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Your Unexplained Weight Loss Could Be Due to Stress!

Published on: Dec 07, 2022
7 min Read
Can stress cause weight loss
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If you have recently lost a lot of weight, without trying to lose weight, it could also be a side effect of stress.

Weight loss can often be due to a lot of factors, and excessive stress or poor stress management could be one of the reasons why you may have noticed unintentional weight loss. 

In this article, we will take a look at the relationship between stress and weight loss, or even unintentional weight gain, and look at ways to reduce stress.

Can Stress Cause Weight Loss?

Stress, especially the type of stress that goes on over a long period of time, which can also be referred to as chronic stress, can have a direct impact on weight and may lead to unintentional weight loss. 

  • When you are going through stress, it can affect your GI tract, or the gastrointestinal tract, which is responsible for helping in proper digestion. 
  • The GI tract allows the foods and liquids that you have to get digested and absorb the nutrition these foods and liquids have to offer. It then helps the food to pass out through your body in the form of feces or urine.    
  • Stress also affects how your body produces the various stress hormones, and these can have a direct impact on your weight and overall body.
  • When you are under stress, the stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline may get produced more than they should. While these may make you feel active or make you better equipped to work harder, they also have an impact on your appetite and you may not feel as hungry as you otherwise do.
  • When your stress hormones and GI tract do not work the way they should, it could lead to a change or disruption in your digestive system, as well as interrupt your bowel routine. 
  • In some cases, stress could lead to stomach issues such as diarrhea, which could also lead to weightloss over time.

Can Stress Cause Weight Gain?

On the other hand, if you are stressed especially over a longer period of time, it could also make you gain weight.

  • When we are stressed, our bodies often look for other emotional anchors to hold on to, and often this anchor becomes food.
  • During stressful times, or in those periods when we are feeling especially stressed, our body often craves food that is high in carbohydrates and fat.
  • It can also increase our hunger pangs and as a result, we may end up binge eating, or over-snacking, especially in between our regular meal times.

How to Reduce Stress and Tension?

To maintain an overall healthy body weight, it is important that we take care of our stress levels and ease out any tension.

Here are a few ways in which you can reduce your stress levels and feel calmer and more positive in your daily life

1. Breathe in and out

  • One of the quickest and most immediate ways to get rid of stress right at the moment when you are feeling stressed is to take a deep breath in and then release it out of your body.
  • Give yourself a couple of minutes to take part in the healing breathing exercise that can help you get rid of or reduce your levels of stress when you are particularly at a vulnerable moment.
  • Sit or stand straight wherever you are and take a deep breath in. Keep your mouth closed and breathe in through your nose, while making sure you take as deep a breath as you can, and fill up your stomach and body with the breath that you are taking.
  • Now gently expel or throw out this breath through your mouth. Do this gently, while focusing on throwing out all tension and stress from your body along with this breath. Feel your stomach cave in as you release all the air from within.
  • Repeat this exercise a few times till you feel calmer.

2. Create a music playlist to help you relax

  • Music can often be a great therapy to help you de-stress and ease out the tension. 
  • Different types of people react to different types of music especially when they are stressed.
  • Find out what works best for you.
  • When you have the time, create a playlist for yourself that you can listen to when you are stressed.
  • Whether you are able to head out for a walk when you are listening to this playlist, whether you are driving while listening to it, or whether you just want to sit in a quiet space at home and listen to it, create the playlist that works for you.

3. Gently massage your hands

  • Another way that will help you relieve stress in a fast and immediate manner is to give yourself a gentle hand massage.
  • Leave whatever you are doing, or put down whatever you are holding for a minute, or even for a few seconds if you are already in the middle of something.
  • Gently massage the palm of your hands, by applying a bit of pressure and knead your palms with the fingers of the other hand.
  • Try and gently breathe in and out while you are doing so.

4. Spend some time in nature

  • Make it a habit every day to spend at least a few minutes in nature, whenever you can find the time.
  • If you have the time, try and spend more time in the green and outdoors.
  • One of the easiest ways to do so is to have your very own green space at home. 
  • If you have the space, create a small balcony or window garden that you can water and tend to every day.
  • Whenever you get time, sit near this green space and listen to your soothing playlist, read a book, or just stand or sit there and do some breathing exercises.
  • Try and place some indoor plants inside the house if you have the space. Looking at the color green is also known to help reduce stress.
  • If you do not or cannot create a green space at home, walk over to the nearest park and spend some time there.
  • If you need to, drive over to the park and once you have parked your car, take a nice walk in the park, or sit down for some time.
  • If you make this a regular habit, you may also end up making some new friends which could also be a boost.

5. Find an activity that you love doing

  • Depending on what interests you a lot, take up an activity that you can give some time to every day.
  • It could be walking, jogging, dancing in the comfort of your home to your favorite songs, watching a comedy show, meditation, picking up yoga that you can do at home or joining a yoga class, aerobics, some sports that you love to play, reading, writing, photography, teaching, embroidery, cooking, tending to strays, creating your own garden, coloring, drawing and so many more options that are there for you to choose from!
  • Give yourself at least 15 to 20 minutes every day to spend time doing this, and definitely more time if you have the time.

6. A quick stretch

  • You will be surprised at how your body reacts to a quick stretch, especially when you are feeling tense or stressed.
  • Stand up where you are and stretch your body.
  • You should be able to feel the stretch in your back, in your stomach, in your hands, and legs.
  • Of course, you need to be careful that you stretch in such a way that you do not pull a muscle.
  • If you have the space, stretch out your arms high and straight above your head, hold your palms together and stretch out the index fingers high above your head.
  • Now move your arms together to your left side, as you feel a stretch in your back, side, and calf muscles.
  • Come back to the center position and now repeat the same stretch on your right side.
  • If possible, do this a few times. 
  • Smile and feel the tension relaxing.

7. Have something warm to drink

  • Often, when you are stressed, you will find that having something warm to drink can make you feel better.
  • If you are not at home and do not have the chance to make yourself something, just get yourself a cup of hot green tea. 
  • You can go for ginger cinnamon green tea, chamomile tea, jasmine tea, or even ginger lemon tea, as these are especially known for their relaxing effects. 
  • If you are at home, make the tea yourself and soak in the relaxing aroma as you boil the water with these herbs.
  • You can also make yourself a nice warm soup at home, or order one in case you are outside.

8. Talk to someone

  • Many people find it very relaxing to speak to someone they trust about what is causing the stress and tension.
  • You can find someone from your own trusted circle who you can reach out to and talk about what is going on in your mind and what is bothering you.
  • If you do not have someone you can trust completely, or if you absolutely do not want to share your worries and stress with anyone, you can even do it on your own!
  • Just open the voice recorder app on your mobile phone and speak to your phone as if you are talking to a friend or therapist.
  • Speak out your mind completely, without feeling the need to hide anything, especially since you are just recording it and no one will be able to listen to it.
  • Once you are done speaking and are feeling fine, you can delete the recording.
  • You can do this every day and record your stressful feelings as well as your happy and positive thoughts.


We understand that stress is a part of life and cannot be magically eliminated. But it surely can be managed well with the right guidance. This is where we at Fitterfly can help you.

To learn more about Fitterfly’s Weight Loss Program and how it can help you intelligently take control of your weight loss,  speak to one of our counselors by just giving us a missed call at 08069450746, and we will definitely get back to you.

Wish to know more? Sign up for our program.


This blog provides general information for educational and informational purposes only and shouldn't be seen as professional advice.

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- By Fitterfly Health-Team

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