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Fit Tip: Stress Weight Gain

Happy Sunday!

I hope you have enjoyed this weekend and are looking forward to the week ahead. Here is my fitness tip of the week:

Manage Stress to Prevent Weight Gain

How do you respond to feelings of stress? Do you have healthy coping mechanisms that help you gain control over the stress and return to a calmer frame of mind, or do you have less healthy responses? Do you eat more when you are stressed? If you do, it’s important to know that this is a physiological response and that it doesn’t have to result in unwanted weight gain.

You have probably heard about the “fight or flight” response to stress.

Three hormones - adrenaline, corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH) and cortisol – are released in response to stress. The release of these hormones gives us instant energy to respond to a threat. Cortisol, which increases sugars in the bloodstream and can remain elevated, can have a number of unhealthy effects, including increased appetite and excessive eating. In earlier times, this response was often triggered when a person was in physical danger, e.g., running from a tiger. Today, this response is more likely to be triggered by events such as job stress, relationship problems or financial woes. We are still prompted to take action when stress hormones are released but, instead of fighting or running away, we are prompted to eat. This becomes a way to relieve stress and leads to weight gain.

Fortunately, there are steps we can take to manage stress and maintain a healthy weight. First, be aware of signs or stress, such as anxiety, irritability and tense muscles. Consider why you are feeling this way and attempt to address the problem directly, rather than eating in response. Engage in regular physical activity and use movement as a way of combating stress and elevating your mood. Eat a healthy diet and avoid skipping meals, especially breakfast. If you are tempted to eat, determine whether you are hungry or just stressed. If you are not hungry, take a walk, talk to a friend or engage in some other enjoyable activity that will distract you from eating. Practice relaxation techniques such as stretching, yoga, meditation and deep breathing, or get a massage. Finally, get adequate sleep. This increases the amount of another hormone called leptin, which helps to control hunger and signals that the body has had enough to eat. Effective stress management techniques will improve your overall health and help you to stay at a healthy weight.

Have a healthy, active and productive week!


Sometimes, the effects of stress seem to be primarily or exclusively emotional, and they include feelings of anxiety and discomfort. At other times, these emotions are accompanied by ravenous hunger in general and cravings for starchy and sweet foods in particular. In some people, the stress becomes chronic and this can lead to an increase in appetite and stress-induced weight gain. Why does this happen?

Eventually, this can lead to weight gain.

Engaging in a physical fight or running away is not a reasonable response to these modern stressors, but we are still prompted to take action. Often the action we take is eating, and that becomes a way to relieve stress, leading to unwanted weight gain.

You probably know someone who responds to stress by losing his or her appetite. In fact, this can be the immediate response to stress. However, there is mounting evidence that for some people, chronic stress

The appropriate response to these types of problems is not to engage in a physical fight or physically run away, yet we are prepared to do so. Sometimes,

This describes hormones that are released in response to a stressful situation. These hormones are Adrenaline gives us instant energy and, along with CRH, can suppress appetite initially, but not for long. Cortisol

The “fight or flight” response, which was once quite useful in response to the stress that results from being chased by a tiger can be problematic in response to job or financial woes. In the first instance, you have the energy to fight back or run away. In the second instance, the action you take might well be eating excessively.

First, be aware of how you experience stress. If you start to feel anxious, irritable or tense, Find ways of relaxing and calming down that do not involve eating.

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