Images by Maheen
It’s common to gain weight when you are under pressure, fighting with anxiety and a schedule may give you a panic attack or two. Here’s what happens: Your body starts to assume it uses calories to fight stress, and so it tells you, it’s time for another fat, sugary meal. What your body realises after your 19 inch pizza, is that it actually doesn’t use calories to fight stress, and so the goodies that the pizza comes with stick around, literally, on you, as weigh gain. This is because the levels of our stress hormone, cortisol, get higher, making overeating become your normal eating, preferably with an extra sugar-fuelled dessert. After all, you’ve got such a huge sweet tooth, it’s crazy. Et voila, in a few weeks, you are looking into a mirror and you plus all three chins are looking back. WTF? When did that happen?
Here’s what happened: I gained weight due to stress and anxiety. I started avoiding mirrors and opening my closet. I only wore super loose clothing as I didn’t want to feel my normal clothes squeezing me back out of them. I got saddened and was going towards depression, my own highway to hell.
Here are the stressed person weight gain mistakes I made, so you can avoid them:
- Soz, too stressed/busy to eat. Yes, honey, you are not eating now, but you sure won’t forget to treat yourself after because you skipped a meal. And your treat? It will be junk food, let’s not fool ourselves. Being too busy to eat is a direct ticket to Fatsville. So don’t hop on board with me, and make time for yourself to eat your breakfast, lunch or dinner. Don’t skip.
- I’ll just hoover this meal quickly. Eating quickly and mindlessly can also make us hungry faster. Instead, take your time and eat slowly – I personally started using a small spoon to make myself have smaller spoonfuls thus really savour the flavour and eat mindfully. This will help you feel fuller for longer too. Let’s leave the hoovering to the pros, right Henry?
- Yep, I’ll have that 6th cup of coffee, I’m such a coffee person. It’s true, I love having a black coffee in the morning. But Stressed Me loves coffee at all times. According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, if you are drinking more than 6 six cups a day, you are heightening your chances of weight gain and potential insulin problems. And we know the latter is another way of saying diabetes. Also, I must add, if your coffee of choice is with cream, milk and sugar, you’re increasing your calorie intake without even noticing. These bastards are sneaky like that.
- I def can function on 3 hours of sleep a few days in a row, I did that when I was ten years old all the time, was totally fine. Nope. Those days are gone. Some of us genetically need less sleep, some of us require to sleep for at least for eight solid hours straight. Having the adequate amount of sleep is really important for your body as it is its time to reboot, recover and de-stress. There are many factors why sleep can help prevent weight gain, but I will go ahead and mention the most obvious one: How’s your self-control situation when you are at peace and rested? And how is it when you are knackered?
- Nah, this is totally fine, this is my life right now lolz. Not it’s not. Normalising stress and anxiety is not the way forward, despite to many it is the obvious way to go. I’ve made a decision not to focus on dieting to get my pre-stress fat body back. I decided to focus on de-stressing, which can be the harder route as it may take longer to bounce back.
This is the de-stressing techniques and tricks I am using:
- I stopped having more than one coffee a day.
- I stopped giving in to some of the stress factors, and went for a more serene approach, although this will always be a work in progress for a perfectionist.
- I changed my approach when communicating with people who stressed me out. Before, I’d get nervous and have anxiety as collaborating with them was not optional. Now, I focus on myself instead of them. I focus on the way I conduct myself or communicate rather than how they receive it. I realised that there are some things I can’t control, and getting nervous about them has no point. This means that if someone doesn’t like me or what I stand for, I make them stress about it, not me.
- I started putting my phone on airplane mode without being on an airplane. Living on the edge, right there.
- I started being ok with myself at the weight that I am. I gained weight due to stress. I will now focus on cleaner eating, get back on track, and won’t punish myself for being put in a situation where I’d get panic attacks and stress eat. It happened, but it’s not my fault. The latter sentence is the most important realisation that I am still fighting with myself to accept. But I will accept it and I will be ok.
From my reflection with three extra chins, I will get to two, and to a defined jawline that I once had. I choose this kind of weight loss strategy, where the mind is more powerful than the body. I’ll let you know if it definitely works; in fact, I feel it working already.