By Dr Leah Brennan – Clinical and Health Psychologist Centre for Eating, Weight and Body Image
Stress can have a strange effect on health behaviours, weight, and health. Often intense acute stress can reduce appetite and lead to weight loss in the short-term. However, chronic stress is linked to weight gain and health problems. It can be difficult to maintain healthy behaviours such as planning and preparing healthy meals and snacks and exercising regularly when you are feeling stressed, and this can lead to weight gain. However, stress can also affect weight in other ways. Many people use emotional eating as a way of coping with stress. Often stress leads to difficulties sleeping, and sleep deprivation is associated with weight gain. Stress also has an impact on metabolism via its effects on our central nervous system. All of these things combined can have a significant impact on health and weight.
The following strategies may help to reduce stress
If these stress management techniques don’t seem to be working, or you cannot see an end to your stress, consider seeing a psychologist for some extra strategies and support.