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How Stress Can Cause Unwanted Weight Loss or Gain

Stress is something everyone has experienced at some point in their life. It can also wreak havoc on our bodies and mental health, which can sometimes be out of our control. If you’re already stressed, one of the last things you want to add to your plate is helping unexpected changes in your weight due to the stress itself. 


Sometimes people will express their opinions if your weight changes, particularly if you’ve lost weight. This can be troubling if you didn’t intend to lose weight, and the only cause points back to stress. Weight change that you didn’t plan or try to achieve can be alarming, and if you’re unsure of the cause, you may want to see your physician. 


However, if you think stress may be the cause, it’s important to know how to recognize stress, understand the effects, and how to manage your stress better. In other words, you may need to learn to de-stress.


How To Spot Stress


One important thing to remember about stress is that it is a
physical and emotional response. Often we think of it as one or the other based on what part we notice, but it is always both. Stress has a bad connotation, but stress can come from just about any source. It can be good, bad, or something you feel rather indifferent towards, but either way, the response is still there.


So, how do you spot stress in your life? There are different kinds of stress, and because life has a sense of humor sometimes, you can experience multiple types of stress simultaneously. 


You know your body responds to stress, but can you identify your stressors?


Acute Stress


Acute stress is that stress we feel “In the Moment.” It’s immediate, and it triggers your fight-or-flight response. Some examples of this type of stress are job interviews, a close call while you’re driving, a haunted house, a surprise party, or getting a speeding ticket. These events are manageable for healthy people, but a severe incident can cause problems later.


Chronic Stress


As its name suggests, chronic stress is stress that lasts and occurs over a prolonged period of time. When stressors are ever-present, they can have a negative impact on even the healthiest person. One example of chronic stress is prolonged financial struggles. If it is a constant in your life, it becomes harder to identify it as a stressor. 


As you think about the sources of stress in your life, it’s important to consider where stress can exist. Here are some indicators that you may be experiencing stress:


  • Major life changes 
    • Example: The death of a loved one or buying a home
  • Environmental 
    • Example: Traffic, sudden noises, or changes in lighting
  • Unpredictable events 
    • Example: Guests who pop-in, your hours get cut,
  • Workplace 
    • Example: Workloads, deadlines, personality conflicts
  • Social 
    • Example: Meeting new people, keeping up appearances
  • Family 
    • Example: Pressures to meet expectations, maintaining relationships
  • Personal fears 
    • Example: Fear of car accident 
  • Uncertainty 
    • Example: Waiting for results of a test
  • Personal expectations 
    • Example: Pressure to create a perfect holiday

    There are plenty of stressors that can occur in our lives. Identifying our stressors can help us determine if they’re having a greater impact on our lives than we realized and take steps to remedy the situation.


    Stress Effects


    It’s possible to live with stress and not have any negative side effects from it. If you know your stressors, but you’re unsure of whether they’re impacting you, consider the following signs that stress is affecting you:


    • Overly moody
    • Feeling overwhelmed
    • Increased insecurities
    • Avoidance of other people
    • Low energy
    • Digestive distress
    • Lowered immune defenses
    • Constant worrying
    • Increased forgetfulness
    • Lowered ability to focus
    • Impaired judgment
    • Inability to see the bright side or be optimistic
    • Unexpected changes in weight

    One thing to remember about weight changes when you’re stressed, stress doesn’t have to be the root cause of changes in your weight. 


    However, the other effects of stress can impact your weight. For example, low energy can lead to lower activity levels which may cause you to gain weight. However, digestive distress and increased forgetfulness may cause you to forget to eat and lead to weight loss.


    These are just some of the effects of stress. So, what can you do if you know that stress is impacting you? 


    Natural Remedies When You’re Stressed


    Stress can be detrimental to your body, and when you’re injured, you need a treatment or remedy. If you go to the doctor and explain that it hurts when you do something, the doctor will probably tell you to stop doing it. Unfortunately, stress is not so easy to quit. Like pain, stress can’t always be avoided. Just like pain needs to be managed, stress needs to be managed to help you cope with it.


    Some stress management tips may seem like a mountain of their own to climb, but with what we know about the effects of stress on the body, it is important to prioritize stress management for the sake of long-term health. So, what can you do to manage stress?


    1 - Exercise Regularly


    Regular exercise can help combat the effects of stress on the body. For one thing, exercise gives you endorphins, and as Elle Woods says in Legally Blonde, “Endorphins make you happy!” Exercise also positively impacts all the areas where stress seems to attack the body, so it’s a great defense against stress. Exercise can also help combat any unintentional weight changes.


    2 - Meditation

     

    You can’t think your way to a healthier weight, but there is something to be said for implementing regular meditation to help you manage your stress. Meditation can help you reduce stress symptoms like aches from tension, sleep problems, and give you a more mindful approach to your life in general. Just being more mindful of your body and your actions may help you manage unexpected weight changes.


    3 - Time Management

     

    One of the most stressed cartoon characters is the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, and the thing that had him so stressed was how late he was to a significant date. We often feel like that when we’re stressed, and one of the best tools to manage that feeling and, by extension our stress is to learn to manage our time wisely and effectively. Making time to eat properly can help you maintain your weight even during stress.


    4 - Supplements

     

    When you’re doing all that you can do to manage your stress, sometimes you need to supplement your efforts with a supplement. A supplement, by definition, completes or enhances something else when you add it. That is the intention of supplements. We often take them to meet our dietary needs or improve our consumption of a necessary vitamin or mineral. 


    When it comes to stress, we can do all the diet, exercise, meditation, and time management techniques and still feel overwhelmed. Adding an effective supplement like Complete Calm De-Stress Gummies can be one of the easiest ways to help manage your stress, and who doesn’t love enjoying a piece of candy like a kid when you’re feeling a little too much like an adult? Our gummies will instantly calm you, and melt away any stress you may have had while also improving your focus and food.



    Summary

     

    Stressors come and go, but learning to spot your stress, recognize the effects, and implement tactics to manage your stress can help you keep stress from affecting your waistline. Just remember that if you experience unexpected weight changes from stress, show yourself some kindness and take some time to relax.essential


    Sources:

    Recognizing Stress | intermountainhealthcare.org 

    Stress Effects | stress.org 

    "Stress symptoms: Effects on your body and behavior" | Mayo Clinic 

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    Meet our Experts

    This article has been reviewed by members of our Scientific Advisory Board.

    • Dr. Jay Cowin, Nutrition Expert

      Founder of Functional U, a Nutrition, Performance & Optimal Health practice.

    • Dominick Gauthier, Performance Expert

      Former Olympic Athlete, Founder, B2ten Foundation (coach to multiple Olympic Champions)