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The Stress and Weight Gain Connection

The stress and weight gain connection is an important concept to understand if you are ever going to successfully and sustainably loose weight.

Statistically, 95 percent of dieters who loose weight put it all back on again within a year. Although this is true for many, it does not necessarily need to hold true for you, especially if you take the time to fully understand your condition.

(Photo compliments of common.wikimedia.org)

An alcoholic for instance needs to understand the triggers that lead him to drink. Likewise, if you are overweight or obese, you too need to understand the physiology of what creates this condition in your body, and when it comes to stress and weight gain, we need to address the culprit of cortisol.

Make no mistake, being overweight is extremely stressful on your body, not only physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually too. You body does not distinguish between the types of stress, it just goes to work producing stress hormones - cortisol.

The bottom line when it comes to addressing stress and weight gain is that cortisol is pumped into your system as a result of sustained and chronic stress and the result of too much cortisol is:

  • weight gain and fat storage,
  • immune suppression,
  • digestive challenges
  • inflammation
  • sleep disruption
  • mood alterations like mild depression
  • thyroid conditions
  • metabolic irregularities, and
  • adrenal exhaustion.

Translation?

Disease...not only obesity, but heart conditions, irritable bowel, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. So when we are dealing with weight loss, we need to look at the effects of the weight gain on the WHOLE body.


How to Stop the Stress and Weight Gain Cycle?

Stopping any cycle is about finding a balance where there previously was none. And in the case of the stress and weight gain cycle it is first and foremost about balancing our cortisol levels, and our adrenal glands.

To balance our cortisol however, it means we need to directly and effectively balance our stress levels. This can be a big job, so don't get hung up the commercial ads promising that you will lose 40 lbs in 60 days. This simply may not be the case if you have a lot of stressors to get a handle on.

This may also be why losing 40 lbs in 60 days is often not sustainable. Because it took you years to put the weight on, your entire body has accommodated to this overweight condition. Your body cannot possibly produce a sustainable new equilibrium set point in just 60 days.

Although we've discussed this many times throughout this website, let's recap: stress in not merely the mental variety, so we must balance our stress along all three dimensions: physical, chemical and emotional.

And yes, even the simple concept of weight loss needs to be addressed from the perspective of the whole ball and wax. The world of failed weight loss programs is a critical indicator that we are not paying attention to ALL forms of stress and balancing the body's chronic cortisol levels adequately.

So when it comes to stopping the stress and weight gain cycle, even if you are doing a really great job in handling your physical stress, exercising lots and then add in a really great meal program that is right for your own body type, you will likely still fail.

Why? Because you have still forgotten to balance the cortisol being generated from the emotional stress in life, hence we see the cycle of stress and weight gain repeat.

Tips for stopping the stress and weight gain cycle?

As I have mentioned, there is more to losing weight than changing your diet and joining a gym.

Below are a list of common questions that I discuss with my clients in my role as a weight losss coach. Read through the list and see how many you are answering yes to...if you are answering no to too many questions, you know that you need to look deeper at balancing various aspects of your life in order to reduce your stress and cortisol levels and sustain a healthy body weight.

  1. Physical Stress:

    • Are you exercising enough?
    • Are you choosing appropriate exercises for your metabolic body type?
    • Are you stretching enough?
    • Are you paying attention to your posture?
    • Do you have an ergonomic computer work station?
    • Do you have a good quality mattress and pillow to support you during sleep?
    • Do you have a healing hands practitioner available to you to help keep your physical and energetic structure balanced?

  2. Chemical Stress:

    • Are you eating whole and nutritious foods?
    • Are you eating organic foods where possible?
    • Are you getting enough raw food in your diet?
    • Are you reducing sugar toxicity?
    • Have you eliminated all common food allergies?
    • Have you considered the acid base balance in your diet?
    • Are you including a good multivitamin and other appropriate supplements into your diet?
    • Are you getting adequate sleep?
    • Are you drinking enough water? and is your water alkaline for proper absorption and detoxification?
    • Are you dealing with the other organ conditions that have arisen as a result of being overweight such as adrenal disorder, thyroid conditions, lymphatic congestion?

  3. Emotional Stress:

    • Are you living on purpose?
    • Are you an effective goal setter?
    • Do you have a regular spiritual or meditation practice?
    • Do you have a regular relaxation routine?
    • Do you practice regular deep breathing exercises or other yoga breathing exercises?
    • Are you aware of your mind body connection?
    • Are you aware of your emotional guidance system?
    • Have you eliminated all toxic relationships in your life?
    • Do you experience happiness at work?
    • Are you able to adopt an attitude of gratitude?
    • Do you understand the principles of the universal laws of attraction?
    • Are you manifesting wealth and prosperity in your life?
    • Are you able to accept change?
    • Are you in the process of keeping a journal regularly?
    • Do you have any personal demons that need to be addressed?
    • Do you have the tools available for understanding how to be positive?


I know that this seems like a lot when you are trying to loose weight, but remember that Rome was not built in a day. You can start with the basics and build from there to create a sustainable weight loss program and stop the stress and weight gain cycle once and for all!

Please contact me if you would like any coaching assistance, it would be a pleasure to work with you on your journey to wellness.

Yours in Wellness,

Dr. Lisa

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