Stress – The Anti-Weight Loss

Stress is a fact of life, but how we manage it can be the difference between OK and spectacular weight loss results. Stress is a useful tool when managing a dangerous situation. However, chronic stress can wear you down. The results of uncontrolled or excessive stress can cause serious psychological and physical damage. If you are a post-bariatric surgery patient, stress can quickly derail the great progress you may have made to this point.

The drawbacks of a stressed out life are many and include:

  • Increased secretion of cortisol and adrenaline. High levels of cortisol, a hormone that causes us to eat more, among other things, can cause a host of changes in the body. Cortisol can increase blood pressure and interfere with insulin production and reproductive organs. This hormone, while very useful in short bursts, has negative effects if not controlled over the long-term.
  • Stress can also make us feel tired or burned out at the end of the day. Family or work stresses can make it almost impossible to get up and go to the gym. The consequence is obvious – lack of weight loss results or even weigh regain. Stress makes an effective, consistent diet and exercise routine that much harder to maintain.
  • Stresses can also push us into high gear, making us believe that we have no time to eat a proper meal and pushing us toward fast food or other unhealthy, but quick, meals. It can lead us to miss meals, which in turn can causes significant blood sugar spikes throughout the day as well as increased fat retention in some people. Inevitably, after the high of the day, we come crashing down, usually with some unhealthy food in hand.
  • Finally, stress causes many patients to “stress-eat”.  Many patients have learned that eating is pleasurable event and it may even be soothing.  When patients continue to deal with their stress with stress eating, they never learn better ways of dealing with their stress.  Naturally, their weight will also suffer.

It is impractical to think that we can eliminate stress in our lives – it is virtually impossible. However we can control it through a number of stress busting techniques. Positive reinforcement from family and friends as well as bariatric surgery support groups can be very effective. Further, exercise, even light, such as swimming, walking or yoga can melt away the stress very quickly. Some alone time can work wonders too as we take stock in our lives and achievements. Ultimately, controlling stress is the name of the game and we hope you are successful in doing so, for the sake of your continued health and weight loss.