How much stress do you experience in a day? How many times do you find yourself wanting to explode or yell at someone over some perceived slight? Do you tend to oversleep at work, so that you have enough energy to get the entire day doing? This is all normal for anyone, but what causes weight gain and weight loss from stress?
Stress affects the body on a number of levels. On one end it can cause you to eat more, which results in weight loss due to increased calorie intake. On the other end stress can cause your body to release chemicals that cause you to crave unhealthy foods and feel deprived. When your body feels starving it will go out of its way to find ways to satisfy its hunger. These are basically hormones that tell your brain you need to eat. In the short term, the increased calorie intake from stress will result in quick weight loss due to extra calories being burned, but in the long run these cravings and feelings of hunger will return forcing you to eat more.
This is why stress can be the biggest factor to gaining weight. It can cause your digestive system to react negatively to the amount of stress you are experiencing in your life. The digestive system is designed to absorb nutrients and burn calories. Stress can throw this system out of whack and result in a person gaining weight because of a breakdown in the digestion system. There are a few things that can cause your digestive system to be stressed out resulting in digestive complications.
One cause of a weakened digestive system and poor digestion is mental health. When you are stressed out, your mind and body become tense and your digestion slows down. As a result eating habits change from a healthy diet to indulging in bad food choices.
Another issue with mental health and weight loss is chronic stress. Some people have their own personal battle with stress every single day. They have to deal with severe depression and unhealthy eating habits due to being constantly stressed out. These physical symptoms do not make their life easy, and they eventually start to gain weight. A weakened digestive system makes it even harder for a person to lose weight.
High levels of cortisol are released with chronic stress, which is another contributing factor to weight loss. Cortisol is a hormone that is secreted by adrenal glands and other related glands throughout the body. This secretion occurs in a normal basis and has no affect on the body’s weight-loss process. However, when high levels of cortisol are released with chronic stress, it has been shown to interfere with the body’s natural ability to control calories and fat loss.
Lastly, chronic depression can cause weight loss. Depression can make you eat more than you should, which leads to poor nutrition and an inability to lose weight. When you are depressed, you tend to be more likely to engage in unhealthy eating habits. You may also become obsessed with food and exercise less often. This can all lead to weight loss problems.
All of these physiological responses can contribute to how stressed you are, whether it is through genetics or external factors. In most cases, it is important to reduce your daily stress as much as possible. When this is not possible or you want to reduce how stressed you are, there are many stress management techniques available. Some of the most popular include yoga, meditation, exercise, writing, listening to music, and many others.