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Anxiety and Weight Loss: Why your anxiety can make it harder to lose weight

If you're trying to lose weight, you're likely to encounter some obstacles along the way (such as the idea of ​​how to enjoy a regular twist of the desserts). And if you're one of the 40 million Americans struggling with an anxiety disorder – the most common mental illness in the US – your anxiety is likely to be one of those barriers to weight loss.

Let's take a look at this There are some ways in which this could affect your goals – and more importantly, what you need to do to get you back on track and your fear (victory!) and can win your weight loss (win twice!). ) under control.

. 1
Anxiety can interfere with sleep, and bad sleep patterns can make losing weight difficult.

For weight loss, it is imperative to get adequate quality sleep (a study from the University of Chicago has shown that losing sleep can reduce fat loss by as much as 55 percent). However, if you are struggling with fears, catching enough zzzs can be a real challenge.

"Anxiety can cause sleep disorders and leads to increased fatigue, both of which can make you crave unhealthy foods and burn fewer calories Lower your willpower to avoid unhealthy eating," Dr. Sari Chait, a clinical psychologist based in Newton, Massachusetts.

If you do not get enough sleep, your immune system will not only be weakened but also made more difficult Make diet and exercise choices that support your weight loss goals – but sleep deprivation will also completely upset your hunger system. The same study from the University of Chicago found that participants who got less sleep produced more ghrelin (a hormone that sounds like Phoebe Cates should kill in an 80s classic, but it actually causes hunger) as a participant who slept for a full eight hours. 19659003] 2. Anxiety can cause cortisol spikes – which can actually stimulate fat production.

Speaking of hormones: Anxiety is also associated with elevated cortisol levels, which are arguably the # 1 public enemy of the body when trying to lose weight.

"It is believed that cortisol is released when stress or anxiety increases," says Chait. "Some research suggests that increased cortisol levels may increase weight or make weight loss difficult."

When the body's response to "fight or flight" is triggered, as in anxiety, the body begins to produce more cortisol, which can affect the metabolism. Cortisol is a stress hormone that causes the body to release sugar. Basically, your body hears that you are stressed, and you think you need a sugar concentrate to provide energy (such as running away from a tiger, except in this case). In this case, the tiger is a public engagement. "This can cause an increase in appetite and a craving for sweet, fatty and salty foods," says Vanessa Rissetto, RD.

An abundance of cortisol has also been associated with increased belly fat (also known as "visceral fat") that may be resistant to traditional weight loss aspirations such as diet and exercise.



3. Anxiety can make it harder to choose healthy foods.

"People with anxiety have a hard time choosing what to eat, which means they eat more unhealthy food," says Chait. It's also much easier to lose track of what you eat when you're feeling anxious – and distracting food can lead to extra pounds. "Similarly, anxiety can lead to people being distracted, which can lead them to eat aimlessly and pay less attention to what they eat or how much they eat."

. 4 Fear can make it harder to go to the gym.

Exercise can absolutely help you lose weight (in addition to many other health benefits). However, if you feel anxious and overwhelmed, putting on shoes and going to the gym is usually the last thing you want. This is probably the reason why studies show an association between anxiety and less involvement in physical activity. [19659002] "When some people are anxious, they move and exercise less," says Chait. And the less you move, the harder it is for your body to burn (and lose weight) calories. "The metabolism slows down with decreased physical activity."

Apparently, fear and weight loss in the sandbox do not work well together, but enough for the problem. Let's talk about the solution.

Control Your Anxiety (and Track Your Weight Loss)

1. Keep a scare journal by your bed.

If your fear keeps you up at night, try keeping a journal next to your bed. Every time you have a fearful thought or feeling, write it down. Getting your anxiety out of your head and on paper can make it less oppressive or immediate, which can help you release the fear and fall asleep.

2. Try mindfulness meditation.

If you need a secret weapon to fight your fear, meditation is your best bet. Mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness practice focused on the present moment has been shown to reduce anxiety symptoms and reduce body stress reactions (including hormonal and inflammatory responses). And the best part? You can start harvesting the anxiety-reducing benefits after a single session.

To begin mindfulness meditation, you can do it alone or with a guide. To try it alone, sit comfortably and close your eyes. Concentrate on your breath. When thoughts arise (which they will do 100%!), Recognize them and bring your attention back to the breath. Rinse and repeat every time you get distracted by a thought.

You can also use an app to guide you through meditation, which can be a good place to start, especially if the idea of ​​meditation feels a bit intimidating. A good choice is the new App Awaken, which offers a whole range of Buddhist-specific guided meditations that only take two minutes to do away with stress and self-care.

3. Convince yourself to go to the gym (or at least go for a walk.)

If you go to the gym or go out for a workout, you can become so overwhelming feel when you get scared – but it's one of the best things you can do. Exercise helps with weight loss, but it has also been shown to lower the physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety disorders and improve mood and sleep – all of which help with weight loss. It's like a positive feedback loop that makes you feel better mentally and .

If your anxiety makes it hard to exercise regularly, start slowly. Research has shown that a 10-minute walk can be as effective as relieving anxiety, rather than prolonged and more intense workouts. Once your anxiety levels are in check, it's easier to go to the gym and start the exercises that are right for you. Move the needle on the scale.

It is important that you start small and then increase your participation, which leads to less fear and more safety: Short walks can lead to longer walks that can lead to alternating walking / running. and on to a 5K. Set goals for further improvement, but start wherever you are and stick with it. It also helps a lot to let someone know what you are planning – if you talk about it, this helps to solidify a goal.

Deanna deBara is a freelance writer and chance marathoner who lives in Portland, OR. Keep up to date with her running adventures on Instagram @deannadebara.

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