Stress and Weight Gain: Understanding the Connection and Managing Stress


Did you know you can gain weight from stress? It’s true! Anytime you start to feel stressed out, you begin to crave comfort foods. Those foods are full of carbs. And those carbs tend to be what helps pack on the pounds. Today, I am going share the connection between stress and weight gain. I will also share how you can manage your stress levels to keep the pounds from adding up. Once I am done, you will no longer wonder about the question, “Can stress lead to weight gain?”. You will know exactly how it happens every single time.

Stress and weight gain go hand in hand. Weight management is a mental journey more than physical.

Stress and Weight Gain: Understanding the Connection and Managing Stress

Understanding the Connection Between Stress and Weight Gain

The main connection between stress and weight gain is cortisol. If you haven’t heard of cortisol before, it is a hormone that is released within your body. This hormone is released when you feel stressed.

Cortisol acts similar to adrenalin, as a fight or flight hormone. Once cortisol is released, your metabolism instantly slows down. At the same time, your blood sugar drops, and your insulin levels rise. And that is what makes you crave comfort foods, as well as sugar.

Now you know why you always want French fries, milkshakes, and cake when you get stressed out. I want to point out that those foods have quite a few calories to go along with salt, sugar, and fat. If you don’t want to gain weight from stress, I recommend cutting out those foods. Even when you are craving them.

The Effects of Stress and Weight Gain

I happen to know that if a person is stressed all the time, they will have more problems than simple weight gain. Especially if they stay stressed for days, weeks, or months.

Lots of stress, along with weight gain, can lead to serious health issues that include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke

You will want to learn how to manage your stress levels to avoid weight gain if you don’t want to deal with these health issues.

How to Manage Stress to Avoid Weight Gain

Okay, so I know it is not easy to avoid all those foods you’re craving when you are stressed like I mentioned above. So, how about I tell you how to manage your stress. This way, you won’t want to eat foods you shouldn’t. You won’t be as stressed. And you won’t have the weight gain that comes from stress.

Exercise (surprise)

Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress levels. Regular workouts can allow your body to adapt to how its stress response system works. The result is being able to cope with psychological stressors instead of your body going off-balance.

Exercise will also produce endorphins. These chemicals will automatically elevate your mood, while making you feel relaxed.

Of course, exercise will also help you keep your weight down, because you will be burning calories. Shameless plug: Join our 28 Day Workout Challenge and learn to eat by counting macros and my personal exercise routine in gym or at home. These 28 days will change your life!

If you can’t exercise, head out on a walk. Your body will still produce endorphins and you will feel much better by the time you are done.


Getting a good night’s sleep is important for reducing the stress in your life. I can’t say that you should get a full eight hours of sleep each night. After all, each person is different in the amount of sleep they need. However, you should make sure you are getting the sleep you personally need each night.

If you don’t, you will begin to feel stressed, because you are not sleeping. That stress will then build up in other areas of your life. Learn more about the importance of sleep on your helath.


One of my favorite ways to de-stress is meditation. I choose to meditate every day. This helps me reduce my stress levels, while also increasing my awareness and acceptance.

Simply stopping everything else, and being mindful of the present moment, is relaxing and stress free. Learn more…why meditate?

If you don’t think you can sit and meditate, you have other options. I recommend trying yoga or tai chi to achieve similar results. Both those activities will help you clear your mind.

Create a Support System

Support systems can be beneficial during so many times in life. Your support system should include family and friends who are willing to listen and help. Sometimes, just talking to another person when you are stressed can help you calm down.

Other options I usually share for reducing stress are reading and listening to music. Some people can even reduce their stress levels when watching television. Just keep in mind that doing those three things may not prevent you from snacking on something unhealthy at the same time. After all, a bowl of popcorn or a few chips usually goes hand in hand with activities that have you sitting down.

You may want to dance while listening to music to get your endorphins moving. Listening to an audio book will allow you to move around too.

Oftentimes, people are unaware of the fact that the answer is yes to the question, “Can stress lead to weight gain?”. While you can gain weight from stress, I have shared a few ideas of how to prevent that with you today. I want you to challenge yourself to move around every day and take the steps you need to reduce the stress in your life. That way stress and weight gain won’t be synonymous at any time.

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