The Connection Between Anxiety And Weight Loss
Updated October 08, 2018
Anxiety affects each of us in different ways. When a person is dealing with intense or prolonged anxiety, his or her body will react to those feelings of nervousness, apprehension, fear and dread at varying degrees. When it comes to more prolonged cases of anxiety, it is possible for the anxiety to affect weight loss. Since each person is different and has different bodily reactions to stress, there is no single reason why this is the case. However, there are commonalities that people share that prevent weight loss, cause weight loss, or cause weight gain.
Anxiety and Weight Loss
Your body will react to anxiety in different ways depending on your level of stress and ability to cope with anxious feelings. Anxiety can cause you to do different things that will affect your body weight, like:
- Overeat, or 'stress eat'
- Forget to eat, or skip meals
- Crave junk food, comfort food, or sugary snacks
- Lose motivation to exercise
Anxiety can also affect your metabolism, which is the body's process of breaking down nutrients to create energy. A lower metabolism means less energy is being burned, which turns into fat. Being too overwhelmed with stress will slow down the metabolic process, which will result in weight gain.
What Causes Stress that Prevents Weight Loss?
There are two kinds of stress: immediate stress and prolonged stress. Immediate stress is stress that you feel when you are overwhelmed, surprised, or afraid. Prolonged stress is the stress felt when you have ongoing stressors that affect your emotional, physical, and mental health. Some things that cause prolonged stress include:
- Work, employment, and career stress
- Academic stress
- Stress caused by conflict in personal relationships
- Stress caused by emotional issues related to mental health and chronic illness
- Financial stress
Each of these are examples of prolonged stress, or stress that is not easily resolved within a short amount of time.
How To Manage Prolonged Stress
The frustrating part about prolonged stress is that it is not easily resolved, and you often do not know when it is going to be less intense or when the issues causing the stress will be resolved. Because of this, it is important to learn two things: acceptance for things you cannot control and healthy stress management skills. Common effective stress management skills include:
- Light cardio exercise
- Artistic expression
- Relaxing hobbies
- Maintaining self-care
It can also help to work with professionals who will guide you in learning ways to manage stress and weight-related issues. If you are suffering from anxiety due to prolonged stress and you feel that your weight or physical health is being affected, consider talking to a therapist or nutritionist who will be able to help you address your concerns.