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Can stress stall your diet or workout plans?

08 July 2022

Stress on its own can be really hard but when you pile on the stress of your job, your day-to-day activities, and your need to add some exercise to your day, it can be too hard to handle sometimes. All of this stress will not only affect your need to work out, but it can affect your appetite, and your sleeping habits and over a period of time cause health problems that can even cause you to have issues later in life.

From the American Psychological Association, stress can be quite harmful. They state: “In the United States, the majority of adults are overweight or obese, increasing their risk for Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Obesity is a major contributor to preventive death in the U.S. and can raise morbidity risks associated with chronic diseases, such as hypertension, stroke, respiratory problems, and various cancers.

Research also shows connections between stress and food. People tend to seek high-calorie, high-fat foods during periods of stress, though in fact, when people are stressed, their bodies store more fat than when they are relaxed. While many factors contribute to the nation’s weight challenges, the Stress in America survey suggests that stress influences our eating habits.

feeling sluggish

Many adults report engaging in unhealthy eating behaviors as a result of stress and say that these behaviors can lead to undesirable consequences, such as feeling sluggish or lazy and feeling bad about their bodies. Thirty-eight percent of adults say they have overeaten or eaten unhealthy foods in the past month because of stress. Half of these adults (49 percent) report engaging in these behaviors weekly or more.

Thirty-three percent of adults who report overeating or eating unhealthy foods because of stress say they do so because it helps distract them from stress. Twenty-seven percent of adults say they eat to manage stress and 34 percent of those who report overeating or eating unhealthy foods because of stress say this behavior is a habit. In the past month, 30 percent of adults report skipping a meal due to stress. Forty-one percent of adults who report skipping a meal due to stress report doing it weekly or more. The majority of adults (67 percent) who report skipping meals due to stress attribute it to a lack of appetite. Twenty-six percent say they skipped a meal because they did not have time to eat.

After having overeaten or eaten unhealthy foods, half of the adults (49 percent) report feeling disappointed in themselves, 46 percent report feeling bad about their bodies, and more than one-third (36 percent) say they feel sluggish or lazy. After skipping meals due to stress, 24 percent say they feel sluggish or lazy and 22 percent report being irritable.

breathing exercises

With that knowledge, it may make you re-think how to balance your stress in a way that no longer causes the risk of potential health issues. You may want to take a step back and re-evaluate how you process your stress in a way that doesn’t build up in a negative way over time. Some of the best ways to do that are by doing research on stress-relieving tactics that are so simple you can do them on your breaks at work.

Something as simple as relaxing breathing exercises, listening to relaxing sounds, or even trying some light meditation can be a fantastic way for you to lower your stress and prevent you from stalling your diet or workout. Both diet and working out are important to our health. Maintaining a good balance with them both will also be a great way you can combat stress caused by work, or even mental health issues that may occur.

Doing something as simple as packing a healthy lunch, avoiding work snacks, and even going on a short walk outside can be a way to lower your work stress. You want to do this as much as you can, but don’t force it as that itself can even cause you to stress, which is something we want to avoid as much as possible. Not taking a stalk in your stress can cause you to even overeat as a way to cope with your stress. Avoiding overeating at all costs should be the main focus for you. Remember, you have the ability to fight for your health. Stay strong and know you got this.