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How Stress Can Affect Weight Gain

by Valentino Perrina

You may be under the impression that the only way that stress can affect weight gain is through stress-eating, as in eating tasty foods to relieve feelings of stress, however there are many other ways that stress can affect the body. 

In fact, stress can affect the body in a great many ways, including causing illnesses, pain, insomnia, bloating and many other unpleasant feelings. Weight gain, or fluctuating weight, could be the result of a stressful lifestyle, more than necessarily the food that you are eating. 

If you are looking to lose weight, or are struggling with your weight in any way, read the below to see if any of these stress-related weight gain triggers could be affecting you:

Fight or Flight and…Feed?  

When we experience ‘fight or flight’ feelings of stress our bodies release adrenaline and cortisol to ensure that we would have the energy to focus on the threats and keep ourselves safe. High amounts of cortisol in our bodies causes blood sugar levels to rise momentarily, but then fall rapidly. This dramatic change can lead us to crave unhealthy foods to quickly boost blood sugar back up again. This is why, in times of high mental stress, we often crave unhealthy foods.

A Stressful Sugar Cycle

As we reach for sugary foods to comfort us during these times of high stress and adrenaline, we find a very temporary solution which causes long term harm. The sugar we crave will boost our blood sugar levels back up, but it will cause another crash very soon after. This crash will contribute to feelings of stress, unease, and anxiety. All extra sugar consumed during times of stress will lead to fat production, and the stress has also been found to be linked to high insulin levels, a hormone related to weight gain.

If you’ve noticed yourself experiencing this negative stress-eating cycle, the best way to get ahead of tackling it is by making efforts to replace the unhealthy, sugary foods that you are reaching for in times of stress with healthier alternatives. 

The best things to consume when you are stressed are: 

  • Nutré’s Relax Wellness Shot – 2oz of goodness to promote relaxation and wellness at any time of day. 
  • Avocados – as your blood sugar levels rise during your stress response, avocados help to keep it just where it should be with its high potassium levels. Mash it up on some toast for a stress-relieving snack.
  • Nutrition Nut Mix – stress has been found to deplete magnesium levels, which can cause headaches. So, if you’re often a recipient of stress-headaches, try snacking on some healthy nuts. 
  • Salmon – omega-3 fats are known to curb cortisol levels, as well as being anti-inflammatory. At Nutré we always have a salmon recipe on the menu, as its benefits are innumerable. Try our Maple Glazed Salmon recipe with your next order. 

What can you do about it? 

Now that you know and understand some of the common stress-related triggers to weight gain, it’s important to know that the cycle can be broken and that there are things that you can do to improve blood sugar levels, and get back on track to reaching the weight you wish to be. 

Firstly, visit the list of foods shared above and reassess the foods you are keeping at home. Making sure that there aren’t any negative foods within arms reach when you are in times of stress is a simple, yet effective, way of preventing poor food choices. 

A massive key to weight loss and lowering blood sugar levels is exercise. When we exercise it draws on the sugar in our blood, which in turn lowers the blood sugar levels – a powerful way to break the negative stress and sugar cycle. Exercise is also fantastic for improving mental wellbeing, confidence, and stress overall. 

Another crucial thing to do is to find the source of your stress and, if possible, tackle it. If a lack of time is a problem in your life, a Nutré Meal Plan could free up a huge amount of mental headspace within your daily life. With fully prepared meals delivered to your door, you won’t have to cook, grocery shop or plan mealtimes in any way, leaving you more time to devote to the things that you truly care about and focus on your mental wellbeing.