Why Anxiety Can Gain Weight
Anxiety can put on weight because it causes changes in hormone production, lowers the motivation to have a healthy lifestyle and causes bouts of binge eating, in which the individual ends up eating large quantities of food in an attempt to improve mood and reduce anxiety.
Thus, it is important to identify the presence of anxiety in order to be able to start treatment and allow weight loss. Here are the top 3 changes that anxiety causes in the body and what to do to treat it.
1. Anxiety Causes Hormonal Changes
Anxiety causes an increase in the production of the hormone cortisol, which is also known as the stress hormone, and has the effect of stimulating the production of fat in the body.
This is because, in stress situations, the body tends to produce more energy reserves in the form of fat so that the body has a good caloric reserve that can be used in cases of food crisis or times of struggle.
What to Do:
To reduce anxiety, one can use simple strategies such as walking outdoors daily and doing relaxation activities, such as practicing yoga and meditation. Having a good night’s sleep and practicing physical activity regularly also help to relieve stress and reduce the production of excess cortisol from the body.
However, it is important to remember that some cases of anxiety need medical and psychological monitoring for your treatment, and may also require the use of medications.
2. Anxiety Causes Eating Compulsion
Anxiety causes moments of binge eating, with increased consumption especially of sweets, breads, pasta and other foods sources of simple carbohydrates and sugar.This naturally causes a great increase in the consumption of calories, leading to the weight gain and difficulty to lose weight.
These moments of compulsion happen because sweet or carbohydrate foods stimulate the production of serotonin, a hormone that creates a sense of well-being in the body, momentarily relieving obesity.
What to Do:
To control bouts of binge eating, you should have a balanced diet and eat at 3 or 4 hours as this reduces hunger and helps to decrease the urge to eat. In addition, having a follow-up with a nutritionist helps you choose foods that improve mood and decrease the urge to eat sweets.
3. Anxiety Lowers Motivation
Anxiety also lowers an individual’s motivation to pursue a healthy lifestyle, causing them to not have the courage to engage in physical activity and eat well. This happens mainly due to excess cortisol, stress hormone, which also leaves a feeling of body tired.
What to Do:
To have more motivation, one can use strategies such as going to practice physical activity outdoors or with a friend to have company, participating in groups in social networks that are formed by people who are also undergoing the process of weight loss and asking friends and family members to also try to have a healthy routine for encouragement.
Regularly consuming foods rich in omega-3s such as sardines, salmon, tuna and nuts, and tryptophan-rich foods such as banana, oats and brown rice also help to improve mood and keep motivation high. Establishing real weight loss goals along with the dietitian also helps to maintain a healthy rhythm of weight loss and reduce the personal charge to lose weight quickly.