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Question
Posted by: Shelly | 2009-07-19

Stress and weight loss

What happens to the body when a person is stressed, just day to day stress. I have picked up 5 kg since May this year and cant' t seem to get rid of it. I do go to gym 3 times a week, I battle to drink water in winter and have about 5 cups of coffee a day plus one cup hot chocolate or milo at night. I can' t seem to stay away from bread I have 2 slices low Gi toast in the morn with jam and cheese and for lunch I have another 2 slices with ham and tomato. I seem to crave chocolate aswell or anything sweet, I have had all my yearly blood tests done and everything is fine, but I am getting depressed as none of my clothes fit and I am not going to buy a bigger size. I at 172 tall and weigh 75.5, I need to put an end to this very soon, some days my rings are so tight I can' t remove them. I am 43 and have had a hysterectomy and overaries still function. Even thought of getting something to supress the appetite. I did try weight watches 2 years ago but it is expensive and I have put on all the weight again. Please help.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Shelley
When individuals are exposed to constant stress, they firstly tend to produce excess cortisol which is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. This hormone can cause water retention (possibly why your rings don't fit) and make you weight more even if you have not gained extra fat. Another effect of constant stress can be depression and depression can be associated with pronounced weight gain or loss depending on the individual's reaction. If you think that you are suffering from either of these reactions or both, please consult a clinical psychologist to assist you with coping with the stress and turning this situation around. Eating bread is not going to make you fat, but the things added to bread like margarine, butter, etc will cause weight gain. Your craving for chocolates and sweets could also indicate that you have a deficiency of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is what is called a "neurotransmitter' which lifts the mood, so when people feel down and blue they tend to eat sugar, sweets, chocolate and carbs because carbs increase the serotonin levels in the brain. The best thing is to ensure that you have some low-fat, high-fibre carbs at every meal (rather than cutting down on carbs). You can try an energy-reduced, low-fat, high-fibre diet (click on 'Diet' at the top of this page, 'Weight loss', ‘Balanced diet’ and then on 'Slimming Diet' for a copy of such a diet), and also increase your energy output by doing regular exercise (running, jogging, skipping, cycling, swimming, join a gym or Walk for Life) for 30 min a day. While you are on the ‘Weight loss’ site, read about every aspect of slimming (the dangers of diet pills, slimming aids, psychological aspects of slimming, etc) by surfing on this site. The exercise is important because it also lifts your mood, makes you feel more positive and motivated to stick to your diet.
Best regards
DietDoc

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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