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Can Stress Lead to Weight Loss?
A significant worldwide population is presently affected by stress to a certain extent. And it can have a direct impact on their weight levels. Some people can gain an abnormal amount of weight due to chronic stress, while others may lose it much faster. The relation between stress and weight loss is not new and deserves your attention. This article is for you if you’ve been a lot stressed recently and have been noticing sudden weight loss. To help you better understand stress weight loss, we’ve compiled this epic guide featuring all the information you must know. So read until the end to gain better clarity on the topic.
Table of Contents
Stress and Weight Loss: How They Are Connected
Irrespective of the degree of stress you experience, it is guaranteed to influence different body areas at varying intensities. For example, chronic stress can lead to poor dietary choices, contributing to widespread body inflammation. This inflammation activates the vagus nerve, eventually influencing how our gut metabolizes food. It often leads to abnormal and unhealthy weight loss. Alteration of the HBA axis also leads to weight loss due to stress. Alteration of the HPA axis also contributes to sudden weight loss due to changed metabolism and eating habits. Also know can stress cause diabetes?
Symptoms of Weight Loss Due to Stress
If your body has stress weight loss, you can notice the following symptoms:
- Tensed muscles
- Decreased sex drive
- Aches and pains
- Increased heart rate
- Mood swings
You can also start noticing difficulty with short-term memory. If you are experiencing these visible symptoms, you should consult your doctor. Also know about diabetes and mood swings.
What are the Reasons for Weight Loss Due to Stress?
Many people have gained significant weight due to chronic stress over a period. Some of the common reasons behind this sudden weight gain include the following:
- Activation of the Body’s Fight or Flight Response
A common psychological mechanism, also known as the acute stress response, is common in people with stress. It eventually influences your reproductive, digestive, and immune functions. When you experience it, your body releases cortisol and adrenaline to prepare your body for any vigorous activity and reduces your desire to eat.
- Affects Hunger and Digestion
Stress typically leaves people feeling energy drained. It can also significantly affect a person’s eating habits, making them feel less hungry and leading to weight loss. A stressed body also processes nutrients differently. It starts affecting your vagus nerve, making it difficult for your body to digest, absorb, and metabolize food. As a result, widespread inflammation occurs throughout the body and causes weight loss.
- Burns Calories
Many people resort to extreme physical activity to divert their minds from stress. Although the endorphins released from exercise help reduce stress, an excess can cause abnormal weight loss. Stress also triggers unconscious movements like tapping legs or clicking fingers, which leads to calorie burning.
- Affects Sleep
If you’re stressed, you will find falling or staying asleep difficult. Over time, it will affect your sleep quality, making you feel sluggish and fatigued. As a result, cortisol production will be disrupted, affecting your metabolism. You can also notice a change in your eating habits which causes weight loss.
Tips to Control Weight Loss Due to Stress
Managing stress and weight loss is not difficult if you have the proper guidance. To control unwanted weight loss due to stress, start doing the following activities regularly:
- Identify the Trigger
Understanding what makes you feel stressed and how you respond to it normally is half the battle won. You can use this knowledge to prevent any severe scenarios. Having a stress diary for journaling can help a lot during stressful times.
- Prioritize Meals
Ensuring you have enough calories and the required nutrition is crucial to prevent weight loss due to stress. Focusing on how food provides the required nourishment can make a lot of difference. An excellent way to do it is by setting aside at least ten minutes daily for mindful eating.
- Talk to a Mental Healthcare Provider
Sometimes stress levels can become unbearable to handle on an individual level. It is where you need the help of a professional mental healthcare provider. A mental healthcare provider or a therapist is experienced and equipped enough to guide you visibly lower your stress levels.
Meditation makes you more aware of yourself, enabling people to detach from negative psychological responses or thoughts for a while. It can visibly lower your stress levels, preventing sudden weight loss. Even simple meditations like breathing exercises can bring miraculous results within a short period.
While some people may resort to overindulgence in physical activities, others may prefer curling up on a couch for hours. The latter feels more comforting during times of stress. But the situation can be improved by following basic exercises like brisk walking, yoga, etc. It will help regulate your stress levels.
- Drink More Water
Many people resort to eating as a coping mechanism during extreme stress. As a result, you can overindulge in unhealthy food items, affecting your metabolism and other body functions. The worst part about stress eating is you will continue feeling stressed even after consuming food frequently. You can try to overcome this problem by drinking enough water. Our body can often confuse dehydration with hunger, so drinking enough water can actually suppress unwanted cravings and, eventually, stress levels.
If your body is losing abnormal amounts of weight quickly, you should not take it lightly, irrespective of the underlying reason. Stress has become a part of many people’s everyday life, and its health effects are being noticed worldwide. People experiencing weight loss too fast due to stress should get a health check-up at the earliest. Sometimes, this sudden weight loss paired with stress can give rise to severe health problems, making your condition worse in the long run. So visit your doctor soon and take a step to prevent stress-induced weight loss.
How Much Weight Can Stress Make You Lose?
The weight loss caused due to stress can vary from one person to another. But in general, you can notice a person losing approximately 10% to 15% of the body’s overall weight due to anxiety and chronic stress. But if you’re losing more than this, consult a doctor at the earliest.
What is Considered Unhealthy Rapid Weight Loss?
Losing approximately 0.45 to 0.9 kg a week is considered normal by many healthcare experts. But losing more than this can lead to unhealthy health conditions like muscle loss, gallstones, nutritional deficiencies, reduced metabolism, etc.
Why am I Losing Weight Too Fast?
The reason can be different for different people. The common reasons behind losing weight too fast are mental health problems, eating disorders, OCD with digestion, etc. Faster weight loss can often mean you’re trying to cut down essential nutrients from your body. Losing weight too fast can bring long-term health problems.
This website's content is provided only for educational reasons and is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice. Due to individual differences, the reader should contact their physician to decide whether the material is applicable to their case.