Stress and weight gain

Last Updated on July 21, 2021

Some people lose weight when they are stressed. But for most of us, we tend to gain weight easily when we are stressed up, depressed or going through some difficult situation. It is very real- and most people may not believe the emotional connection to stress- but our emotions does influence weight gain.

When we are feeling unhappy, empty, overwhelmed or stress, we tend to overeat or overdrink (sweet drinks) to ‘drown our sorrows’ and try to momentary forget our problems. That, would have constitute a higher intake in calories.

But another factor that is not obvious is the effect that when we retain negative emotions, the body also tend to retain or ‘hold on’ to the excess calories that we consume instead of eliminating them. That is why some may wonder why it’s hard to lose weight- even though they are eating very little and/or exercise a lot.

It’s not how much we eat that influence our weight gain- the attitude and personality also plays a vital role.

Personally, I battle with weight my entire life. As the stress goes up at work and in life, so would my weight go out of control. Even though I was eating more or less the same amount, there is a lot of difference on how my emotional level and with stress. As you have seen in the start of this blog, I actually cut sugar from my diet, and later was more conscious of GI (glycaemic index) in the food that I take. And I worked out like crazy in the gym- in like 3 or 4 times a week. Yet, I find it hard to lose weight.

Then in 2008 I left my corporate job- that time my stress was the max and my weight was out of control. My weight start to drop little by little after that. By 2009 through staying with nature, I understood what it means to let go of situations that I cannot change in life instead of clinging on to ideas, wanting things to happen in a certain way, etc. Suddenly, my weight just drop- just like that.

That time, I actually ate like a bull- eating 4 slices of white bread spread with peanut butter and mayo (the combination is actually delicious), and lunch I take like 3 bowls of rice with lots of dishes. But dinner I eat less. I ate a lot of food for a few months and my weight was in control.

Eventually I came back and got a job– initially things were okay and so was my weight. But as time wore on, so was my stress- and when I find that I was unable to manage it, I was not able to manage the weight either. But after all this, I also realized that it’s not the job- but a lot of it depends on our emotions and how we manage stress. Now, I view my body as a personal thermometer to check if I am managing stress effectively. Because if I am not, the weight gain just obviously show up. If I manage my own emotions well, then I could get away even though I ate a lot (but usually, when we are ok on the inside, we tend to eat more healthy and less oily food so that we don’t feel so sluggish).

Are we able to let go? Do we hold grudges when being sabotaged at work or if someone said unpleasant things about us?  Do we work as if we own the company and unable to delegate…so much that we take on and on till it burns us out?

Because if our personality is like that, then whenever we go, even stress or a paycut job would still stress us up eventually. Even though there is not much trouble, our hearts may go out ‘looking for trouble’ and for drama.

And we would compound the unhappiness even more by forcing ourselves to go to the gym to workout even though we hate it. When the heart is repressed like this, it loses its strength- we become even more miserable, stressed and self-loathing. And if the weight still refuse to go down, we suffer further loss in self confidence. So if people say that ‘we’ll never amount to anything’, we’ll probably believe them because it seems true. From then, everything goes downhill and the weight would shoot uphill.

Inability to lose weight could be our body’s way of telling us that we need to change the way we perceive things and manage our life situation. We need to let go of our holds to our own preconceived notions, be more positive and optimistic and learn to lighten up. When people disappoint us in life, don’t hold grudges on them. Don’t keep planning revenge on things.

Like one of my favourite sayings, when people call us a dog, we need to turn around and check if we have tails. If there is a tail, then they’re right. If not, then they’re wrong. Why are we obsessing on words of others who are wrong. If people are right about us, then learn to develop courage to face up unpleasant aspects about ourselves and learn to overcome it. Only then would our life improve.

Everyday when you open the newspapers or the news channel, you can see disaster and disaster and unfortunate events. Life’s too short to waste on being angry, holding grudges, being a workaholic with no life and forsaking our true priorities in life.

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