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Will I lose weight if I am stressed out? The truth about how stress and weight-loss get along

Will I lose weight if I am stressed out?

Do you stress about your extra kilos or anything else? Have you been trying to lose weight at the same time for months, but to no avail? Believe me, there are plenty of us like that. And do you know that up to half of the success (not just in losing weight) depends on the state of your mind? Maybe it's the stress that's holding you back. How does the body interact and how do we stop putting ourselves in a tight spot? Get to the bottom of it, and even losing weight will be easier.

How does stress affect our body?

Under stress, different neurological and metabolic changes occur in the body, and our behaviour changes as well. These changes are very important and allow us to cope with different types of burdens. But long-term, or chronic, stress is harmful and not good for losing weight either. “When the body goes into a stressful situation, neural and hormonal mechanisms are activated and they lead to increased muscle tension to allow the muscles to react promptly, heart activity also increases, breathing becomes faster and digestion is dampened,” explains Pavla Staňková, medical school teacher and metabolism research expert. The bowel passage, on the other hand, accelerates, which I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with in connection with nervousness.

So there is a redirection of blood to the brain, the heart, and later to the muscles, and these changes themselves lead to increased energy output. Now you've probably become more alert, thinking that stress will make you lose weight faster. But beware of that. Long-term stress has nothing to do with healthy weight loss. With the stress response, the body naturally prepares us for a fight-or-flight response from danger, and nutrients needed for muscle work are released into the blood. But when that flight doesn't happen and the body doesn't "let off steam," the organism overloads. "Chronic stress causes an imbalance in the body that leads to increased blood glucose and fatty acid concentrations and reduced insulin sensitivity. There are also changes in the immune system as well as increased blood clotting," warns the expert. Stress can thus cause a number of health problems, led by cardiovascular problems or type 2 diabetes.

During chronic stress, there are regulation problems and changes in the sensitivity of the stress response; this, paradoxically, can lead to increased storage of fat reserves, hence to frustrating the efforts to lose weight. “The fat is placed in the abdomen as a priority under stress, and there is a loss of muscle mass because the hormone cortisol, which is washed out under stress, induces the release of amino acids from muscles to form sugar in the liver,” explains Pavla Staňková. Stress also causes changes in women's sensitivity to oestrogen, which can lead not only to moodiness, but also to weight problems.

Take a guess! Do we eat more or less under stress?

Have you noticed that stress and the amount of food you eat are closely related? "The way in which stress affects our appetite depends on the intensity and duration of stress, gender, and hereditary disposition. In sudden or severe stress, appetite generally declines. In the case of chronic or recurrent stress, on the other hand, many people's appetite increases, especially their desire for fatty and sugary food," explains obesity-related metabolic syndrome expert Pavla Staňková. The effect of stress may simply look like this: We eat like hell when learning to take a hard test, because we are accustomed to sweets or fried delicacies soothing us, but before the test itself our stomachs are tight and we can't eat a bite.

But skipping meals won't help you lose weight either.

Keep at least a protein bar ready to give your body what it needs.

How can you get psychologically comfortable when you're losing weight?

You already know that stress doesn't help losing weight, so you need to get in the right positive frame of mind. How? Try a few of our practice-tested tips and tricks.

1. Don't weigh yourself every day

Different bodies lose weight differently, and some in leaps and bounds. That means you might not lose any weight for a few days, and the next day the weight loss is obvious at first sight. It is therefore worth weighing yourself regularly, but not daily. Define a day to monitor how much the needle has dropped in weight, for example, Monday morning, to get started right at the beginning of the new week.

2. Watch for centimetres, not kilograms

Maybe you're working out, getting muscle instead of fat. That's why the scale needle might not move, even if your figure is visibly slimmer and firmer. A meter will serve you better at these times than an old "friend" scale.Healthy diet and sport means 100% weight-loss success.

3. Don't starve

Avoid the common mistake that if you eat too little, you lose weight. If you let your body starve, it goes into power-saving mode, and once you've eaten normally, it stores all its energy for the next time. It's concerned that you'll let it starve again in no time. So eat regularly and build a diet full of high-quality protein, vegetables, healthy fats, as well as fruits and complex carbohydrates. How do you work your way up to this diet? Start your weight loss with a popular and effective protein diet.

4. Do sports

Does a run or a Pilates class make you feel like a goddess? No wonder, you've just been charged with endorphins. Happiness hormones, washed into your body with vigorous exercise, will keep you in the right frame of mind even when you're not having your day. And did you know that by moving, you'll finally be trying to lose 100%? The diet does make up 70% of the success. The other 30%, which is not a small number, however, depends on your activity.

5. Don't be put off by your neighbourhood's stupid comments

Your family members or colleagues might start targeting you with their would-be witty remarks for your weight loss. Don't worry about them. Don't let yourself be taken to pieces, and let a slimmer figure speak for you which the jokers would also like to have. You'll see that they'll eventually take weight-loss advice from you.

6. Don't eat your emotions

Stick to your weight-loss diet or eat a piece of vegetables or a few nuts when you're hungry. But don't succumb to the urge to eat out a sad moment with ice cream or celebrate a fine presentation at work with a dessert. Also, watch out for titbit picking during a touching movie or a thrilling book. If you're one of the so-called emotional eaters, learn how to handle emotional hunger with ease.

7. Fire up your motivation and don't lose it

No motivation, no gain/loss. We've modified the proverb a bit, because unless you want a thinner body yourself, it won't come. Do you know how to keep your motivation? Try one of the tips from the Keep up! We know the tricks that will help you keep your motivation to lose weight article.

On a lighter note at the end. Stop trying as Mark Manson’s favourite book styled: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck puts it. Just do what you like and the result will come.

Author: Nikola Nevečeřalová

Photo: KetoLife, Pexels

Stress isn't an issue for you anymore, but you're still worried about being overweight? Plus, you have a sedentary job? Lose weight in the office thanks to our previous article.

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