It’s true. Constantly being stressed is a reason people gain weight. Stress triggers the secretion of cortisol which stimulates carb and fat metabolism as well as insulin release and maintenance of blood sugar levels which then results in an increase in appetite. Thus, chronic, poorly managed, stress=weight gain.
“Excess cortisol = premature aging and fatigue”
My old routine was this: Get up, skip breakfast, drink diet soda and/or black coffee throughout my day, skip lunch and come home from work famished. Instead of taking the time to cook a healthy meal, I would usually stop at the grocery store and buy a frozen dairy-free pizza and go home. My thought was, “I haven’t eaten all day so technically my body still needs 1600 or so calories today and this pizza is only 720, so that is waaaay less.” After eating, I felt so tired and fatigued that I typically didn’t have the motivation to work out but would usually be hungry again in a couple of hours. Brilliant. Just brilliant. And I wondered why I was gaining weight.
So what did I do differently? I now:
- Eat Breakfast: I learned that I feel so much better when I start my day with breakfast (and it was so much easier to lose weight). However, this did not come easy to me. It took me a while to get into the habit of eating some healthy that included protein right away in the mornings.
- Eat Often: Additionally, it took me a while to figure out that I needed to eat throughout the day, not just breakfast and lunch but every 4 hours or so.
- Eat Protein Any Time I Eat: It doesn’t have to be only protein or a lot of protein just protein and not a ton of carbs. (beef jerky, almonds, other nuts, beans, lean meat, eggs, quinoa)
- Eat a Variety of Healthy Carbs: green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, peas, broccoli and fruits such as blueberries and strawberries.
- Reduce and Eliminate: Reduce and/or eliminate the amount of gluten, soy and corn in my diet. Food made with these products can cause insulin levels to rise, causing fatigue and an increase in appetite (don’t get me started on the inflammatory properties of these foods and GMOs and pesticides, we’d be here all day).
- Slow and Small: Slowing down my eating and eating from small plates.
- Drink plenty of water. Not coffee, not soda, not tea. Water. Lots of water.
It may take a long time for you to implement these changes in your diet, I still struggle every day to drink enough water, but don’t give up! I promise you will feel better eventually but it may take a lot of adjusting. Your body and you deserve to feel full of energy every day!
For more information, read the no-nonsense book, “The Fatigue Solution” by Dr. Eva Cwynar, an endocrinologist. Also, you can take her “Fatigue Solution Quiz” on her website.