Thursday, March 26, 2009
Stress and issues with weight loss
I know I've heard about this before, that those under large amounts of stress can actually have problems losing or even gain weight while dieting.
Now I know we're not "dieting," per se, but we are doing things that may mimic dieting in many ways, especially before somebody gets real restriction.
I've been under a lot of stress at work (until today that is, as I quit), and the last week my weight has gone up and down as much as 3 pounds even though I am doing everything right. I was exercising every single day for two weeks straight (it was a boot camp type of thing), eating well, drinking all my water, etc. However, my weight goes down two pounds one day and up one-and-a-half the next, then down one and up two. It's been driving me NUTS.
I know I should probably only weigh in once a week, but we all know how hard that is. So I wanted to find what I knew I had heard before that stress levels can jack with our systems.
What I found was this:
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.
If you remain in this state for a prolonged amount of time due to chronic stress, your health becomes at risk. 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.
Chronic stress and cortisol can contribute to weight gain in the following ways:
Metabolism -- Do you feel like you're prone to putting on more weight when you're stressed, even if you're eating the same amount of food as you always have? Too much cortisol can slow your metabolism, causing more weight gain than you would normally experience. This also makes dieting more difficult.
Stress and weight are inextricably linked. Emotions influence our hormones which in turn influence our emotions which influence our eating habits.
The hormone adrenaline is released when we are frightened, excited or anxious. Since adrenaline tends to speed up our metabolic rate, the release of this hormone is likely to promote weight loss.
Long term stress can have the opposite effect. The hormone cortisol, released when we are stressed, can increase fat storage, particularly in the abdominal area.
In other words, short bursts of stress may help us to lose weight, but long term stress can make us overweight.
So I guess now that I'm away from this toxic workplace, I will see if anything changes over the next week or so. Granted, my clothes have been fitting fine. I put on some Sag Harbor pants the other day that didn't fit a few weeks ago, so maybe it's just a matter of inch loss over pounds. However, I still plan to watch and see what happens since I have removed this particular stressor.
Posted by Beth at 11:20 PM