May 15, 2020

Why Stress Makes Us Fat

I posted this article by my colleague Debra Greene some time ago and thought it was worth repeating again.  It speaks to the relationship between stress and weight gain.  Many are feeling dressed now and may be less active with restrictions in moving about and socializing.   Here is what she wrote:

Everyone knows when we’re stressed we eat more.  We also tend to eat more comfort foods like cookies, cake, chocolate, or chips.  But why does stress make us hungry?   A recent article by Dr. Michael Mosley reveals the link between stress and weight gain.

On a low-stress day, according to the article, the blood-sugar levels of healthy people rise when we eat and quickly return to normal.  However, when subjected to stress, blood-sugar levels can take about 3 hours to return to normal, which is six times longer than normal.


Because when we’re stressed the body goes into “flight or fight” mode and glucose is released into the bloodstream to bring energy to our muscles.  But if we don’t need that energy to run or fight, the pancreas will pump out insulin to bring the blood-sugar levels back down again.  Rising insulin and falling blood-sugar levels make us feel hungry, which is why we crave sugary carbs when we’re stressed.

Interestingly, the same thing happens with lack of sleep!

When we are sleep deprived we tend to consume more calories–up to 20% more according to one study–and we tend to go for sugar and carbs.  So an important key to losing weight is to get enough sleep.

And another key lies in your attitude.  Of well-known stress reduction techniques–such as mindfulness, exercising, gardening, and yoga–mindfulness came out on top in a recent study, but with an important caveat:

You only benefit if you enjoy it! Slogging through your stress reduction routine doesn’t work. But if you lighten up your attitude–which can prevent stress in the first place–you can lighten up your body as well.

No diets, no calorie counting. Just remember the main ingredient: Joy.  And you can always use EFT tapping to take the edge off your nerves, impatience or frustration.  Try it, it really does work.