Understanding how stress can cause you to gain weight is the first step to reversing this dangerous cycle. Check out our list of things stressed out people do that cause weight gain, plus a few ways to counteract them!
1. They lie awake at night.
Insomnia is a major side effect of stress. According to one APA survey, more than 40% of Americans lie awake at night as a result of stress! Sleep is a powerful factor in influencing weight gain or loss. Lack of sleep can affect the chemicals in your body that control appetite which cause you to over-eat during the day.
2. They stress eat.
It's not unusual to turn to an immediate comfort when we're feeling stressed out. For a lot of us that's sweet, salty, and fatty foods. Researchers have discovered that these cravings may actually be a result of chronic stress. Cortisol, a hormone critical in managing fat storage and energy, is the culprit. When you're stressed you release excess cortisol, increasing your appetite. It may even encourage cravings for sugary or fatty foods.
3. They forget to prioritize their health.
Being stressed out can leave you feeling like you just don't have time to eat a healthy meal or get in some exercise. This can definitely lead to weight gain and other health issues. Remember that taking even just 30 minutes out of your day to exercise can reduce stress, help you lose weight, and even give you an endorphine rush that makes you feel good!
4. They don't monitor their blood pressure.
Stress is a major cause of high blood pressure which can lead to serious health issues including heart disease. Taking some time to go for a walk, attend a yoga class, or just relax in silence for a few minutes each day can help keep your blood pressure levels down.
5. They spend too much time being sedentary.
If you're stressed to the max and spending long days and nights in the office you may be putting yourself at risk for obesity, heart disease, diabetes and more. In a 2010 study, experts linked prolonged periods of being sedentary to a greater likelihood of disease. Stand up and go for a quick walk around the office every hour or so to keep your mind and body fresh.
6. They're poorly managing their emotions.
Mixing a lack of sleep, poor diet, and stress together is a volatile combination and can leave us feeling like we're on a short fuse. Not only can this hurt our personal relationships but constantly being on edge can heighten blood pressure and increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can increase appetite.
7. They turn to vices.
Smoking a cigarette to help relieve stress is probably hurting you more than the stress. Smoking cigarettes can lead to a long list of health problems including cancer. Just as well, turning to alcohol when stressed out can actually end up increasing your stress levels and lead to other health problems including an alcohol dependence.
Ways You Can Start Combating Stress Today
Take time for yourself each day.
Even if you can only schedule out 15 minutes for yourself, take that time to go for a walk, make healthy meals for the week or even just close your eyes and sit in silence. Take this time to relax and lower your anxiety and stress levels.
Getting in 30 minutes of exercise every day can help decrease your stress levels. You'll improve your health which help you feel better and will encourage you to better manage your stress level. Also, exercise has a feel good bonus. When you exercise your body releases endorphines that can trigger a positive feeling in your body.