Things You Should Know About Stress and Weight Loss
Stress is one of the most common causes of hospital visits in today’s modern world. The modern world has modern problems, most of which have detrimental effects on mental health. Studies have shown that 75-90% of doctor’s appointments are stress-related clinical conditions. Stress affects almost every body system and disturbs body physiology. Stress also has an effect on weight. In some people, it is a cause of weight gain, while in others, it is a reason for weight loss: the mechanisms for both differ.
The mechanism by which stress produces alterations in body systems and avoiding and correcting those changes is described below.
HOW DOES STRESS AFFECT OUR BODY MECHANISM
Activation of fight and flight response
Stress is a stimulus for the sympathetic nervous system, which is the fight and flight response of the body. It prepares the body for emergency conditions. It accelerates the heart rate, constricts the blood vessels, dilates the bronchioles and decreases motility in the digestive tract. The blood supply to the gastrointestinal tract is reduced, and digestion of food is affected. That’s why problems of indigestion, heart burning and constipation are caused.
Activation of Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis
In addition to the nervous system, hormones also affect the body under the condition of stress. Cortisol is a hormone released during stress from the anterior pituitary gland. This hormone provides fuel for the fight and flight response by releasing glucose and fatty acids from the liver. Chronic stress produces changes in the gut processes and metabolism of food.
Inability to eat
Stress is a continuous and unavoidable stimulus that produces the inability to eat. A stressed person often forgets to eat at a proper time and inadequate amount. This is due to the stimulated sympathetic system, which also causes indigestion problems. That’s why chronic stress leads to weight loss.
Cortisol is the hormone that is accountable for alertness and keeping us awake. The levels of this hormone regulate our sleep cycle. Cortisol is highest in quantity in the blood during the early morning, with levels decreasing gradually during the whole day. Stress produces increased cortisol levels, which disturbs the sleep cycle along with the quality of sleep.
WAYS TO AVOID WEIGHT LOSS DUE TO STRESS
There are many practices to reduce stress and ways to cope with dietary changes to avoid stress. The following ways can help you to reduce stress:
- Practice breathing exercises
- Meditation and relaxation techniques
- Practice time management
- Get an adequate amount of sleep
- Avoid drugs and alcohol use
- Listen to relaxing music or reading books
- Talk to family and friends
Specific dietary changes can help promote both mental and physical well-being. The essential nutrients for stress reduction include:
- Omega 3 fatty acids reduce stress hormone
- Vitamin C improves the immune system
- Complex carbohydrates increase relaxing hormone serotonin
Some essential tips for maintaining a good diet include:
- Eat in small portions and at a regular schedule
- Avoid foods with a high glycemic index
- Don’t skip or avoid your meals
- Practice the habit of regular exercise.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
Stress is an unavoidable stimulus that has adverse effects on our physical health. Weight loss is a concerning outcome of stress due to inability to eat and indigestion problems, and sleep disturbances. These unfavorable effects can be avoided by incorporating specific dietary changes and by practicing ways to avoid stress.