How Stress Really Affects Weight Loss?

How Does Stress Influence Weight Loss?
How Does Stress Influence Weight Loss?

Deadlines. There are financial concerns. Relationship strains. Stress has become ingrained in our lives as a result of the deadline-driven digital environment we live in.

Stress can have a negative impact on one’s physical health in addition to their mental and emotional wellbeing. Cortisol, a stress hormone, has been related to an increase in adipose tissue, which can lead to weight gain.

The Asia Pacific edition of Towers Watson’s ‘Staying@Work’ survey puts stress as the No. 1 lifestyle risk factor, ahead of physical inactivity and obesity, emphasising the importance of addressing this risk factor.

Are you curious in how stress affects weight-loss? Let’s start with the fundamentals.

What causes you to be stressed?

The top 5 reasons people are stressed out, according to the APA Stress study, are work and family duties, the economy, money management, and family health problems.

Physical reasons include lack of sleep, undiscovered food allergies, poor air quality, blood sugar dysregulation, and polluted water, among others.

What is the body’s reaction to stress?

When the body detects a stressor – such as an external stimulus, an environmental condition, or a stressful event – cortisol, a steroid hormone generated by the zona fasciculata of the adrenal cortex within the adrenal gland, is released.

What is the function of cortisol?

Cortisol is the energy and alertness hormone. It isn’t harmful to your health as long as it is released at the appropriate moment by the body.

Because it is a diurnal hormone, its levels must peak in the morning to make you feel energised, and then gradually decline throughout the day to allow you to go asleep at night.

This hormone aids fat burning in the morning in persons with a regular cortisol cycle.

What role does cortisol play in weight loss?

Cortisol is released continuously as a result of emotional and physical stress, which can sabotage weight-loss efforts.

The body responds in one of three ways:

1. It reduces the responsiveness of cells.

Cortisol interferes with other hormone receptor sites, rendering cells less sensitive to messages. Insulin resistance and diabetes can develop if the body can not recognise the insulin signal.

Leptin resistance occurs when the brain is unable to read signals from the hormone leptin, which is critical for weight loss. This can make you feel always hungry, leading to overeating.

2. It causes the body to become inflamed.

Cortisol raises inflammation levels all across the body. This increases the likelihood of storing visceral fat, the harmful fat that surrounds the organs and rests within the body.

Visceral fat is exemplified by a “beer belly.” The more visceral fat there is, the more inflammatory signals are released, culminating in a loop of inflammation and visceral fat storage.

3. It incorrectly regulates hunger hormones.

Cortisol has a negative impact on weight reduction because it disrupts the balance of hunger hormones such as ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is released when one is hungry, while leptin helps control appetite.

People make poor choices and overeat when their leptin levels are low and their ghrelin levels are high. High blood sugar causes an insulin surge, which is usually followed by a dramatic drop in blood sugar.

This causes cortisol to be released to assist stabilise blood sugar, which raises hunger hormone levels.

There’s a method to break free from the cortisol cycle! To keep on track with your fitness goals, do the following:

Exercise on a regular basis

Making time for cardio is beneficial, but too high-intensity workouts or overtraining can cause cortisol levels to rise! Try going for a quick walk or doing some push-ups. Regular and necessary exercise also aids with stress management.

No Dieting

Constant dieting has been shown to increase cortisol levels by 18%, according to research. This can also throw your blood sugar out of whack, making you hungry and prone to bingeing.

Also Read – Body Mass Index Calculation Guide: What is BMI, Formula & More!

Caffeine intake

While under modest stress, ingesting the equivalent of 212 to 3 cups of coffee increased cortisol by about 25% and kept it up for 3 hours, according to a research at the University of Oklahoma. This can effect weight reduction by altering cortisol levels in the body.

Sleep deprivation might have an impact on weight reduction. According to a University of Chicago study, getting 612 hours of sleep every night can raise cortisol, hunger, and weight growth. The National Sleep Foundation advises 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.

is coffee a fat burner

Yoga and meditation

Mindful breathing exercises like yoga and tai chi can help you relax, reduce tension, and stop you from overeating. Meditation can help lower cortisol levels as well.

Yoga and meditation are two practises that might help you relax.

Reading, listening to music, and keeping in touch with family and friends can all be beneficial.

Yoga and meditation helps in weight loss

What you can do to help you stay on track with your meals

There are actions you can do to gently ease back into a pattern if stress has affected your eating habits. Maintaining a regular eating schedule can help you feel better, have more energy, and strengthen your immune system.

Set a reminder on your phone to remind you when it’s time to eat.

It’s possible that you’re too stressed to remember to eat, or that your body’s stressed state is altering your hunger signals. Set an alarm on your smartphone or computer to remind you to eat to avoid skipping meals.

Take small bites

Maintaining a regular meal schedule aids in the control of blood glucose levels. Even a few tiny nibbles at mealtimes can help you cope with stress and prevent mood swings.

If possible, choose foods that are heavy in protein or fibre. Avoid sweets and caffeine, which can cause a surge in your energy levels followed by an energy fall.

Focus on meals that can help you manage stress and boost your mood.
Choosing healthy foods over sweets and other pleasures can make a significant difference in how your body feels. Stick to entire foods like fruits and vegetables as a general guideline.

Here are a few of our functional favourites:

  • Antioxidants can be found in oranges and carrots.
  • Vitamin B is found in leafy vegetables and helps to regulate your nerves.
  • Whole grains contain complex carbs that raise serotonin levels. Increasing your serotonin levels can help you relax.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon and tuna can help you relax.
  • Stress-relieving omega-3 fatty acids can also be found in nuts and seeds.
  • Avoid foods that can cause your blood sugar to plummet and make you feel worse.
  • Although sugary foods provide a temporary burst of energy, the crash is unavoidable. It’s possible that after the sugar exits your bloodstream, you’ll feel much worse.

High-fat, high-sodium foods may exacerbate stress.

Until your stress fades, try to restrict or avoid the following:

  • food that has been fried
  • items made from flour
  • candy\schips
  • sugary beverages
  • items that have been processed
  • Instead of ordering takeout, get a pre-made meal from your local grocery.
  • If you don’t feel like cooking, go to the fresh food area of your supermarket.

While the salad bar is wonderful for veggie-packed lunches and dinners, the hot bar can also be a better alternative to takeout if you’re craving comfort food.

In the morning, several grocery stores provide hot bars where you can have egg sandwiches or breakfast burritos instead of other sugar-laden options.

If you exercise, make it a habit to consume a snack afterward.

The only way to replenish the energy you expended while working up a sweat is to eat afterward. While it may appear that skipping a snack or a small meal is harmless, it might cause unpleasant side effects such as lightheadedness and low blood sugar.

It’s also possible to lose weight by burning more calories than you consume.

Choose a high-protein or low-carbohydrate option, such as:

  • avocados\sbananas
  • butters made from nuts
  • trail mix
  • cakes made of rice
  • Greek yoghurt

Summary – How Stress Influence Weight Loss

You may be able to work through minor stress-related weight loss at home, but if you’ve lost more than 5% of your overall body weight in a short period of time, you should consult a healthcare expert.[1]

Your doctor can help you figure out why stress is affecting your weight so much and build a stress management strategy that’s right for you. Working with a dietitian to build a meal plan and meeting with a therapist about your daily pressures are examples of this.

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