Does stress cause weight gain?

Updated at: Oct 03, 2017
Does stress cause weight gain?

Stress can cause weight gain in many ways. The emotional turmoil brings about a lot of hormonal changes in the body that result in weight gain.

Pratima Sharma
Weight ManagementWritten by: Pratima SharmaPublished at: Oct 03, 2017

There are various ways in which stress can contribute to weight gain. When our system encounters stress, it releases several hormones to combat the situation by either fighting it or running away from it. Irrespective of the cause of stress, the body responds to it as if it has been harmed and needs to fight for survival thereby, bringing about a change in blood flow, energy regulation and the rate of metabolism. When stress becomes chronic, all of these can lead to weight gain. Therefore, does stress cause weight gain? The answer is a definite yes!

How does stress cause weight gain?

  • Too much stress can lead to the production of a hormone called cortisol, which is also known as the stress hormone. Therefore, if you feel that you are gaining pounds during the stressed periods of your life despite of a healthy diet, it is the production of cortisol that must be blamed. Cortisol is responsible for slackening the metabolic rate of the body, thereby amounting to weight gain. Hence, dieting will become even more difficult.
  • When the body is exposed to chronic stress, blood sugar levels are bound to fluctuate rampantly. This may lead to unexplained fatigue, severe mood swings and conditions such as diabetes. Diabetes is closely associated with weight gain. Stress can enhance your cholesterol levels by causing a significant risk of cardiovascular illnesses and high cholesterol is associated with weight gain. Hence, these are health conditions intertwined with each other.
  • Stress also interferes with the rate of fat storage in the body and the areas in which it is stored. For example, stress will most often be associated with storage of abdominal fat and storing fat in this region is not only aesthetically undesirable, but also responsible for serious ailments such as cardiovascular complications.
  • Stress is often associated with unhealthy food cravings. When you are stressed or feeling completely down and out, you may resort to emotional eating more often. At such a juncture, binging on chocolates or food items that are high on sugar will be common when you seek respite from stress.  All these factors are bound to contribute to weight gain.
  • Most of us, who are over stressed with our daily work schedules, will be unable to provide time for regular physical activity. Hence, sedentary lifestyles will automatically lead to weight gain.

Once you have answers to questions such as “how does stress cause weight gain?” few simple remedies may help you beat it. Consider practising few natural stress relieving techniques at home on a regular basis for sustained relief. Yoga and meditation is considered to be excellent in this regard.

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