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Why does stress make us lose weight?

Weight loss and stress - what’s the connection?

For some of us, stress directly affects weight. We look at the mechanisms that affect weight loss, what triggers stress and why losing weight is a bad idea.

Why do we usually lose weight?

⁃ We don’t feel hungry.

⁃ When you are under stress, you can behave differently than usual, for example, skipping lunch due to work or going to bed very late to catch something important.

⁃ Your body’s response to struggle or flight can accelerate your metabolism.

⁃ When you are under stress, your body goes into the «fight or run» mode. This physiological mechanism, also known as the «acute stress response», informs your body that it must respond to the perceived threat.

⁃ Your body prepares itself by releasing hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline prepares your body for active activity, but it can also minimize your desire to eat.

⁃ Meanwhile, cortisol signals your body to temporarily suppress functions that are insignificant during a crisis. This includes your digestive, immune, and reproductive responses.

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Stress and weight

Most people under stress are prone to hyperphagia, or overeating, and fewer suffer from hypophagy or malnutrition. One study of university students in the UK confirms an even higher ratio: 55% of participants gained weight during their busy first year, compared to 12% who lost weight. The results appeared in Physiology & Behavior in 2007.

The prevalence of hyperphagia under stress makes sense, given the longer period during which cortisol remains in your system, making you want to eat. In addition, chronic stress constantly increases cortisol levels, for example, if you struggle to adapt to a new situation, say, in college, or if you care for a sick or elderly relative.

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Stress feeding schemes

If you are prone to gaining weight under stress, you are probably a «restrained» eater under normal circumstances, according to a study published in «Physiology and Behavior» in 2006. This means that you are prone to diet, and when you are under stress, you choose foods that are prohibited during the diet, such as those with high fat content and high sugar content.

Loss of appetite by an unbridled eater can lead to weight loss during stress. If you consume less food than your body needs for many functions, you will lose weight over time. For example, if your body requires 1,700 calories a day, but you only consume 1,200 calories a day for a month when you are under stress, you will lose a lot of calories.

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Weight loss recovery

If your appetite decreases under stress, try eating small portions. Stick to proper nutrition and stay away from low-calorie junk food.

Great product options to maintain your calorie intake or restore weight - lean protein, nuts and seeds, avocado, dairy products, dried fruits, fresh fruits such as bananas and mangoes, olives and olive oil. For example, you can eat celery with hummus, Greek yogurt, nuts and raisins, a piece of whole wheat toast with almond oil, two hard-boiled eggs or a milk banana smoothie. Daily intake of sufficient protein food helps to restore muscles that you may have lost while under stress.

Unfortunately, in the actual reality modern a man can not stay out of the alarming agenda of the last few years, and therefore risks to face a nervous breakdown, simply put - depression.

Photo by Artem Kovalev on Unsplash

In addition, in the struggle for a harmonious state in the soul it is important to learn to concentrate on the usual activities that you can control: plan the workday, stick to the routine in everything you do, follow the plan clearly, be consistent and systematic.

Remember, once you learn how to control your emotions, how to control your own reactions, you can start helping others.

Photo by Christopher Campbell on Unsplash

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