How Stress Affects Weight Gain

If you are like many of the people we see in our office that are concerned about weight gain in lockdown, then this blog is for you. I have lost count how many times I’ve explained to people the one thing that can cause weight gain and it’s not necessarily over eating. Often explaining to people how stress affects weight gain in a similar way as written here in this blog.

A change in exercise routine and eating more can definitely put on weight. What I explain to people is how stress can affect weight gain and what the connection is between mind (stress) and the body.

How can stress affect weight gain?

The nervous system is in a rest/digest state or in a fight/flight state. Creating balance in the mind and body can only happen when  the nervous system is in either the rest/digest state.

Stress and worry will put your body into the flight or fright response. Blood pressure, heart rate are increased as the body is concerned with one thing only, and that is SURVIVAL. Digestion is not a priority when the body Is under stress, especially prolonged stress.

It is all stress!

Tiger, work pressures, family or financial stressors can all push the body into a sympathetic state. Prolonged stress puts the nervous system into sympathetic overdrive which in turn slows down the normal rest, digest and repair of the parasympathetic system. This imbalance  needs to be identified and understood, then allowing you to correct the  imbalance and implement appropriate stress reducing measures.


What happens to digestion in a stressed state?

In a stressful  situation the priority for blood flow is to the arms and legs, enabling the person to fight or flee. The digestive system is not a priority.  When good does not get digested properly then this can lead to weight gain. It’s not just the quantity of  food that is eaten it is also the state of mind you are in.

This is the connection between mind (stress) and the body.

What to do to help?

  • Change how you react to stressful situations 
  • Eat slowly and do not rush your meals
  • Add exercise, meditation, mindfulness to your day
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Reducing noise
  • Controlling bright lights
  • Correct leaky gut
  • Improve posture to reduce physical load
  • Maintain spinal health

Find out how much water you should be drinking daily, CLICK HERE. Should you eat before you exercise, Dr. Britt answers this commonly asked question. CLICK HERE.

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