The Relationship Between Stress and Weight Loss

If you want to lose weight, should you care about stress? You may think that dealing with weight loss is stressful enough.  But it turns out that there is a strong connection between stress and weight loss. Taking care of stress can provide a big boost to your efforts to lose weight.

There are two main ways that stress adds to the difficulty losing weight.  These are : 1) food cravings, and 2) changes in the body’s metabolism.

Stress and Food Cravings

Cortisol is the body’s stress hormone. Our ancestors needed it in “fight or flight” situations since it provides a quick burst of energy, a higher tolerance to pain, and other things to help get us out of danger.

Stress is also linked to food cravings.     With higher levels of cortisol, often people will feel cravings for salty, sweet, or high-carbohydrate foods. This may have served our ancestors who needed to eat more to prepare for danger ahead.  But today, these same cravings cause weight gain, especially with more sedentary lifestyles.

Stress and Metabolism

Cortisol helps the body deal with physical stress by tapping into energy stored as fat.  In response to stress, it moves fat from around the body to the abdominal area.  Study after study confirms that long periods of stress are linked to increased abdominal fat, even in those who are otherwise thin.

Deal With Stress, Not Stress Hormones, for Weight Loss

Cortisol by itself isn’t bad. It’s an important part of a normal metabolism. It’s long-term stress and long-term elevated levels of stress hormones that make weight loss more difficult than it has to be.

Consider how much stress you have been facing over time.  If ‘being under pressure’ drives you to get less sleep or follow eating habits you know aren’t good for you, then stress may be the problem to focus on first.  You may find that by learning enjoyable ways to exercise, get enough sleep, and manage stress, extra pounds may come off more easily than you thought.

Personalized Weight Loss Treatments at the Optimal Wellness Center

Dr. Keller makes a commitment with you to help you succeed in becoming lighter and healthier.

Her weight loss program includes personal consultation to plan meals with foods you like, and feel and look better with appropriate activity and rest.

Find out more about the support available to you in Dr. Keller’s weight Loss Program.

Call us at 201-485-7930 to get started.

About Dr. Betty Keller

Dr. Betty Keller practices integrative medicine at the Optimal Wellness Center in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.  She is a board certified doctor  specializing in weight loss, chronic pain treatment, medical acupuncture and disease prevention, serving Franklin Lakes, Wyckoff, NJ, and nearby areas.