How Constantly Feeling Stressed May Affect Your Weight

Many people's weight can be impacted by stress. Whether it results in losing weight or gaining depends on the individual and the situation. However, stress affects the weight of individuals in both ways.

What effect does stress have on your body?

Although it might not be immediately apparent, stress can have a noticeable impact on your health.

Stress harms your physical, mental, and emotional well-being, causing everything from tense muscles and headaches to feelings of irritability, overwhelm, and powerlessness.

You'll frequently see the effects of stress right away. Yet there are other ways your body reacts to stress that may take a while to detect, like weight gain.

Your body reacts to stress by producing more cortisol, preparing it for "fight or flight."

In response to a threat, the adrenal glands generate more cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol levels return to normal when there is no longer a threat in your perception.

If stress is constant, you may experience cortisol overexposure. It is an issue given that cortisol is a powerful hunger stimulator.

It is why so many individuals choose comfort foods as a way to cope with stress.

And to make matters worse, the extra calories that are taken while cortisol levels are high seem to be preferentially stored in the midsection.

Risks related to stress and weight gain

Your health can be affected negatively in the long run due to stress or when it becomes difficult to control.

Untreated chronic stress is linked to depression, high blood pressure, sleeplessness, heart disease, anxiety, and obesity.

The risks that are associated with weight gain include −

  • Diabetes

  • Heart diseases

  • High blood pressure levels

  • Reproductive issues

  • Stroke

  • Joint pain increases

  • A decline in lung function

How to understand that weight loss is due to stress?

Not only weight gain, but stress can cause weight loss as well. Some symptoms of stress in individuals are −

  • Indigestion

  • Headaches

  • Pains and aches

  • Changes in mood

  • Feeling fatigued

  • Reduced sex drive

  • Increase in the heart rate

  • Trouble falling asleep

What are the ways to reduce stress?

We all experience stress at some point. Some people might encounter it several times each day, while others might only become aware of it when it starts to obstruct their everyday activities.

There are various simple steps you can take to relax when you're stressed, such as −

Setting priorities

Maintain a diary recording your daily activities for one week. Set priorities for the jobs and activities that are most important to you. Don't forget to schedule enough time for restful sleep and physical activity. Self-care includes physical activity and sleep.

When you feel well-rested, you're more likely to have more resilience and be better equipped to handle the changes that are going to come up in your life. Sleep sets the basis for mental well-being.

On the other hand, when you don't get enough sleep, you find it harder to deal with even little setbacks in your daily life.

Increasing efficiency

Simplify a healthy diet and exercise to make them simpler to incorporate into a hectic schedule. Prepare a few days' worth of lunches in advance during the weekend by chopping veggies for the week to be eaten as snacks or added to stir-fries or salads.

Loving your body

A major source of stress includes poor body image, internalized weight bias, and body shame. Internalized weight bias worsens medical and mental health outcomes and raises stress levels.

By concentrating on being healthy, you can improve your body image. Instead of focusing all of your mental energy on the number on the scale start other healthy habits. It includes filling half of your plate with fruits and vegetables when you eat, going out for walks several times per week, and so on.

Our capacity for self-acceptance and self-compassion, which have been found to minimize body image dissatisfaction, body shame, and related stress, can be improved by mindfulness meditation, which is a powerful method for lowering anxiety. Being fully present and aware at the moment when engaging in mindfulness meditation involves having a sense of acceptance and awareness.

Going out for a walk

Instead of venting your frustration on a bag of chips, go for a walk and appreciate Nature. It aids in reducing anxiety.

Think carefully before you eat

When eating food, pause before you eat to determine whether you are truly hungry or are reaching for food for another purpose. The best way to satisfy a stressful person's emotional demands is not with food. Stress may be momentarily reduced, but it almost always returns. It's crucial to figure out how to satisfy our emotional demands more genuinely.

One must pay attention to the difference between eating in reaction to physiological hunger and eating in response to stress. Next, you can consider how to best meet your requirements, whether it be through food or another coping strategy like a stress-reduction or relaxation technique. Call a friend, do yoga or deep breathing, read a book, or even take a short nap. Ask for professional help if necessary.

Understanding things to appreciate in your life

Recognize what in life you can be grateful for while also acknowledging whatever is causing you stress. As simple as it sounds, the ability to focus on what is better in a situation might help to mentally buffer the stress in other parts of your life.

Sleeping and exercising

Lack of sleep for a brief period caused an increase in calorie intake and weight gain. It is important for adults to sleep for seven hours minimum daily.

Exercise decreases stress levels and also symptoms associated with this problem.

Frequent exercise might increase your body's capacity to withstand stress. Exercise can result in positive changes in the stress response system that enhance how your body responds to upcoming physiological stressors and may make your body better capable of handling psychological pressures.


Stress can take a toll on your weight in either way- it can increase it or decrease it. Whatever happens, there are ways in which the stressors can be controlled and you can lead a stress-free life.