This post contains affiliate links to teach you how to stop cortisol weight gain and break the stress weight cycle.
Putting on weight can be a problem that sneaks up on you. One day you are fine, and then the next month, you glance at the reflection staring back at you in the mirror and hardly recognize yourself. Sometimes it comes on even faster. If you are like me, you panic. Understanding how to stop cortisol weight gain and start reversing the situation may initially seem like a “mission impossible”.
Fortunately, there are many solutions you can use to lose weight. However, the most important thing you can do is get to the root of why it happened in the first place. Knowing this will help you prevent future weight gains. But even more important, it will help you eliminate bad habits and help you lose the pounds you packed on.
There are five common reasons most women (and men) gain weight. Try to identify and understand whether these issues affect you personally. Once you do that, you’ll understand how to stop weight gain. You’ll be able to tailor a plan that helps you halt weight gain, and regain your health and fitness.
How To Stop Cortisol Weight Gain Tip #1 – Manage Chronic Stress and Comfort Eating
Stress is at an all-time high right now. But let’s be honest – it’s an issue that has caused people to gain weight for decades, and probably always will. People have different ways of coping with stress – both short term and chronic types.
Some have other bad habits, like smoking, drinking or doing drugs. Eating comfort food is something that many people were raised to do in times of chaos. Even in childhood, moms and dads will often give their children something yummy to help them get over a bad day or stop crying.
It’s a coping mechanism that’s ingrained from a very early age, and carries over into adulthood. Even if it wasn’t something you learned in your youth, it might still be something you learned later. Perhaps you got into the habit of simply allowing yourself to experience those feel good endorphins with a pint of ice cream after a particularly harrowing day.
There are cartoons and even TV shows made about people stress eating. You’ve seen them. Where people grab something that’s not good for them and eat it in large quantities to cope with their stress.
It’s Time To Break The Stress Cycle
Are you’re in a situation where stress is taking its toll on you? If yes, you want to recognize the situation and replace comfort eating with a better coping skill. One that delivers the same benefits, only healthier.
For example, you might engage in journaling or deep breathing. Or you might sit down with a coloring book for adults and alleviate your stress that way. You might even have to wean yourself off the habit of comfort eating.
To do this, you might allow yourself to indulge in something that gives you stress relief, but in a smaller portion. Instead of an entire pint of ice cream, have the food – but maybe only ½ a cup to one cup, max. That’s how to stop weight gain!
How To Stop Cortisol Weight Gain Tip #2 – Manage Time Stress, Your Hectic Schedule & Convenience Foods
People often gain weight due to their hectic schedule. When time is in short supply, or you’re exhausted from a long day’s work, you want something FAST. That makes it easy to turn to convenience foods that offer a quick solution to meal time.
Unfortunately, convenience foods usually aren’t that healthy. You can order fast food that’s healthier than other options. A grilled chicken salad, for example. Unfortunately, most people tend to buy the high calorie foods like burgers or pizza.
Sometimes, there’s not even a lot of time to eat a full meal. Solution? You simply run to the vending machine and grab one or two high fat, high calorie snacks. That’s the “fuel” you use to push you through the remainder of your day.
Yes, there are times you will feel tired and exhausted. You won’t always have the time or energy to stop and prepare a healthy, nutritious meal. That’s when convenience food can fill that void. You just have to be prepared to make better choices. That’s how to stop weight gain!
Where do you start ?
Start by checking out the menus of your favorite fast food or take-our restaurants. Familiarize yourself with the choices. Look up the nutrition information for each meal you’re considering.
Sometimes, something may sound healthy, but the actual nutrition facts prove otherwise. Another thing you can do is know how to special order a meal that caters to your nutritional needs.
Maybe that means ordering it with a sauce on the side. Or, maybe you need to substitute mashed potatoes with grilled vegetables. Chefs are generally fine tailoring the order to your specifications if you just ask.
Do the same for vending machine options or gas station snacks you might pick up on the go. If you want to really benefit your waist, focus on home-prepared foods that become convenient when you need them.
Meal Prepping Is A Great Option Too
Many people meal prep one day a week for one or more meals. You can have all three meals and snacks ready to go for you and your family. That way, you won’t have to think about it for the rest of the week.
You can order meal prep containers in bulk and fill them with healthy foods. That way, you can just grab them from the fridge and put in the microwave in an instant. You can carry them to work, or put them in your kids’ backpacks for nutritious school lunches.
When you prepare ahead of time, your schedule and lack of energy won’t be an issue. Don’t allow yourself to use it as an excuse to keep packing on the pounds or not lose the ones you’ve already gained.
How To Stop Cortisol Weight Gain Tip #3 – Manage Your Metabolism & the Psychosocial Stress of Aging
As we age, our metabolism slows down. Your metabolism is what helps you burn the calories you consume. This is what gives you the energy to get through each day. Some resign themselves to the process of putting on a few pounds as they age. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be something you accept.
There are ways you can prevent or reverse the slowing down of your metabolism. There are ways to start shedding some of the weight you’ve put on. You may not realize how easy it is to put on a single pound each week.
If you have one extra soft drink and a candy bar, that could easily add 500 calories each day to your diet. That quickly adds up to 3,500 calories a week. Guess what? That’s exactly what it takes to equal one pound of weight gain.
Combine this with the fact that, as you age, you begin losing fat burning muscle mass. Easier to gain and harder to burn – that’s a recipe for disaster for your body. YES… as you get older, not only is it easier to gain weight without realizing it, but it’s harder to take off, too!
What can you do?
There are ways you can combat a falling metabolism. First of all, stay active! As people age, they typically end up becoming less and less active over time. When you get up and move, it revs up your metabolism so you burn more fat, faster.
Find things you love to do. Even things like gardening can increase your activity. Take strolls in places that give you pleasure, like the park or even your local zoo. Make plans to socialize with friends and do something active, and not sedentary.
Even if you get up each day and burn calories by cleaning house, that’s considered an effective way to improve your metabolism. Make a house cleaning schedule for yourself to get up and do the laundry. Add washing dishes, cleaning the windows and vacuum the floors.
You might also want to start weight lifting with small weights to help you build muscle mass. If you don’t know how to work with weights, approach a fitness trainer at a gym. There are also great youtube videos to get some help learning how to do strength training effectively.
Make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep, too. A lack of sleep, which is a common problem as we age, can mess up your metabolism, too. Practice good sleep hygiene to help ensure you’re getting plenty of rest.
You may need to use calming stress relief products to help you restart your sleep schedule. If you’ve allowed it to get off track over the months and years, now is the time to fix it. Aim for a solid 8 hours, or even longer if possible. But try to avoid running on fumes with less than 6 hours if you want to improve your metabolism.
How To Stop Cortisol Weight Gain Tip #4 – Maximize Your Knowledge about Stress & Nutrition
Believe it or not, there are many people who gain weight simply because they don’t understand what proper nutrition is all about. They don’t fully understand how nutrition t impacts their weight and stress levels. This is nothing to be ashamed of. It can be complicated deciphering all of the nutrition labeling and navigating the constantly-changing news about what’s good for you versus what’s not.
You can take a topic like carbohydrates and you’ll find a dedicated field of experts who swear you’re better off without them, and another team of experts who say they’re required for a healthy body.
The best thing you can do to reverse weight gain and prevent more of it is get a good understanding of basic nutrition. That starts with learning what each word means – such as carbs, protein, sugar, etc.
Once you know the vocabulary, study what each one does for the body or how it affects it. You want to know things about how protein helps build muscle and carbs give you energy.
Make your own decision about who’s right or wrong based on everything you learn. Once you have the basics in place, learn how to read a food nutrition label. This will come in handy if you’re pursuing a certain diet plan, such as keto, where your net carb calculations have to be exact.
Try to stay on top of the news to see what experts are saying about the foods you choose to consume. You can improve your food IQ just by learning to read between the lines when it comes to what’s true and what’s false in food news.
Learn what you body needs to fight stress and burn fat
Find out what your body needs to work properly in an effort to fight off stress and burn fat for you. Once you know how many calories you need, how much fat, carbs and protein, you can tailor a plan that works perfectly for you.
Pay close attention to how many servings are in an item. Many times, we’ve been conditioned to consume an entire product that appears to be enough for one serving. But on closer inspection, you’ll find that it’s actually 2-4 servings.
This might happen with a soft drink or box of candy, for example. You may think you’re only have a small indulgence, when the reality is, it’s enough to share with your entire family.
Getting your nutritional education will be an ongoing process, but it will help open your eyes to the true effect of how your food choices are contributing to the overall health and fitness of your body.
How To Stop Cortisol Weight Gain Tip #5 – Minimize Stress Snacking & Mindless Eating
For many people who gain weight, it actually comes as quite a shock. They look back on what they’ve eaten and they can’t imagine how they could have possibly consumed enough calories to pack on the pounds.
Mindlessly eating is big problem for some people. Sometimes, they’ll have snacks within reach that they grab and put into their mouth without being conscious of what they’re doing.
It can be an ingrained habit where you just munch on snacks all throughout the day. It starts out with a handful of trail mix here, a bite or two of something else there – and before they know it, they’ve tacked on an additional 1,000 calories throughout the day!
To resolve this problem, make sure you don’t keep food within reach when you’re watching TV or working. You want all meals that you consume to be purposeful and you want to have great awareness when you do it.
If you prepare a plate of food for yourself, make sure you don’t leave it sitting in front of you once you’ve realized you’re no longer hungry. If you stop eating, but the plate is there, you might pick at it and eat a little more without thinking about it.
Get up and throw any leftovers in the trash or put them away in the fridge to eat at another meal time. Step away from the table, which is where all mealtimes should take place.
It’s not a good idea to eat in front of the TV or while doing other tasks. Try not to even multitask when you’re eating at the table, either. You want all of your focus to be on the food that you’re eating, so you don’t consume more calories than necessary. That’s how to stop weight gain from sneaking up on you!
Are you ready to break the stress & weight gain cycle?
Learning how to stop weight gain is definitely something you can do! Gaining weight is nothing you can’t overcome. It’s a temporary situation, not a life sentence. There are many ways to defeat this problematic situation if you simply analyze what’s causing it and then make a strategic plan to change things.
There are other issues that may result in weight gain. For example, some health conditions or medications can contribute to added weight on your frame. So make sure that it’s nothing more serious.
In the end, learning how to stop weight gain comes down to this. Eliminate habits that contribute to weight gain! When you do that you’ll feel more energetic, look better, and be protecting your health for years to come.