Stressed Out? Here’s How It’s Affecting Your Weight Loss Plan
Stress is something we’ve all experienced one way or another, be it physical or emotional, short or long term. It can have a significant impact on so many aspects of our lives, from hormonal changes to behavioral ones.
When it comes to weight, stress can be a decisive factor. It can lead to weight gain in ways you haven’t even thought of as being connected. From stress-induced eating habits to more severe issues, find out right now how stress is affecting your weight loss plan.
You crave high-fat, high-sugar foods
In a stressful situation, all we want to do is find comfort in something. And more often than not, that something is food. Salty, sweet and fatty foods are at the top of the stress-induced menu, in the detriment of healthier foods.
The reason for this craving is that eating these foods prompts the brain to release pleasure chemicals, known as endorphins. Unfortunately, the ‘feel good’ state is only short-lived while the pounds you might gain in the meantime take longer to get rid of.
You resort to emotional eating
You are worried about something. So you eat. You are stressed about work. So you eat. You want something but it may generate a conflict. And guess what…you’re eating again.
Instead of taking a stand and addressing a feeling or situation directly, you stuff your feelings with food. That’s emotional eating. It not only makes you eat all the wrong, processed foods but it also gives you the urge to eat more than usual. You tend to choose larger portions and over snack in search of some stress relief.
You start having sleeping issues
Stress has many negative effects on many aspects of our lives. And it’s no surprise that sleep is one of them.
Stressing over your to-do list can keep you awake for hours. This means you’ll be overtired and grumpy the next day but also less inclined to say no to unhealthy foods and unable to control your appetite due to sleep deprivation affecting the hunger and energy hormones, ghrelin and leptin.
Poor sleep caused by stress can also slow down your metabolism and instead of burning more calories, you end up storing them as fat.
You end up with off the charts glucose levels
Enjoying something sweet once in a while is less likely to affect your health in a negative way. However, when under stress, you usually double or even triple the amount of sugary foods you eat. Your body is blocked from releasing insulin. Which means you end up with whacky glucose levels in your bloodstream.
And as glucose piles up, the pounds just keep coming. Especially around the waistline, considering that research has linked too much glucose to belly fat, but also obesity and diabetes.
You mistake thirst for hunger
Stress can make you confuse many things. For instance, when your body needs water, you’d think you feel thirsty. But we’re in a vicious cycle and things are not that easy.
As we previously discussed, stress often leads to higher blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar level is elevated, you become dehydrated and your brain starts sending mixed signals of hunger instead of thirst. You are made to believe you need food instead of liquid. So you overeat. In addition, dehydration makes you feel tired. As in the case of poor sleep, tiredness boosts hunger, because you think you need food for energy.