Can Stress Make You Gain Weight?

Belly fat success tip with six ways to break the stress cycle.

Numerous studies have shown that excessive stress is associated with weight gain. Dating back to when our ancestors were wearing animal skins and hunting with spears, when the body encountered a fight or flee situation, it released a series of hormones as a response to the situation.

While our fight or flee situation today may be more related mounting credit card bills or something that happened at work, instead of getting attacked by a wounded Wooly Mammoth, the response by the body is the same.

The Body’s Response to Stress

When your body feels stressed, it releases three hormones – adrenalin, corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH) and cortisol designed to give us energy needed to deal with the stressor. In most people, the effect of adrenalin and CRH is a short-term decrease in appetite. Cortisol on the other hand lasts longer and is designed to replenish our bodies with food after the stressor has passed.

The problem of today is that dealing with our stress does not involve physically expending calories, however, the effect of cortisol is the same – eat after the fight or flee. So eating becomes the relief from the stress. While that response worked well for our ancestors, it leads to weight gain for us today.

For many people, the food they turn to are simple carbohydrates (aka sugar). The body’s response to sugar (a sugar high) is to release insulin (and usually more than it needs). Because insulin is the hormone that allows those calories to be stored as fat in our cells, and we have more of it in our bloodstream that we need at the time, too much sugar is stored resulting in low blood sugar (the crash). Our body recognizes that it needs more sugar … and the cycle continues.

While initially this is a behavioral response, it can quickly evolve into a learned response, meaning you consciously turn to food in times of excessive stress. So how do you break the effects of stress?

Do These Six Things to Break the Stress Cycle:

  1. Exercise – Find an exercise that you enjoy doing. Not only will it burn calories, but it will help control your cortisol level.
  2. Eat right – Focus on eating six small meals per day consisting of foods high in fiber, but low in sugar, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats.
  3. Get enough sleep – Sleep deprivation increases cortisol levels.
  4. Relax – Choose an activity that makes you feel relaxed and calm. It will counter the biochemical effects of stress.
  5. Avoid caffeine and alcohol – These can also raise cortisol levels and can keep you from getting enough sleep.
  6. Take multi-vitamins – Stress can deplete essential vitamins, especially the B and C complexes.

While you may not be able to completely control the stressors in your life, you can control how you react to them. Use the information in this article to take control and avoid stress-related weight gain.

You can find more “Belly Fat Success Tips” in our weight loss category found at and while you’re they, be sure to subscribe to our monthly fitness newsletter and be kept up to date on the latest developments in the world of health and fitness.

Weight Loss Water?

Drink plenty of water to help control your weight.

A Quick Education on “Weight Loss Water”

Water is the basic component of all life, and is important for you to achieve your maximum health levels.

Human beings today have at their fingertips a wealth of information, and regarding fitness, health and weight loss, we are probably more informed than at any time in history.

It’s a good time to be alive but you have to pay attention to the new research and developments for living a healthy lifestyle.

But did you know these important statistics about water and the human body?

Important Statistic About Water and You

  • The average adult human body is composed of 60 to 70% water.
  • Your internal water levels help control your body’s temperature.
  • A healthy adult needs 9 cups (women) to 13 cups (men) of water daily.
  • Nearly every food or drink item you put in your body provides water.
  • Blood is 92% water, and human muscles are 75% water.

Water is Important for Life and Weight Loss

It is easy to see that water is incredibly important to human life, and ingesting the right water levels is also extremely important for proper and healthy weight loss. The human body unfortunately can not differentiate very well between hunger and thirst. This is why so many individuals grab a snack or something else to eat, when the body is actually just asking for more water.

Then after eating, the body is still thirsty, so that individual believes he or she is still hungry. They eat more, they gain weight and fat, and their bodies are still unhealthy because they desire more water.

Research and Weight Loss Water

As an associate professor of human nutrition, foods and exercise at Virginia Tech University, Dr. Brenda Davy showed that when her research participants drank two glasses of water from 20 to 30 minutes before each meal, they not only lost weight more quickly initially, but they also lost a greater deal of weight than the test subjects that did not drink water before meals.

In another obesity study linked to water which Doctor Davy had published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, people drinking water just before a meal ate 75 fewer calories each meal on average. If would drink water before just lunch and dinner for one year, this could amount to as many as 14.5 pounds of weight loss!

And since when the human body is only 1% dehydrated it instantly decreases metabolism, weight gain immediately follows.

Get Those Liquids in You One Way or Another

Do not forget, as mentioned above, water is found in basically all foods and liquids that human beings eat and drink. So if you simply cannot stomach the thought of drinking several glasses of water each and every day, incorporate soups, vegetables and low-fat dairy products into your diet. These foods are very high in water content, and they assist water in losing weight because they lower the overall calorie density in your meals. This means that you cut calories, add much needed water, and lose weight all at once.