Stressed & Bigger? The Link Between Stress & Weight Gain

by Pratyush Anand

Chronic stress is not just feeling overwhelmed, it's the body's prolonged response to constant pressure. It's like being on high alert 24/7, taking a toll on both your physical and mental health.

What is Chronic Stress?

Chronic stress triggers cortisol, a hormone that disrupts metabolism, hikes appetite, and stores fat, especially around the belly.

1. Cortisol

Stressed? Sugary or fatty foods become more tempting. These "comfort foods" offer temporary relief, but can lead to unhealthy habits and weight gain. You can drink a nut butter smoothie to feel relaxed. 

2. Stress Eats You Up 

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Chronic stress disrupts sleep patterns, making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. Poor sleep affects your hormones, further increasing appetite and cravings, leading to weight gain over time.

3. Sleepless & Stressed?

Feeling overwhelmed can zap your motivation to exercise. This lack of physical activity reduces calorie burning, further contributing to weight gain and making it harder to manage stress effectively.

4. Stress & Exercise

You can break the cycle of stress-induced weight gain. Prioritize stress management techniques like meditation, yoga, deep breathing, spending time in nature, or connecting with loved ones

5. Manage Your Stress

Combat stress cravings by focusing on a healthy diet. Choose nutrient-rich whole foods, limit processed foods and sugary drinks, and practice mindful eating to avoid emotional eating.

6. Healthy Eating Habits

Even small amounts of physical activity can combat stress and its negative effects on weight. Find activities you enjoy, start slow gradually increase the intensity, and remember, any movement is better than none.

7. Get Moving, Feel Better

Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. Establish a regular sleep schedule, create a relaxing bedtime routine, and ensure a comfortable sleep environment.

8. Prioritize Sleep

9. Seek Support, If Needed

Don't hesitate to seek help if managing stress feels overwhelming. Talk to a therapist, or counsellor, or join a support group. Remember, you're not alone, and help is available.

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