Stress and Weight Loss

Last week was somewhat of an emotional roller coaster for me. Which has caused me to lose some of my exercise and healthy eating MOJO.  This also help me think of a few blog post topics about stress, weight loss and motivation.

I’ve read over the years how stress can affect your weight loss but never paid attention to it, until this past week. Since, starting my weight loss journey I’ve been on this great high that some might call “endorphins”. It’s an amazing feeling that endorphins high.  It is crazy how the stress of the past week really got to me, and this is the first time I was able to see how stress can really take a toll on your mental and physical ability.  Some of the changes I have noticed:

  • Increased sweet cravings (didn’t need that Boston Cream doughnut this morning)
  • Crazy modes
  • Sleepy (snooze button has been my friend in the AM)
  • Lack of motivation to exercise
  • Mind wondering (thoughts are all over the place)

When looking up how stress can affect weight loss I like how WebMD defines stress.  It reiterates how it can affect you mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses.

Stress is a normal part of life. Many events that happen to you and around you — and many things that you do yourself — put stress on your body. You can experience stress from your environment, your body, and your thoughts.

How Stress Affects Weight Loss

Increased Cortisol Release- Cortisol release under chronic stress can make weight loss difficult for a couple of reasons.  Additionally, unwanted cortisol release results in the storage of fat mostly in the abdominal area for later.

Metabolism and Stress-Metabolic syndrome is defined as a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk for stroke and Type II diabetes.

Food Cravings- When a tense situation is over, the release of cortisol results in an increase of appetite.

Signs and symptoms of stress overload

The following table lists some of the common warning signs and symptoms of stress. The more signs and symptoms you notice in yourself, the closer you may be to stress overload.

Stress Warning Signs and Symptoms
Cognitive Symptoms Emotional Symptoms
  • Memory problems
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Poor judgment
  • Seeing only the negative
  • Anxious or racing thoughts
  • Constant worrying
  • Moodiness
  • Irritability or short temper
  • Agitation, inability to relax
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Sense of loneliness and isolation
  • Depression or general unhappiness
Physical Symptoms Behavioral Symptoms
  • Aches and pains
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Nausea, dizziness
  • Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Frequent colds
  • Eating more or less
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
  • Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax
  • Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)

Stay tuned later this week we will talk about ways to prevent stress.


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