How Stress Can Cause Weight Gain
We've said this time and time again, and there's a reason why we put such a big focus on it. Everyone things it should be easy to lose weight as long as you're in a calorie deficit and exercising, but the reality is, with all the stress we're currently facing it's becoming more difficult to manage that stress and therefore stay healthy and lean.
Stress can significantly impact your ability to maintain a healthy weight. It can also prevent you from losing weight.
So how is this possible?... Blame it on high cortisol levels.
Cortisol is a naturally-occurring steroid hormone that plays a key role in the body's stress response. While it is often called "the stress hormone" for its best-known role, it also contributes to many of the body's processes. It's secreted by the adrenal glands and involved in the regulation of the following functions and more. You can read more on Cortisol here in this article from verywellmind.
We know your time is precious so we'll skip all that "sciencey" stuff and get right to the two main causes of high cortisol levels and how it's causing you to hold onto that weight.
Cortisol slows down your metabolism, making it difficult to lose weight. So even if you're eating everything you know you should be eating high cortisol could be the culprit. Cortisol is important for your body to function normally, but too much cortisol can be bad for your health.
Unhealthy behaviors. Those 2 or 3 days a week you go off track are going to put you right back to square one. While we do preach to balance the types of foods you consume to avoid deprivation, let's be honest, those 2-3 days (whether its a full day or half day) of less than healthy foods and alcohol are going to keep you right where you are. You can exercise until you're blue in the face, but all you're doing is stressing your body out even more.
So what's the next step?
First, instead of focusing on a "diet" focus on these 4 practices.
Engage in a daily stress-relieving practice such as yoga, meditation, and/or journaling.
Drink plenty of water
Practice mindful eating
Make exercise a priority
If you're struggling to lose weight and not sure why, a nutrition and lifestyle audit might be what you need to get to the bottom of it.