Chances are you’ve been stressed before. Whether it settles in after a long day at work or pops up after a particularly trying argument with a loved one, stress is a fairly common problem. A little bit of stress might not seem like a problem, but as stressors compile and linger it can start to seriously interfere with your quality of life.
Stress needs to be managed regularly through healthy techniques. If left unmanaged stress can lead to weight gain, and may even interfere with your current weight loss goals. This is why managing stress is such a fundamental aspect of most medical weight loss programs.
What is Stress?
Stress is the body’s physical response to external threats. Sometimes it is good, like in the form of excitement. This good stress is called eustress. Other times stress is negative, developing in the form of frustration, anxiety and even depression. This is known as distress.
The more stress there is in your life, the more damage that stress can potentially cause. Stress doesn’t just go away on its own. Instead it festers, resurging sporadically as we are exposed to different triggers, like challenging situations or lingering interpersonal problems. As time goes by, your body may begin to give way to the stress, allowing it to impact countless aspects of your health.
Some common symptoms of stress include:
- Weight Gain
- Chest pain
- Nausea, diarrhea and constipation
- Irritability and mood swings
- Skin rash and acne
- Weakened immune system
Stress isn’t always something you can prevent, but it can be managed. Using healthy strategies to cope with stress as it affects your life can reduce the impact that stress has on you mentally, physically and emotionally.
Healthy coping strategies might include:
- Exercising regularly
- Developing healthy hobbies
- Deep breathing exercises
Unhealthy coping strategies like emotional eating can interfere with the weight loss process. Try to become more aware of the ways that you are coping with stress, and how those coping strategies might impact your medical weight loss program.