Stress & Weight Gain

Written: by staff

As I’ve gotten older and in a state of dealing with the unavoidable life changes that have thrust me into adulthood, there are many realization that I am forced to face, life at the bars makes way to hanging out with close friends, lazy Saturdays lounging in bed till noon, are replaced with driving my child to multiple activities, where I share the same tired Saturday morning glance with other parents in the same position.

One of the most interesting things that I have noticed in my life is the shift of my focus and time, no matter who you are the day last 24 hours. The combination of a 24 hour day and a growing family leads to less focus on me, and more time working, maintain my career, and in the evenings keeping my daughter entertained, by the time shes off to bed, I have at most 2 hours to myself to open my laptop and go through some work emails.

As time moves on, so does the dial on the scale. It starts off with maybe a pound here, and a pound there, a new shirt in a bigger size, and next thing you know you are passed the point of no return, where you have gained more than ten pounds with no time to possibly work out in your hectic schedule. In doing some research I will highlight some of the key things that maybe promoting to the extra pounds that you gain here and there. While you may not have time to exercise or the mental stamina to deal with another fad diet, recognizing one of the root causes of the problem, may help you control some simple things in your life.


The main thing that leads to excessive weight gain, especially as you get older is Stress. Here are several ways in which stress can contribute to weight gain. One has to do with cortisol, a stress hormone. When we’re under stress, the fight or flight response is triggered in our bodies, leading to the release of various hormones.

Whether we’re stressed because of constant, crazy demands at work or we’re really in danger, our bodies respond like we’re about to be harmed and need to fight for our lives (or run like heck). To answer this need, we experience a burst of energy, shifts in metabolism and blood flow, and other changes. Aside from a host of other dangers, chronic stress can also cause weight gain — which is why some products like Cortislim are marketed as diet aids.

Cravings — OK, you’re stressed. Do you reach for a nice salad or a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, or whatever snack you have bought for your kids ? I’ll bet on the latter. People experiencing chronic stress tend to crave more fatty, salty and sugary foods. This includes sweets, processed food and other things that aren’t as good for you. These foods are typically less healthy and lead to increased weight gain.

Blood Sugar — Prolonged stress can alter your blood sugar levels, causing mood swings, fatigue, and conditions like hyperglycemia. Too much stress has even been linked to metabolic syndrome, a cluster of health concerns that can lead to greater health problems, like heart attacks and diabetes.

Fat Storage — Excessive stress even affects where we tend to store fat. Higher levels of stress are linked to greater levels of abdominal fat. Unfortunately, abdominal fat is not only aesthetically undesirable; it’s linked with greater health risks than fat stored in other areas of the body.

Stress and weight gain are connected in other ways:

Emotional Eating — Increased levels of cortisol can not only make you crave unhealthy food, but excess nervous energy can often cause you to eat more than you normally would. How many times have you found yourself scouring the kitchen for a snack, or absently munching on junk food when you’re stressed, but not really hungry? More on what causes emotional eating.

Fast Food — Experts believe that one of the big reasons we’re seeing more obesity in our society these days is that people are too stressed and busy to make healthy dinners at home, often opting to get fast food a the nearest drive-thru instead.

Too Busy to Exercise — With all the demands on your schedule, exercise may be one of the last things on your to-do list. If so, you’re not alone. Americans live a more sedentary lifestyle than we have in past generations, yet our minds seem to be racing from everything we have to do. Unfortunately, from sitting in traffic, clocking hours at our desks, and plopping in front of the TV in exhaustion at the end of the day, exercise often goes by the wayside.

After researching and writing this article, I realized a couple of things, we as individuals are not perfect, and we must choose the things we focus on in life. The days will never get longer and sometimes choosing to leave the dishes in the sink one evening and getting an extra hour of sleep will not hurt anyone, and may even help with losing an extra pound or two.

Stress System Malfunction Could Lead To Serious, Life-Threatening Disease. NIH Backgrounder September 9, 2002.

Teitelbaum, Jacob, M.D. How Stress Can Make You Gain Weight. Total Health Vol 25. no. 5. Oct/Nov 2003.

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