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Is stress the reason behind your weight gain?

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Could stress be the reason you can’t see results? Does your job, personal life or just minor things in general leave you feeling stressed out? If so, it’s time for you to chill. Because the thing that sucks most about stress is, even if you exercise and eat well, high stress levels can prevent you losing weight.

Feeling stressed just reading this? You won’t be for long. Take a look at our useful tips on how to beat stress-induced weight gain.

How does stress affect weight?

Here’s a simplified explanation:

When you’ve had a stressful day, your brain tells your cells to release powerful hormones. You are hit with a burst of adrenaline and cortisol which tells your body to restore its energy, even if it hasn’t been used. When this happens you become extremely hungry for no reason. And stay that way until you’ve de-stressed. This is when the cravings for junk food, high in fat or sugar kick in.
And that’s not all. The production of testosterone- your muscle building hormone- is slowed down, so you even burn fewer calories and lose muscle mass.

Now for the important part: How can you prevent this?

It’s easy to say, “stop stressing so much”, but we know it’s not that easy to actually stop stressing so much. So if you do find yourself stressed here are ways to control the weight gain that usually comes with it.

Hit the breaks

Eating whilst stressed is like grocery shopping when you’re hungry: you grab everything you can see, as fast as you can and wolf it down. We suggest you slow down when eating. Savour each bite and really take your time to enjoy your food. This won’t only make you feel fuller, it is also said to lower cortisol levels.

Stop dieting now in preparation for stressful situations

Are you used to grabbing a tub of ice cream, bottle of wine, or calling in the pizza as soon as you get home from a stressful day at work? The problem with a drastic, short-term diet is that as soon as you experience a little stress, every goal goes out the window and you end up eating everything you see, starting with the unhealthiest. If you stick to a wholesome, healthy nutrition all year round, you appreciate good, honest food and enjoy it. So even if you’re feeling low or stressed, you’ll still make the right choice, because you haven’t been restricting yourself the rest of the time.

Skip coffee

Everyone loves coffee. Many see it as a life-saving ingredient to get them through their day. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, when you combine stress with caffeine, it is said to raise cortisol levels even more than stress alone. Remember how we said earlier that high cortisol levels can cause stress eating? Maybe a good idea to choose the decaf if you’re having a tough day.

Solid sleep

If you’ve ever laid in bed at night unable to doze off, then you’ll know how stressful it can be on the body. Sleep deprivation is a major cause of stress. It’s said that under 7 hours of sleep a night could result in an increased appetite and weight gain. Not what you want if you spend an hour every day preventing this. If you do struggle with sleep, our tip is to ensure you do some form of exercise or sport each day. So that when it comes to bedtime your body is tired and your mind willing to fall asleep without putting up a fight.

Don’t let your hard work, sweat and hours of struggle go to waste. Stress is only as bad as you let it be. As long as you stay focused and follow these tips, you’ll have the situation under control. Remember, you are a Free Athlete.