Curious how stress can impact weight management?

Author: Calgary Weight Management Centre |

You’ve most likely heard the connection between stress the body resisting weight loss. Ever wonder why this phenomenon happens? The connection is linked with the body’s production of cortisol. Stress causes the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, to rise in your body1. Eating causes cortisol levels to drop, which is why we tend to eat when we are stressed1. Unfortunately, this can interfere with successful weight management. With the holiday’s right around the corner, it’s a good idea to start planning strategies to cope with this stressful time of year. The good news is that there are many ways to cope with stress and reduce cortisol levels. Some of these include laughter2, music3, moderate exercise4, sleep5, and meditation6. This year, make a point to increase your sleep if you are not reaching the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Compliment this with surrounding yourself with loved ones and music, get regular exercise, and maybe try some meditation. Combining these healthy stress-reducing strategies with continued regular, balanced meals and snacks will help to curb emotional eating, allow your body to maintain or reach its healthiest weight, and allow you to enjoy the holiday season even more.

Written by Samantha Reid, Dietetic Intern - University of Alberta


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  3. Beaulieu-Boire G, Bourque S, Chagnon F, Chouinard L, Gallo-Payet N, Lesur O. Music and biological stress dampening in mechanically-ventilated patients at the intensive care unit ward- a prospective interventional randomized crossover trial. J Crit Care. 2013; 28(4): 442-50.
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  5. Song HT, Sun XY, Yang TS, Shang LY, Yang JL, & Bai J. Effects of sleep deprivation on serum cortisol level and mental health in servicemen. Int J Psychophysiol. 2015; 96(3): 169-75.
  6. Fan Y, Tang YY, & Posner MI. Cortisol level modulated by integrative meditation in a dose-dependent fashion. Stress Health. 2014; 30(1): 65-70.



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