Stress and Weight Loss

It appears that stress and weight loss are mutually exclusive. So many people try hard to lose weight, they do heaps of exercise, restrict their food intake and take the right supplements, but despite their very best efforts they still fail to get results. Why is this?

Well, whilst there may be numerous reasons why they don't get results, the major factor that stands out is simply the stress they place on their body when they want to lose weight; stress and weight gain are related concepts.

Of course there may be some unexplained causes of weight gain, but most people who want to lose weight simply need to incorporate the standard weight loss principles and they will get results. There's no need to exercise excessively or severely restrict food intake. If they're simply willing to do the right things consistently, over a period of time they will get results.

Stress and Weight Loss

However, if a person doesn't have any problems with their body physiologically there still may be some reasons as to why they can't lose weight.

Too Much Exercise

If a person does too much exercise the level of cortisol production in their body increases significantly. For example, if more than approximately 1 hour of exercise is performed, cortisol levels in the blood stream will begin to rise sharply. This induces inflammatory cytokine production, which then leads to fluid retention and weight gain. Cortisol and stress are closely correlated.

Food Restriction

Cortisol and stress in the body may also result from severe restriction of food and this means a loss of muscle as well. This of course means that the body's metabolism will slow down.

Mental Stress

Mental stress and weight gain is also a possibility whereby if a person experiences some form of mental stress in their life, the same physical responses occur in the body, one of which is cortisol release.

Furthermore, an increase in cortisol also means there is a corresponding increase in insulin resistance, because cortisol promote the liberation of glucose from the liver. This results in an increase in your blood glucose level, potentially leading to insulin resistance.

This also means that fat burning and weight loss become more difficult.

When someone wants to lose fat they generally want to lose it fast. In fact, they want to lose it faster than is physically possible! Whilst it is possible to lose weight fast, it is impossible to lose fat at the same rate because the body views fat as a very important fuel for the body, especially during times of famine.

If people understand this, they then realise that if they want to lose fat (and not just weight), then they must not put the body under any stress because cortisol and stress make it very hard to lose weight. Let's face it, stress and weight loss almost never occur together!

If you do place the body under some degree of stress, weight loss is not likely to occur simply because the body is going to do everything possible to grip tightly on to its valuable fat stores. Then, when the body feels 'relaxed' and the environment is right, the body will be willing give up its fat stores because it feels 'comfortable'.

Many people think that stress and weight loss occur together but in fact the opposite is true. Therefore, if you're serious about losing weight and keeping it off long term, try and stay as relaxed as possible at all times.

Overall, here are some suggestions for what you should do in order to be able to lose weight without stressing your body:

  • Never go hungry

  • Don't exercise for more than about an hour a day

  • Eat an adequate amount of protein

  • Try to find some time during the day to relax or meditate

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