Question:

Does stress level affect your weight?

Answer:

High stress levels can contribute to weight gain by increasing levels of cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress. Elevated cortisol level is linked to higher amounts of belly fat, increased appetite and food intake. Stress is also a common trigger for impulsive eating, so managing stress is an important part of controlling your weight.

To prevent weight gain during stress and reduce the risk of obesity, try these stress management techniques to combat stress-related weight gain:

- Recognize the warning signs of stress, such as anxiety, irritability and muscle tension.
- Before eating, ask yourself why you're eating, are you truly hungry or do you feel stressed or anxious?
- Eat a healthy diet, such as whole grains and a variety of fruits and vegetables
- Keep a record of your behavior and eating habits so that you can look for patterns and connections — and then figure out how to overcome them.
- Practice relaxation skills, such as yoga, stretching, massage, deep breathing or meditation.
- Engage in regular physical activity or exercise.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Get encouragement from supportive friends and family.
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