Ever been dieting or just eating healthily and exercising regularly for a good few weeks, or even months? How about while you were doing so well, yet you suddenly went through a rather stressful point in your life? How did you react? If you’re like most people, you got in from a stressful day, said “screw the diet” and reached for the nearest candy bar, ice cream, biscuits, or other junk food that you could lay your hands on. After that, many people actually think to themselves “well I’ve already cheated and ruined my diet. I may as well just pack it in”. This is wrong, yet many people seem to take that mentality. There’s no denying it, stress and weight loss is a bad combination because the stress can actually hinder your weight loss, in a number of different ways.
How does stress actually slow down our weight loss?
You read before how we tend to comfort eat when we’re stressed, but the truth is that stress can do so much more than just put us in a foul mood. It’s actually like a chemistry lesson going off inside your body. You see, when we’re stressed, our bodies secrete a hormone from our adrenal glands, known as “Cortisol”. Cortisol is generally beneficial in small doses, as it works in conjunction with our metabolisms, telling our body what it should use as a form of energy. However, too much cortisol can be very detrimental indeed. Too much cortisol can create an increase in appetite, as well as cravings for junk food. The reason you get cravings for junk food when you’re unhappy, is due to the cortisol being secreted into your bodies. It also reduces testosterone levels in men and women, which makes it a lot harder for you to build and maintain lean muscle. Increased levels of muscle means that you need more energy, thus more calories are burnt, so less muscle means less weight loss. It also causes fatigue and lethargy. At times when you’re stressed and annoyed, most of us just want to simply lie on the sofa in front of the TV, or even just get into bed, and do absolutely nothing. The last thing you want to do is go to the gym and workout.
So, not only can stress slow down your weight loss, it can also lead to weight gain. If you're craving junk foods full of fat and sugar, unless you’re extremely strong willed and disciplined, person you’re going to eventually cave, and eat those foods. Combine that with the fact that you’re not very active, and you’ve got a real recipe for disaster. Try to stay calm, relax, look after yourselves, and avoid stressful situations. Losing weight can be hard enough, but trying to do so whilst you’re angry and stressed? It just isn’t practical, or even healthy and advisable for that matter.