Can Stress Affect My Weight?

Can Stress Affect My Weight?

How does stress relate to gaining weight?
- Erin *

The connection between stress and weight gain isn't complex: When feeling stressed, people turn to food for comfort. To make matters worse, we tend to choose junk food over healthy food when stressed out, which means the calories can add up quickly.

Over time, this caloric imbalance can lead to weight gain and increase the risk of developing weight-related medical problems like high cholesterol and diabetes. Luckily, just knowing this can help you try to make better choices, even when you're stressed.

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 up any excess calories you eat), talking with a friend, or listening to some comforting music to help you reduce anxiety.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: October 2011

*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.

© 1995-2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.





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Related Resources
Web SiteNational Center for 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.
OrganizationAnxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) The ADAA promotes the prevention and cure of anxiety disorders and works to improve the lives of all people who have them.
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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