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Health & Wellness Articles  ›  Stress Relief

Beat Stress, Weigh Less

The Connection Between Stress and Weight Gain

-- By Jennipher Walters, Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor
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Next, commit to a daily stress-reduction activity. It should not be a major commitment unless you have plenty of time to devote to it (otherwise it'll just stress you more). Make a list of three activities that make you feel better and more like yourself and schedule five to 10 minutes each day to do that activity. Here are some ideas: Once you're into the habit of taking five to 10 minutes out a day for stress reduction, you should already be feeling somewhat better. Now it's time to start focusing on the signs of stress that you may not be paying attention to. Are you anxious or irritable? Are your muscles tight? Is your appetite increased? Are you breathing quickly? Pay attention to these "hidden" signs of stress and how they affect you. Then when you're faced with stress, take a few deep breaths, recognize the stress for what it is, and try to deal with the stressor as calmly and effectively as you can. If you have cravings, remind yourself that your body's hormones are being tricked and this too shall pass. (Many find that drinking water, making a cup of hot tea or chewing on a piece of gum can help pass the time.)

Doing this will not only make you a happier more balanced person, it will also help you to eat healthy and keep your energy levels high for those workouts. And by all means, follow these great tips for beating stress and have more success losing weight sanely!
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About The Author

Jennipher Walters Jennipher Walters
Jenn is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomeGirls.com, FitBottomedMamas.com and FitBottomedEats.com. A certified personal trainer, health coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and is the author of The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet book (Random House, 2014).

See all of Jenn's articles.

Member Comments

  • EX-SKINNY60
    DITTO, GRAYGRANNY! and if stress KILLS then I'm a marked woman there, too! - 7/14/2014 9:26:36 AM
  • There is a large area of stress that wasn't acknowledged in the quiz, for those of us who are caretakers either of an elderly parent or a disabled child or in my case both. Neither of these can be eliminated so although my quiz resulted in at moderate risk for stress, my actual stress level is much higher. - 7/14/2014 8:15:25 AM
  • Good suggestions. - 7/14/2014 5:23:05 AM
  • I am reading this article (and others) while eating my breakfast and watching Lift Every Voice.
    My stress, I believe comes from never feeling like I am good enough for my Mother.

    But.... today, I choose to focus and pleasing GOD and to continue teaching the youth that I can reach out to. - 10/20/2013 10:12:14 AM
  • I really liked this article. Woke up this morning, said my prayers, fixed breakfast for my family and took time to log into Spark, eat and drink my tea.
    Thank you SparkPeople!!! - 9/4/2013 10:27:27 AM
  • Well then, I am screwed!!! - 7/25/2013 2:51:42 PM
  • Exercise is the best stress reliever for me! And I have made good friends at my gym that help each other stay motivated:) - 7/24/2013 11:03:41 AM
  • There is a lot of sound advice in this article, but for me the #1 culprit of unexplained weight gain was CARBOHYDRATES. - 7/24/2013 9:34:03 AM
  • This article is so true. That's how I put on so much weight from stress dealing with family stuff all the time. So now I just go and exercise to stay focus. - 6/29/2013 8:13:05 AM
  • I agree that exercise is a great way to relieve stress. In addition, I have set my phone alarm to remind to sit down, relax, do some breathing techniques as well as meditate. What a Difference!!! - 5/23/2013 1:10:54 PM
  • i have found that exercise is even very helpful in combating stress.
    Keep mind and weight under control. - 10/5/2012 12:08:35 AM
  • UNDERTHEPALMS
    All of this is so true and so necessary to apply. I need to not make taking care of me and eating the right things one more stress as I totally have in the past. - 9/17/2012 6:13:32 PM
  • This is definitely true to my life. I put on so much weight during nursing school it wasn't even funny! On bad days at work we often find ourselves buying bags of mini candy bars for the break room for "stress relief". That doesn't even play into the difficulty losing weight while stressed, just the ease of gaining! - 7/3/2012 4:54:40 PM
  • Stress seems to hold a band over the weight and not only keep it from leaving, but also seems to attract any passing fat and hold onto it tightly. I really don't have any free time to sit back and relax. I try to 'make' the time, but it's just not there. I'm just stretched too thin. Any suggestions are always appreciated.

    Thanks guys!
    Tanya - 5/30/2012 8:19:22 PM
  • I've always known that stress is a bad thing for weight gain (and well, our health in general). When I started my current job, the added hours and additional stress of the new job caused me to balloon 15 lbs in just 3 months. That had never happened to me before. Because my job is so stressful (it doesn't have to be; it's not like I'm an air traffic controller, and yes, I'm looking for a new one), I know how easy it is for me to gain weight at the drop of a hat. When I had that fast weight gain, I hadn't made any other lifestyle changes. I wasn't eating more to "cope" or eating differently. It was just the d*mn stress. - 4/23/2012 12:44:18 PM