Stress and How it Effects Weight Loss

Stress and How it Effects Your Weight Loss Results

Someone breaks into your home and threatens your life.  Your reaction: SURVIVE!

You wake up late, in a rush to get to work, argument with spouse, careless driver in the next lane, work overload, not enough rest, anxiety, fear, death of a loved one, misbehaving child, stagnant weight loss, stress about the way the body looks, stress about the 10 pounds that won’t come off, dissatisfaction with position in life, afraid that you aren’t enough, guilt, etc.  Your reaction: SURVIVE!



Stress, real or imagined, big or small, is a threat to the body and causes reactions.  The reactions are major metabolic changes.   There are several changes going on, however, today we will just talk about the way it affects the results you want to achieve with weight loss.


The fight or flight response is known by everyone….But generally, we think of it in terms of a survival mechanism.  I am going to give you some bad news.  We abuse the natural fight or flight response of the body.  It is suppose to be reserved for catastrophic experiences. However, today’s society is in such a rush and has preconceived notions about how we are “supposed” to look and act that it is continually activated.  And YES…these all produce the same stress chemistry response as fighting for your life.


Ok…so you are probably asking….what is the big deal…adrenaline is raging through my body…it gives me more energy…what could possibly be wrong with that?

Are you ready for the list?

  • Decrease in blood flow to the gut by 4 times
  • 20,000 fold decrease in enzymatic output in the gut
  • Decrease in thyroid and growth hormone production
  • Increase in insulin and cortisol – the fat collecting hormones – signals body to store weight
  • Die off of healthy gut bacteria
  • Excretion of all minerals and water soluble vitamins
  • Decrease metabolism of every function in the body
  • Increase Inflammation – oxidative stress – aging and disease

All in all…the body is fatigued, it won’t burn calories, it excretes necessary minerals (calcium is #1), food is not digested, assimilated, or eliminated, and the body collects and stores fat. (These are the results of chronic low stress levels.) WOW! If your desire is to be healthy, fit and trim….that is NOT going to work in your favor!


If you are running for your life, protecting your family bring on the stress chemistry. BUT the self chosen stress and desire to “heap more on” is aging the body at a rapid pace.


In a nut shell, this is what is happening within your body:


  • Stressor = feeling/emotion i.e. anxiety, anger, fear etc
  • Leads to the activation of the Sympathetic Nervous System
  • This causes Digestion shut DOWN.


      Now your calorie burning capacity is drastically REDUCED! YIKES!


No matter how healthy you eat during this time it will not make a bit of difference.  The body isn’t in a condition to digest, assimilate or eliminate food let alone absorb nutrients from food.


HOWEVER, there is GREAT news!


YOU can turn this around in 60 seconds!


HOW? BREATHE! Breathing helps short cut the physiological stress response.


Once the Para-sympathetic nervous system is activated – the digestive response is in full swing. Here is what to do:


Take 5-10 SLOW DEEP Breaths. Your body will shift into the relaxation response and begin to digest, assimilate and eliminate.


That sounds way too easy, I know…but the body is easy.  By the way…this can be done anytime, anywhere and in only 60 seconds.


I suggest deep breathing EVERY time before you sit down to eat.


Eliminate the negative effects stress and shift the body into the calorie burning mode so you can increase your body’s ability to get you results!


Reference: Mark David, Slow Down Diet and Nourishing Wisdom

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