Nina Dali

Nina Dali

How stress affects the weight loss process

There’s no universally agreed medical definition of stress. At its most simple, stress is your body’s physical response to mental or emotional pressure. Our jobs, relationships, family life or money can all add to our levels of stress.

When you’re stressed, your body believes it’s under attack and switches to what’s known as ‘fight or flight’ mode. As a result, a mix of hormones and chemicals are released into your body so that you prepare for physical action. Blood might also be diverted to muscles, causing you to lose concentration or become less able to digest food.

When the threat passes, your body usually returns to normal, but if you’re continually under pressure this might not be the case. Stress is an integral part of our lives, but it should not become a constant companion to your life. And it is stress that is often the main culprit that inhibits the weight loss process.

As a result, the foods eaten during times of stress typically favor those of high fat and/or sugar content.

Most people in stressful situations go uncontrollably over food – the foods eaten during times of stress typically favor those of high fat and/or sugar content and as a result they consume more than usual. In addition, stress causes an increase in the level of the stress hormone cortisol, which causes increased blood pressure, weight gain, especially increasing belly fat, high cholesterol and heart disease, and loss of muscle mass.

Anxiety and depression, immune system weakness, and cognitive problems such as difficulty in learning and remembering can occur.

Although stress cannot be completely avoided in the present day, proper nutrition, meditation and proper physical activity can significantly reduce stress levels and thus encourage weight loss.

It is unrealistic to expect that stress can be completely eliminated, especially in today’s fast-paced age.

It is important to learn how to deal with it. You will learn how to manage it, because it will prevent a variety of health problems and well-being in the long run. When repeated for a long time, it can lead to serious illness, so it is essential that you learn how to control it.

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 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.

In addition to relaxing, moving and socializing with positive people, read here how best to deal with stress.