Stress Weight Gain: Damn You Cortisol

stress weight gain

Stress Weight Gain… it’s been one Hell of a day

You barely got the kids to school, you got a workload a mile high, you have to get kid #1 to a recital practice by 7 pm, swing by and pick up some groceries, take the dog for a walk, get supper ready, do the laundry, help both kids with their homework, and TRY to catch the season finale of NCIS – what a day! It’s no wonder why you are stressed!

Stress Weight Gain: What Stress Can Do

Stress can do some crappy things to us. Ever wonder why you are always craving fatty, salty foods when you are stressed?

These comfort foods soothe our tension by causing the brain to release stimulating hormones to make us feel slightly better – so this can become a habit and a constant go-to when we are stressed!

Likewise, your adrenal glands are releasing cortisol. This stress hormone is released to help you get through these times of stress – thanks to evolution – and can actually help pack on the pounds. In layman’s terms, when you are constantly under stress, cortisol is released to help your body make it through this stressful time.

The crappy part is that it can actually cause an uptake of fat around your midsection – aka it can pack on pounds to your belly!

You may be eating and exercising correctly but if you are constantly stressed, this physiological reaction can negate your effort!

6 Ways to Stop Stress Weight Gain

Stress weight gain1. Think about what you eat and why

Right before you cram that doughnut down think about exactly what you are eating, why you are eating it, and the goals you are trying to reach. Take 10 seconds to think it through and you will be more likely to pass it up!

2. Drop the strict diets

These types of diets put our body under constant stress because it isn’t getting the proper nutrition it needs. This causes cortisol to be released and induces fat uptake. So the whole time you are severely limiting your calories to lose weight you are actually stressing your body out so much that it won’t occur.

3. Take 5

When everything seems to be piling on you, simply step out of the office and take 5 minutes for some peace and quiet. This might help you shed some of the stress and calm down. Meditation is also a very effective tool to relieve stress! Hummmmmm – Hummmmmm – Hummmmmm

4. Delegate

You can’t be 100 places at a time – although you try. It’s time to delegate.

You have people in your life that will gladly help you when your plate is full. Ask for this help and it can take some of the weight off your shoulders. Remember: you don’t always have to say yes to every single request!

5. Don’t Forget Sleep

When our lives get hectic we commonly forget to get quality sleep. Sleep is great because it helps us recharge and sort of giving us a break. Don’t overlook sleep when your life gets stressful!

6. Blow Off Some Steam

You’re pissed because nothing went right today – just mad at everything. One great option is to exercise! I know you may not have the freest time but simply doing a high-intensity strength training session for 15-20 minutes can be a great way to relieve stress and burn off some anger!


Life can be stressful but in order to be truly healthy you2h need to start ridding some of it from your life.

Start removing the stress and the cortisol to help you break through your weight loss barriers and avoid stress weight gain!

Bonus tip: Have some fun during your day! As hard as it may sound, smile and be more optimistic – it’s healthy for your heart!

More Stress-Related Articles:

7 Ways To Beat Stress Fat

Weight Loss and Adrenal Stress

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Josh is the founder of DIY Active - your at home fitness source! He enjoys blending the latest science and expert advice with health practices to help you exercise smarter at home!
Josh Anderson
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