surge of energy in your body. While this process is essential for survival situations, it also increases your appetite. Additionally, elevated cortisol levels can cause cravings for sweet, fatty and salty foods. This means youre more likely to indulge in french fries and a milkshake than you are a well-balanced meal.

An excess of cortisol also can lead your body to produce less testosterone. This may cause a decrease in muscle mass, as well as slow down how many calories your body burns.

Ways To Help Reduce Stress And Stomach Pain

According to a poll that tracks negative experiences of people in 115 countries, 2020 was the year the world reached its highest stress peak in over 15 years. Around 40% of the surveyed population reported experiencing significant stress.

While you should see a doctor if your stomach pain is severe, prolonged, or recurring, there are things you can do to calm a nervous stomach and help reduce the kind of stress and anxiety that could lead to stomach problems.

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Prolonged Stressing Is Harmful To Your Health

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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Different Types Of Gastrointestinal Distress

Can Stress Cause Weight Gain?

The GI or Gastrointestinal system is responsible for all sorts of digestive activities. Like all other systems, the GI system is also controlled by the brain. However, stress can disrupt the signal between your GI system and the brain.

Your GI system is mainly responsible for three parts that are

  • Bowel
  • Esophagus or food pipe

Unfortunately, stress can affect all three of these parts.

Chronic stress can cause various Gastrointestinal Distress that includes reflux or heartburn, difficulty in swallowing, nausea, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite. All these things can cause your body to lose weight.

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How To Manage Prolonged Stress Or Anxious Thoughts

The frustrating part about prolonged stress is that you often don’t know when the issues causing the stress will end. Because of this, it’s important to learn two things: acceptance for things you cannot control and healthy stress management skills. Common effective stress management skills include:

  • Deep breathing. Concentrate on calming your mind as you take deep breaths in and out.
  • Light cardio exercise. Going for a brisk walk can help you manage stress more effectively without further depleting your body’s needed stores of energy.
  • Track specific events or situations that trigger your anxiety. Keep a record of meals and caloric intake to better understand the connection.
  • Artistic expression. Drawing, painting, singing or playing an instrument can help you release some of that nervous energy.
  • Relaxing hobbies. Whether it’s crocheting, hiking or singing karaoke, doing something you enjoy can help you calm your mind and quiet your nerves.
  • Maintaining self-care. If necessary, put a reminder in your phone to tell you when it’s time to eat, bathe, or sleep. Above all, exercise basic “sleep hygiene” to ensure your body gets the rest it needs.

Your Bodys Fight Or Flight Response Can Speed Up Your Metabolism

When youre stressed, your body goes into fight or flight mode. Also known as the acute stress response, this physiological mechanism tells your body it must respond to a perceived threat.

Your body readies itself by releasing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline prepares your body for vigorous activity, but it can also minimize your desire to eat.

Meanwhile, cortisol signals for your body to temporarily suppress functions that are nonessential during a crisis. This includes your digestive, immune, and reproductive system responses.

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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.

What Are Healthy Causes Of Weight Loss

Can anxiety cause weight loss? Try this simple technique ...

Healthy and sustainable weight loss is achieved through a proper diet and exercise. You are advised to eat a well-balanced diet without cutting out any major food groups. Your meals should consist of healthy carbohydrates, healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals.

A point to note is that even while consuming a proper and balanced diet, you should ensure to eat at a calorie deficit if you intend to lose weight. For healthy and sustainable weight loss you should ensure to reduce your daily calorie intake by 500 to 1000 calories a day 3500 to 7000 calories a week .

Read More:The Fundamentals of a Balanced Diet: Foods, Benefits, Weight Loss

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Weight Gain Can Cause Anxiety

Another reason that anxiety and weight gain have a complex relationship is because weight gain – or rather, the reasons that people gain weight – can also cause anxiety.

Inactivity is one of the reasons that some people develop anxiety. The body needs to move. It was designed to move. Those that don’t exercise are considerably more likely to develop anxiety disorders.

Weight gain can also lead to poor breathing habits, which are known to trigger anxiety symptoms and panic attacks. Unhealthy foods may also contribute to anxiety – although they rarely cause it – and poor sleeping habits and aging can lead to both weight gain and anxiety even though the two are unrelated.

Some people also become more anxious when they gain weight simply because they lose confidence in themselves. All of these are reasons why the relationship between anxiety and weight is so complex.

How To Prevent Stress

  • Make Exercise a Priority

Exercise is a major part of weight management and stress reduction. It can assist you to deal with these two issues simultaneously, making it an important method of dealing with stress-related weight gain. Whether it is a simple walk after work or hitting the gym in the morning, incorporating regular exercise into your routine goes a long way in helping with weight loss.

  • Eat Healthier Foods

One thing you should note is that you do not really need fats and carbs to feel better when stressed. Studies show that comfort foods like air-popped popcorn are just as likely to boost a negative mood just as junk foods that people love to snack on when stressed.

  • Practice Mindful Eating

Paying attention to what you eat without focusing on the distractions can help reduce stress and promote overall weight loss. Studies show that individuals that took part in mindfulness-based stress and nutrition training were more able to control their emotional eating. They also had lower stress levels, meaning less belly fat and thus better weight loss results.

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Why Can Anxiety Cause Weight Loss

Medical Advisory

Talk to your doctor about all new, changing, persistent, and returning symptoms as some medical conditions and medications can cause anxiety-like symptoms.

Click the link for Additional Medical Advisory Information.

When this symptom is attributed to anxiety, weight loss can occur for the following reasons:

How To Break The Cycle Of Stress And Weight Gain

Can anxiety cause weight loss? Try this simple technique

When you’re stressed out, healthy behaviors likely eating properly and exercising regularly can easily fall by the wayside. Maintaining a schedule and/or routine can help make these healthy behaviors a habit and combat stress-related weight changes. Here are a few strategies that can help you break the cycle of stress and weight gain:

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Mental Health And Losing Weight

If theres one salient takeaway from this article, its that stress and anxiety can cause weight loss through several insidious mechanisms. Everything starts in your mind, so mental health and losing weight are closely intertwined. It’s only natural that anxiety disorders and stress-related conditions will throw your body out of rhythm and disrupt eating habits.

Moreover, chronic stress and anxiety often lead to a lack of motivation to stick to your fitness goals and hit the gym. By the same token, when youre feeling good mentally and know how to reduce stress , your appetite regulation, well-being, and body composition will improve dramatically. As the great hip-hop artist Ice Cube would say, “Get your mind right get your grind right.”

Elliot Reimers, M.S., CISSN, CNC

Anxiety Might Speed Up Your Metabolism

Human studies are pretty thin on the ground when it comes to anxiety and weight loss.

But a study with mice found that when researchers engineered a particular gene out of certain areas of their brains, they developed symptoms that resembled anxiety and stayed super lean in the process.

In short: According to the study authors, anxiety may make you expend more energy, meaning you burn more of the energy youve stored up in fat.

You know how, in some people, anxiety leads to fidgeting or pacing? Well, that could be contributing to weight loss.

Headaches can also result from anxiety learn more here.

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Health3 Things This Man Did To Lose 105 Pounds

It would suggest that any method people can use to beat stress could be of benefit, Heaney said. I think the challenge is for people who are stressed often. I dont think jumping into a 30-minute yoga or Pilates class will be enough to address that.

The kinds of activities that might help are those that need 100 percent of our attention, Heaney said.

That could mean a game of tennis over running on a treadmill, for example.

“Certain activities we do are not absorbing enough to distract from stress, Heaney said. “Whereas jogging might be a good healthy sport, you can sometimes still ruminate and be stressed because it doesn’t require your sole attention.”

Is Anxiety Also Responsible For Weight Loss

Can Stress and Anxiety Cause Weight Loss? Here Are 6 Tips ...

Anxiety and weight loss have a similar relation to stress and weight loss. Both anxiety and stress can be the cause of weight loss or even weight gain.

Like acute stress, losing weight due to short-term stress is safe but not a positive way to lose weight, and neither is it considered a healthy option. Again, weight loss can also trigger anxiety and vice-versa.

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