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3 Reasons Why Stress Is Making You Gain Weight

Updated: Jun 16, 2021

For most men, having a little bit of stress is a normal part of life.

Although some types of stress are short term and non threatening, chronic stress can be bad for your weight and health.

In this post I’m going to go over 3 reasons why stress is making you gain weight.

We’ve all dealt with our on fair share of stress. Whether it’s stress from work, home, or relationships, it seems like there’s never a shortage.

Stress can present in many different ways ranging from mild irritation to severe anxiety.

Oddly enough, not all stress is bad and some forms of stress can actually be useful in certain situations.

For instance, If you’re unfortunate enough to be chased by lion, your body will automatically activate what’s known as your fight or flight system. This system is responsible for preparing your body to defend itself, or escape from a life threatening encounter.

During these situations, your body releases hormones like adrenalin, which increases your heart rate, breathing, and prepares your muscles for danger.

In most cases, the fight or flight system shuts off after a stressful event, however, people who suffer from chronic stress are constantly revved up, which can lead to some serious health issues.

So... how does stress affect your weight?

1) Mental fatigue

Being in a constant state of stress wears you out both physically and mentally. Chronic stress not only affect your ability to focus, but can also put you at risk for weight gain.

In order to maintain a healthy weight, regular exercise is a must. When you’re under a lot of stress, it becomes much harder to stay motivated and focused during your workouts.

For most guys, making time to workout is already a challenge, and if you’re under a lot of stress, you’re less likely to exercise.

2) Causes Food Cravings

It’s a well known fact that stress can negatively effect your eating habits. When you’re stressed, a side effect is to crave certain foods. During these moments, chances are that you’re going to reach for a cheeseburger instead of a kale salad.

In most cases, stress related eating involves junk foods that are high in sugars, salt, and fats.

The reason for this is because these foods make your brain release a hormone known as dopamine, which makes you feel good.

Overtime, it’s possible to condition your mind to seek these unhealthy comfort foods during times of stress.

3) Poor sleep

Sleep is an important part of your overall health, and plays an even bigger role in maintaining a healthy weight. While you sleep, your body is carrying out many functions including regulating your hormones.

If you suffer from chronic stress, your sleeping patterns can be disrupted, leading to an imbalance of hormones like cortisol. These hormones regulate your appetite and if out of balance, can lead to increased hunger, food cravings, and unhealthy weight gain.

Now that you know how stress can affect your weight, let’s take a look at some ways to prevent it.

Tip: Exercise

Although stress can demotivate you, getting regular exercise can actually reverse it.

Many studies have shown that regular exercise is one of the best natural methods to reduce stress.

When you exercise, your body releases feel good hormones called endorphins, which will naturally lower your stress levels.

As an added benefit, getting regular exercise will also improve the length and quality of your sleep. For the best results, try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.

Tip: Get Organized

When it comes to stress, our environment plays an important role. It’s very hard to have peace of mind when you’re surrounded by clutter and chaos.

If possible you should try to organize your schedule, work environment, and home. By organizing your life, you’ll naturally reduce your anxiety and stress levels.

Tip: Be more present

One of the easiest ways to reduce stress is by being more present. A lot of times we create our own stress by dwelling on things of the past, or worries about the future.

When you focus on the present moment, your mind will gain clarity which reduces stress.

Techniques such as focused breathing, meditation, and mindfulness are all ways to help you become more present.


Although stress is an unavoidable part of life, it can be managed.

By following these simple tips, you’ll decrease your stress levels, while improving your weight and health.

For more information about becoming the healthiest version of yourself, please subscribe to my monthly newsletter and receive a free download of the: "Ultimate Weight Loss Checklist"

Aaron Henry PA-C

Men's Health Coach

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