Effect of 2 weeks of high stress & anxiety on my weight loss
I often don’t write a blog post when I’m in the middle of a diet. That’s because I know what I’m doing now. And it seems boring just to write about how many calories I’m eating, how many steps I’m taking and how my weight is gradually reducing. Same old, same old. But something’s different this time. I allowed myself, as I often do, to put on about half a stone ( this time it was 10lbs, a bit more than usual). Anyway, I started my diet four weeks ago and all was going as I’ve come to expect. I was losing about 1-2lbs a week, eating around 1250-1500 calories a day (I wasn’t in a hurry). Then, 2 weeks ago I experienced a particularly stressful situation at work which is still ongoing and everything changed. In the last two weeks, instead of losing 3lbs, I’ve gained a pound! Hence this article on how stress stopped me losing weight.
Stress produces cortisol and that helps you lose weight doesn’t it?
Supposedly, but that’s not what’s happened to me.
Did I just over eat due to the stress?
No. My willpower is pretty strong and I haven’t found sticking to my usual diet hard. I’ve kept eating the same amount of calories I usually would on my diet and even managed to walk at least 10,000 steps a day despite my anxiety.
So how is stress making me gain weight?
I’ve been searching the internet for how stress stopped me losing weight, stress and weight gain or anxiety and weight loss plateaus etc and most of what I could find tells you that you put on weight because you over eat due to increased sugar cravings. But that’s not what’s happening to me.
I have noticed that my resting heart rate has gone through the roof! It’s usually between 58 and 62bpm (though it has been lower). During these last two weeks, it jumped to 74bpm and today it’s at 72bpm. Yesterday I went for a walk at lunchtime (as I often do), and whereas my heart rate would usually be between 110 and 120bpm, it spiked at 175bpm!
So something is definitely going on in my body as a result of the stress and anxiety.
Can stress and anxiety cause a diet to fail even if you stick to it rigidly?
And am I gaining fat or water weight? Will I experience a weight loss whoosh once the stress and anxiety are reduced? All these questions are rushing round my brain amid the Cortisol.
Could Cortisol be stopping me losing weight?
Cortisol is meant to regulate a wide range of processes throughout the body, including metabolism. So you would think, if anything, it would help me to have more cortisol when I’m trying to lose weight. Although, I have found a very intersting article that shows how too much cortisol can lead to a slower metabolism.
It concludes, that whilst stress is notorious for causing comfort-food cravings and depleting your willpower, it can also do a whole lot of metabolic damage even if you never cave in to the sugar demons. It goes on to say that stress wreaks metabolic havoc by reducing the total number of calories that you burn in a day, impairing blood sugar control, and affecting insulin, testosterone, and thyroid hormones.
If that is the case, then I either need to reduce my calorie intake further whilst I’m in this high stress period, or increase my exercise.
How stress stopped me losing weight – and did it last.
Watch this space. I’m going to update what happens next as it occurs! In the meantime any comments or tips are welcome.