Stress is something we all encounter on a regular basis. It is an unavoidable part of our professional and personal lives that we all have to deal with. Most of us know how important it is to manage stress for psychological reasons.
But the physical impact of stress should not be underestimated – especially in terms of weight gain.
Studies have shown that people with high levels of perceived stress have a greater increase in BMI (body mass index) over time (Harding et al., 2014). There are many reasons why stress can put you at risk for weight gain, some of which are purely physiological.
The body releases hormones in response to stress; one of them is cortisol, which increases appetite
Food can also be used as a way to escape stress. Emotional eating, impulsive eating and binging are behaviors that provide a distraction from problems and stressful situations.
To make matters worse, the guilt that comes from this kind of eating pattern can lead to even more overeating. Women are especially prone to stress-related eating.
The best way to avoid stress-related weight gain is clearly to learn how to manage stress. Effective techniques include yoga and meditation, which train you to feel calm and centered.
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