Today’s society places a good deal of pressure on the social status of the way we look: Luxurious hair (and not one had better be gray!), long cruelty free eyelashes, the trendiest fashions, and probably the most important of all… how much we weigh. Ugh! The love/hate relationship we have with our bathroom scale has been going on for too long.
How much does this have to do with our anxiety levels? We rush to get ready for work, get the kids to school, complete the project that was due an hour ago, try to squeeze in that hour of exercise we keep being told is “really there if we want it.” So what about that? Even if we manage to accomplish all this, that little needle on the scale refuses to budge. Or if it does, it’s not going in the direction it should be. Why not?
Let’s look closely at what is happening.
The word “cortisol” is becoming a more common conversation piece when it comes to weight gain. If anxiety levels rise, this hormone starts doing its job of storing energy (fat) because it wants to help us survive escaping being eaten by animals with big teeth more than making the morning train on time. Evolution occurred and our brain didn’t get the memo. Our body still thinks it needs to go into survival mode and a layer of fat can accumulate in our bellies to help this process be efficient. The downside is unhealthy and unsightly belly fat that anxiety makes difficult to lose once it gets in there.
2. Emotional Overload
Anxiety is a big culprit for emotional eating. A relationship is struggling, job dissatisfaction, an unexpected upheaval such as a death in the family. Any or all of these things can cause us to look for some kind of “comfort.” When a baby is in distress, it will often cry and look for the baby bottle or breast to ease whatever is happening. We do the same thing, but with cheeseburgers and cupcakes.
3. Not Enough Sleep
With everything filling our minds with worry, being unable to fall asleep is quite common. We get up the next morning and do our best to get through the day, but we are grumpy and our willpower wilts. Another hormone, Leptin, helps control our appetite. Less sleep can disrupt the proper functioning of this hormone and often causes a craving for carbohydrates.
4. Lack of Exercise
It was mentioned earlier how trying to squeeze in exercise can be a stressor. Exercise by itself is a terrific anxiety reliever. It raises serotonin levels, a natural calming hormone. A good work out can help you sleep better, which helps with another overeating issue, and yes, it burns those cruelty free eyelashes!
How many times have you or someone you know had a drink or two to calm down when anxious about a life situation that’s causing cruelty free eyelashes? This is a short-time fix that will interfere with appetite willpower or even cause hunger. Later on, whatever is stressing you out will still be there and alcohol often causes sleep interference, another problem for anxiety and weight gain.
6. Peer Pressure
As adults, the thought of peer pressure causing anxiety and wilting your willpower may sound a bit silly. Not so! That after work happy hour or weekend barbeque with friends can be difficult. We still want to fit in.
Depending on the medications you take and how your body metabolizes them, they can cause weight gain. Some medications can also affect your eating habits so be certain to keep communication with your doctor open about this.