How does stress cause one to gain weight? While the immediate response to acute stress may be a temporary loss of appetite, and therefore a possible weight loss; for some people, chronic stress may result in stress-eating, which results in weight gain.
Some of us swear by a tub of ice-cream or pack of potato chips to help relieve stress, but we all know that doesn’t bode well for our waistlines… What else can we do to overcome stress-induced weight gain?
Instead of stress-eating, try these methods:
The main cause of stress-induced weight gain are carb cravings induced by cortisol, which encourages your body to store fat – especially visceral fat – which is particularly dangerous as it surrounds vital organs and releases fatty acids into your blood. Regular exercise can serve to repress appetite increase and stop carb cravings by controlling insulin and blood sugar levels.
2) Get More Sleep
Studies have shown that getting an average of 6½ hours each night can increase cortisol levels, leading to a bigger appetite, and eventually weight gain. Try to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep to help curb those cravings! If you have to pull an all-nighter for work, school or party – or all of the above – try to repay the sleep debt with a few nights of solid sleep to bring your hormones back into balance!
3) Eat More High-Fiber Foods
Foods that are high in dietary fibre include fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, yoghurts, brown rice, whole-wheat/whole-grain products. Including more high-fiber foods in your diet helps to curb carb cravings as it tends to be more filling than low-fiber foods. You’ll be more likely to eat less and stay satisfied longer, which aids in weight loss in the long run! Read more benefits of high-fiber foods here.
4) Make Time For Relaxing Activities
Schedule a time-out from hectic days to help you unwind and re-focus. Choose activities that are unrelated to food, such as taking a hike, reading a book, getting a massage or taking your dog out for a walk. Leisure activities may seem like the last thing on your mind with looming deadlines, but taking a breather helps you to feel refreshed and improves your mood, so you are less likely to overeat.
5) De-clutter Your Home
The act of de-cluttering your home may serve as a therapeutic experience. Being organized makes us feel more in control of our lives, which allows us to be better prepared when faced with stress.
According to a study in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, women who described their homes as “cluttered” had higher levels of cortisol compared to women who felt their homes were “restful” and “restorative”.
Share with us your favorite stress-reducing activities and tag us @sgpilatesfitness on Instagram!