One small 2014 study found that, on average, women who reported one or more stressors during the prior 24 hours burned 104 fewer calories than non-stressed women. This could result in an 11-pound weight gain over the course of a year.
Many people also turn to alcohol when stressed. While alcohol does provide an initial calming effect, in the long run, it makes stress worse. Alcohol can contribute to weight gain by boosting your calorie intake.
Studies have also shown that not getting enough sleep at night can increase your stress levels during the day.
This is a problem because mounting evidence suggests that adequate sleep might be just as important as diet and exercise when it comes to managing your weight.
A 2014 review of 168 studies concluded that stress impairs our efforts to be physically active.
While exercising less may not cause weight gain directly, it does mean fewer calories burned. Fewer calories burned means more calories stored in the body as fat.
How to break the cycle of stress and weight gain
“Make exercise a priority”
“Get more sleep”
“Keep a journal”
While these tips help reduce stress, the reality is that they are much easier said than done, especially when you’re already stressed.
An alternative approach is to start by making a list of all the sources of stress in a typical day. Don’t leave out little things like your alarm clock going off in the morning or being stuck in traffic.
Next, pick one (and only one) that seems like it would be easy to address.
An example might be to stop checking email after a certain time or to prepare meals in advance so you don’t have to rush in the evenings.
When you have established a new routine move on to the next item on your list. The aim is to keep chipping away to remove as much stress from your day-to-day life as possible.
It’s not something you’ll ever be able to completely eliminate, but managing stress is essential to prevent weight gain and for good overall health.
All information on this website is intended for instruction and informational purposes only. The authors are not responsible for any harm or injury that may result. Significant injury risk is possible if you do not follow due diligence and seek suitable professional advice about your injury. No guarantees of specific results are expressly made or implied on this website.