Is My Stress Making Me Fat?

Is My Stress Making Me Fat?

When the body is under stress, it releases a chemical called cortisol. This can turn your over-eating into a habit. Because increased levels of the hormone also cause higher insulin levels (the hormone that regulates blood sugars), your blood sugar drops and you crave sugary, fatty foods.

Why is my fat around my belly though?

When we eat excess calories, the excess calories are stored by the fat cells on the belly. Researcher have also found that chronic stress may pump up the rate in which new fat cells are formed, according to a report published in Cell Metabolism (2018)

My friend lost lots of weight though when she was stressed, so why hasn’t that happened to me?

Stress can cause a number of different reactions in different people. In some, they completely lose their desire to eat, leading to many missed meals

What can I do about it? My life is stressful and I can’t change that?

Breathing stress away

This breathing technique is recommended by NHS choices and is particularly helpful

You can do it standing, sitting or lying - whatever is the most relaxing.

  • Start by breathing in as deeply as you can, through your nose, without forcing it, to a count of five
  • Then, gently exhale, through your mouth, to a count of five
  • Keep breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth - steadily
  • Keep doing this for three to five minutes


It sounds so easy to get enough sleep, but sleep is restorative and helps your body processes better.

Healthy Sleep Tips

  • Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends
  • Practice a relaxing bedtime
  • If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially in the afternoon.
  • Exercise daily- whatever suits you and you enjoy
  • Evaluate your room. Is it set up for sleep? Are there ways to cut out light? Is it quiet?
  • Sleeping on a comfortable mattress and pillows.

You might like to add a magnesium supplement to your night time routine. This mineral is your body’s natural Valium and can assist in getting to sleep, as well as a deeper sleep for longer.

Link to magnesium products

Stress busting techniques

This is different for everyone, and Dr Michael Moseley tested some with the help of Professor Angela Crow, a stress expert from the University of Westminster, and mindfulness came out top

The key finding was you really got a benefit if you enjoyed it, so trying different things and seeing what’s best for you is the key.

3 free Mindfulness Apps worthy of your attention

Two on the list are completely free, the other you have to navigate to the start a 7 day trial

1) Smiling Mind – available for iOS and Android and web.

    Very organised, mostly 5-15 minutes and a few up to 45 minutes. Also has meditations for children and teens

    2)10% Happier—available for iOS and Android

    It’s “meditation for fidgety sceptics”—a relatable, no-nonsense way to learn mindfulness for people whose goals veer more toward sharpening their brains than befriending their souls. Only free for a 7 day free trial.

    3)UCLA Mindful—available for iOS and Android--

    Developed by the Mindful Awareness Research Centre at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the app features about a dozen meditations of different types in English and Spanish. You can learn to focus on your breath, your body, or sounds; work with difficult emotions; and cultivate loving-kindness in sessions ranging from 3 to 19 minutes long.

    If you’re still struggling and need help on getting you started, book in with one of our therapists

    Book an appointment

    Recommended tests

    Adrenal Test Bronze Adrenal Stress Test Silver


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