Weight management is sometimes incorrectly seen as just an issue relevant to people who aren't satisfied with their physical appearance (they feel they are too fat or, more infrequently, too skinny). Of course, dissatisfaction with personal body image can be a significant factor contributing to a variety of problems, such as low self-esteem, eating disorders and depression, but that's not to say that people who are happy with their body image do not also have weight management concerns. Unhealthy diet and obesity are linked to a variety of health problems such as cardiovascular problems and diabetes, low-quality of life (illness, lack of energy etc.) and increased mortality.
Eating a healthy diet and exercising are known to have the biggest effect on weight loss, but far too many people are unable to stick with such healthy regimes. Often people resort to dieting and lose weight initially but they are unable to maintain this new weight or they just give up. Most people would admit that when they're under stress, healthy eating habits can be difficult to maintain.
Stress and Overeating
Stress is the leading cause of overeating and is the main obstacle to successful weight management. What makes this effect worse is that most people don't overeat on healthy foods when stressed - instead, they go for high sugar and fat containing foods. Research shows women to be more likely than men to increase their food consumption when stressed, particularly the intake of unhealthy snacks.
Chronic minor stressors - those most of us are exposed to on almost daily basis - seem to be the main culprits. For some people weight management itself can be a cause of stress. When our body is under chronic stress, high levels of stress hormone cortisol cause alterations in body cells and tissues. Studies have shown that high levels of cortisol are not only associated with increased appetite, cravings for sugar and weight gain, but that this hormone also relocates the fat stores to our waist making us more likely to develop obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
Unfortunately, pressures at work, family problems, traffic congestions, financial worries etc. are inevitable parts of our lives that we can never eliminate completely. What we can change, however, is how we perceive and respond to such stressors. Fortunately, a number of wellbeing approaches can help with improving our ability to cope with the stressful challenges which have a negative impact on our weight.
Published by Hove StressBusters