Is Stress Making Us Put on Weight?
Sweat & Glow Sauna
Updated : 18 October, 2021
Have you ever felt like you were doing all the right things to lose weight but you ended up staying the same or even gaining weight? This was likely because of stress and the immediate production of cortisol every time we experience stress. On top of that, stress can often feel like it forces us into unhealthy habits, whether it’s skipping a session at the gym or eating comfort foods. When you’re stressed, you often feel more likely to fall off track with your health and fitness goals. In this article, we’re going to look at the relationship between stress and weight management, and how to create a healthy balance between the two.
Cortisol and Stress: How are They Related?
While you may have heard of cortisol, you may not be familiar with how it relates to weight gain. Cortisol is a hormone that the body releases when it’s stressed. This sneaky little hormone triggers the nervous system into “fight or flight mode” where the body produces adrenaline and cortisol to help us react to the situation and return to safety. It essentially sends the following message to your body:
“You are not safe! Store fat at all costs to ensure survival!”
This may sound silly but in hunter-gather days humans could face days of starvation due to lack of food, causing stress and ultimately revving fat storage for survival. If you are reading this blog from a cellular device or laptop, that's likely not your case, but your nervous system only knows one thing, survival.
Entering fight or flight mode is essentially a zap of energy to the body. After your stress level is normal again, your body craves food that will replenish that energy. Sugar is a fast fix for this and can cause us to often crave sugary foods after a high-stress situation.
That is why meditation, deep-breathing, and calming saunas sessions play a HUGE role in weight loss and keeping cortisol levels low so we can successfully burn fat.
Additionally, your body actually functions differently after experiencing high levels of stress. Cortisol actually has been shown to slow your metabolism down, which can throw off a lot of best laid plans for your fitness journey. In the end, regardless of what you eat when you’re stressed, cortisol will affect how your body processes food and stores the calories. This cycle is what often leads us to gain weight rapidly without understanding the cause.
Other Ways Stress Affects Your Weight
Aside from cortisol, stress can affect your fitness journey in other ways. It's common during times of high stress to overeat or to turn to comfort foods that are high calorie and nutrient light. Additionally, because stress essentially zaps your energy, you often feel like you want to skip the gym after a stressful day at work. All of these factors combined can make it difficult to manage high levels of stress and a healthy routine. We face stress daily but with a few techniques, you can lower your cortisol and stress levels by up to 80%.
The bottom line is you don't want to put any additional stress on your body from the detox. Many detoxers choose to go to low-calorie or even a diet that involves total starvation fasts.
Let’s look closer at two ways to help balance stress in your life and maintain a healthy routine.
Saunas have many benefits and are often noted as therapeutic for those that use them regularly. They are a great healthy supplement to your workouts and can help detox and remove heavy metals from the body. Saunas can help reduce stress and provide a spa-like environment to recover after a stressful week. The heat emitted from infrared saunas soothes your nerve endings and muscles which in turn makes you relaxed and improves your heart function. As a result, it is known to experience feelings of euphoria and elation. A 30-minute session in the sauna can actually burn calories similar to a session at the gym. While it shouldn’t replace your workout routine altogether, it can be a good way to relax and balance stress with a normal exercise routine and healthy diet.
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Meditation is a great way to reduce stress or find ways to cope with everyday stress. Today, there are many apps like headspace and calm to help get you started on a meditation journey. Yoga is another activity that can be combined with meditation to create a stress-relieving session that gives you a light workout.
We all know by now the nutrition is the key to healthy consistent weight loss, right? Studies show that when we are stressed we lean towards eating junk food that is packed with toxins and leads to an unhealthy gut and weight gain. New studies show that stress is just as detrimental to our health as junk food consumption. If we are consuming damaging toxic foods when we are stressed we need to find a way to destress and avoid this. Implementing a consistent nutritious diet as well as implementing ‘destresser’ activities is key to banishing bloating, inflation and overeating toxic foods.
Have you heard of the phrase “runner’s high’’?
This is referring to the aftermath of a high-energy workout. Where your body produces an immense amount of endorphins which leads to feelings of elevation, relaxation, and optimism after a workout! Think of endorphins being your very own homemade natural pain kills.
Sounds a little sexy right? Exercise reduces levels of stress hormones in the body, these are adrenaline and cortisol. Finding the exercise that suits you best can be nerve-racking, if you resonate with this then perhaps try testing a few different exercises. Try testing, yoga, pilates or a bodyweight session. Then add a few sauna sessions a week, you’ll begin to notice the endorphins pumped through your brain!
Conclusion: Detoxing Stress from Your Lifestyle
Stress can affect anyone’s health and fitness routine, even if you seem to be doing everything right (avoiding overeating, comfort foods, etc.). If you’re interested in learning more, click the button below to take a quiz and receive our new Super Glow Detox e-book. It will take you on a detox and weight loss journey with us! The ebook is designed to detox the body of stress and toxins, as well as break down fat cells and elevate your soul.Take The Quick 2 minutes Detox Quiz