Can Stress Cause Weight Loss?

Weight Scale

Stress is defined as a state of emotional strain or tension caused by demanding conditions. This results in anxiety, worry, and nervousness. And we all react to stress in different ways. Eating patterns may drastically change often leading to weight gain. But can stress cause weight loss? Read on…

Can stress make you lose weight?

When you’re subject to chronic stress over a long period of time – or suffer severe stress from one traumatic event – you can indeed start losing weight through stress.

Loss of appetite stress is known to be one of the potential side effects. You become so worried that you don’t actually think about eating and may simply forget to eat. Unfortunately, this lack of eating regularly and stabilising blood sugar levels can actually be detrimental in dealing with stressful situations.

Other behavioural influences such as obsessive-compulsive disorder can lead to poor nutrition. As can germ phobias that restrict the diet. Social disorders can lead to limited food supplies as shopping becomes unbearable. General anxiety disorder results in symptoms such as feeling constantly on edge and restlessness.

Bereavement and grief can distract the mind and as well as a loss in concentration can create forgetting to eat symptoms. All of these factors can lead to substantial weight loss.

Does stress make you lose weight?

Increased nervous energy often means you rarely find time to relax or rest. This constantly being on the go needs more energy and more fuel. And if you’re not eating properly your body may be consuming more energy than food – and you’ll lose weight.

Reduced nutrition can cause weight loss – as can sleep disruption. When sleep is regularly disturbed due to elevated stress levels it causes the body to produce more of the cortisol hormone. This stimulates the body causing it to work harder and increasing fuel consumption.

Does stress cause weight loss?

When you’re stressed your body deals with this by producing stress hormones – stimulants that increase metabolism and fuel consumption. This puts pressure on resources causing extra burning of fuel. And faster. When you’re not eating normally additional fuel is taken from the body’s fat stores resulting in weight loss.

Stomach and digestive issues may be experienced if you’re continually stressed – and eating less is another side effect. This circle reduces the number of energy resources and further depletes the fat store, causing weight loss.

Loss of appetite is also linked to depression as the motivation to eat healthily and regularly is lost.

Does stress burn calories?

The initial symptoms of anxiety that produce fight or flight responses increase metabolism – even if only temporarily. Experience of burned calories may differ from person to person. Nervous movement, ticks, and leg shakes are all symptoms of stress. Unintentionally walking around the home and moving more can burn away calories.

Stressed man

Reducing Body Stress

Weight loss due to stress can be addressed by eliminating stress responses. You can practice recovery strategies that help resolve anxiety issues. And address the underlying factors that are causing the stress. This will allow your stomach and digestive system to return to normal. And your weight to stabilise. See some short-term remedies here…

  • Try to deal with your anxiety – this will help to reduce stress levels
  • Slow down your metabolism – concentrate on relaxing, resting, and getting enough sleep
  • Practice yoga or meditation – these are stress management techniques that work
  • Listen to music – and stay sociable to help you through dark days
  • Focus on your food intake – increase foods rich in carbohydrates and protein
  • Eat smaller portions – include plenty of fruit, vegetables and whole grains
  • Add foods that produce serotonin – a mood improver found in milk, yoghurts, and oats
  • Take supplements – these can help to offset a temporary poor diet
  • See a nutritional therapist – advice on counteracting stress through natural resources will help
  • Schedule a doctor’s appointment – to discuss your weight change and rule out more serious causes
  • Get referred to guided self-help courses – working with a therapist to help you cope
Skinny woman

Medications and Remedies

Many different types of medication are used to treat anxiety disorders including benzodiazepines for short-term use – and antidepressants for long-term solutions.

Natural remedies for stress and anxiety provide ways to reduce these feelings – with calming effects that are safe and effective with few side effects. Kava root taken as a concentrated extract or tablet can help with anxiety, restlessness, and sleep. And care for stress-related symptoms such as muscle spasms and tension.

Lemon balm improves mood and boosts calmness. And can be taken in the form of tea. Lavender oil in the bath or diffused in the air can quickly promote stress and anxiety relief.

There’s a wide range of stress relief products available to buy online – from wristbands and clothing clips that use gentle vibrations – to wirelessly connected devices to help you get through the day and night.

Steering clear of stress is almost impossible. But there’s help readily available. Combine all of the above with just 30 minutes of exercise a day and you’ll be able to make great changes to your mental health.

Henry Warren I am a professional writer and health & wellness enthusiast.