How does stress affect weight gain?
Obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Jennifer Ashton explains how stress affects weight gain. Watch Dr. Jennifer Ashton's video for tips and information on women's health.
Typically, people who are stressed, we reach for foods that are very high in simple carbohydrates
and sugar, sometimes salt. And obviously, all of those things usually are very high in calories
and, again, not good nutrition for your body. [MELLOW MUSIC]
We know that there's definitely a link between stress and weight gain, stress and obesity. Everyone has stress at some point in their lives,
either on a daily basis or intermittent stress. And whether you're talking about short-term, acute stress
or long-term, chronic stress, it definitely takes a toll on your body on a cellular level, on an external level.
Specifically, when you talk about weight gain, there are really two big factors at play. One is that stress can cause us to make impulsive and kind
of suboptimal food choices. So you're more likely to reach for the comfort food of your choice, which may not necessarily
be the one with the most nutritious profile. Typically, people who are stressed,
we reach for foods that are very high in simple carbohydrates and sugar, sometimes salt. And obviously, all of those things
usually are very high in calories and, again, not good nutrition for your body. The other big factor at play when you talk about stress
is that without even knowing it, stress triggers our fight-or-flight hormones. And one of those big ones is cortisol,
which is directly tied to obesity and even slight increases in your body weight.
So the key, of course, is not having any stress, but that's not usually possible for most people
walking on the planet. So absent removing all stress in your life, really what's important is training yourself
to make good choices that are nutritious and relieving that stress, finding out things that work for you, whether it's
meditation or exercise or talking to a friend or dancing. Something that relieves stress is going to be good for you
inside and out. [AUDIO LOGO]
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