Can Stress Affect My Weight?

Can Stress Affect My Weight?

How does stress relate to gaining weight?
- Erin *

For many people, there's a direct connection between stress and weight gain: When they feel stressed, they turn to food for comfort. That's bad enough, but it gets worse: When we're stressed out, we tend to choose junk food over healthy food. So the calories can add up quickly.

Over time, these extra calories can lead to weight gain. Being overweight makes it more likely people will have health problems like high cholesterol and diabetes.

So instead of grabbing the chocolate ice cream the next time you feel anxious or stressed, reach for an apple, a handful of almonds, or a small bowl of light popcorn. Try an alternative stress reliever, like exercising (which will also help burn calories), talking with a friend, or listening to some comforting music to help you reduce anxiety.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: October 2014

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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Related Resources
Web SiteAcademy of Nutrition and Dietetics Offering nutrition information, resources, and access to registered dietitians.
OrganizationAmerican Psychological Association (APA) The APA provides information and education about a variety of mental health issues for people of all ages.
OrganizationAmerican Council on Exercise (ACE) ACE promotes active, healthy lifestyles by setting certification and education standards for fitness instructors and through ongoing public education about the importance of exercise.
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