Does Anxiety make you fat? Or a better question might be does the stress related with having chronic anxiety make one gain weight? Well like most things there are at least two schools of thought on the issue and I agree with both.
When researching anything I always suggest looking for various viewpoints. If you go in looking for an answer chances are you’ll find something to reinforce what you thought was the right answer.
Well after looking for two viewpoints on this issue I found them; so let’s review them a little. On the one hand you have those that believe that stress can in fact cause you to gain weight. Primarily this viewpoint holds that stress and anxiety can increase stress hormones in the body, such as cortisol.
Exactly how the cortisol does this remains unexplained – read more about this here. What does make sense about this viewpoint is that stress can lead to eating “comfort foods” like ice cream, donuts, and well you get the picture. In addition it has been said that excessive stress effects fat storage because stress promotes belly fat. Those are two main points of that view, the opposing view would agree with one big exception.
According to another perspective cortisol does not effect weight at all. Stress does effect weight but not on a hormonal level. What stress does do is alter thought patterns and eating habits. Stress than effects our emotions and makes us tired and run down.
This in turn makes us not want to exercise or be active even on a minimal level. That’s not all, we have way too many food options to help us become fat nowadays. Fast food and too much going on makes a good recipe for unhealthy eating and bigger bellies.
Over the past 3 years I have gained 30 pounds and although I know nothing about my stress hormone levels I can say that I am always stressed, short on time, and constantly fatigued. Lately I have been trying to exercise more and eat better but I could improve on both counts.
Of course there are other reasons why we gain weight – genetics and even prescription anti-anxiety drugs come to mind. However the bottom line is that stress can cause weight gain but it’s probably related more to our emotional state and not cortisol. To read more about cortisol and its non effect on your belly click here.
Ultimately we all have a pretty clear notion of what is causing us to gain unwanted weight. Luckily we also have a good idea of what we should do to not gain weight. Exercise, proper diet, relaxation. Very simple but of course hard to do.