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Did I hear correctly???

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Old 11-03-2010, 04:15 PM   #1
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Default Did I hear correctly???

I was watching the biggest loser last night (I have never watched it much because it breaks my heart) I heard Jillian Michaels say something about "stress hormones" keeping you from losing weight. Did I hear that right? Forgive me if this is common knowledge but I did not realize stress can slow or stop your weight loss. Is this true? Does anyone know anything about this... or did I misunderstand what was said?
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Old 11-03-2010, 04:17 PM   #2
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I was actually watching that too and I caught what she said about stress causing difficulty with weight loss. I'd heard something similar before but I don't know how accurate it is.
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Old 11-03-2010, 04:20 PM   #3
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yup, cortisol
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Old 11-03-2010, 04:32 PM   #4
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Having gone through a tremendous amount of stress in the last year while trying to lose weight, I can say without a doubt it hinders weight-loss. I've also done some reading on the subject and stress can cause a whole lot of issues including keeping you from losing weight.

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Old 11-03-2010, 04:40 PM   #5
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but being overweight itself is also a stressor!
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Old 11-03-2010, 04:42 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by matt_H View Post
but being overweight itself is also a stressor!
true dat!

cortisol really can inhibit weight-loss. that being said, when i was in law school, i lost a lot of weight one semester (40 pounds in 3 months) and i was under a tremendous amount of stress at the time...
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Old 11-03-2010, 05:10 PM   #7
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Its not just the emotional, anxiety type stress (related to jobs, family, etc) but PHYSICAL stressers that we cant really see or judge that can contribute to halting weight-loss. Cortisol levels increase when we dont get enough sleep. Cortisol increases when we do intense exercise. Cortisol levels even increase whenever we undereat (aka diet). Just being in a caloric deficit raises cortisol levels in the body, even if you dont FEEL like you are "stressed". This is why, alot of times it is very helpful (and sometimes necessary) to take diet "breaks". This helps to reset the cortisol and leptin and other hormones in your body

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Old 11-03-2010, 06:02 PM   #8
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She is correct.

Our bodies are designed for active stress (tigers and warriors), not passive stress (jobs, family, being overweight, etc). When we experience stress (passive or active), our bodies release stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.

Cortisol and adrenaline are really helpful for active stress.
- cortisol shuts down the parts of your brain you dont need to survive: cognitive function is seriously diminished. Our bodies doesnt want us to think about fighting or fleeing, its better to pick one based on instinct and not analyze!
- adrenaline production increases to enable fight or flee
- they empty your stomach by producing a bunch of stomach acid, not having a gut full of stuff actually helps you flee
- the list goes on, but you get the idea

Now, those stress hormones are ONLY removed from your body thru action (fight or flee). This is why exercise actually helps with stress.

In modern society we all experience massive amounts of passive stress, its fairly new - last 100 years. And our bodies have no idea how to cope with it. The same hormones are released, only:
- in traffic or family or work you need cognitive functions and they arent as sharp
- many stomach issues are related to the ongoing passive stress because of the acid overproduction (it can cause ulcers too)
- we cant actually fight or flee, so the hormones dont go away. they build up in the blood stream and cause side effects like weight gain in the medically worst places (belly fat) and an serious increase in carb cravings

I highly recommend (though its a little challenging and dense with info):
Undoing Perpetual Stress: The Missing Connection Between Depression, Anxiety and 21st Century Illness


It isnt only informative, it has helpful suggestions.

Anecdotally, my fastest and easiest weight loss spurt happened 2 years ago when I lost 30lbs in 2 months without even trying exclusively by addressing my stress. I actually was eating MORE because my ulcer also improved.

In addition the suggestions in the book, here are some I have found very helpful:
- meditation (there are many kinds, not just the think of nothing kind...and dont do it when you are stressed, try when you are calm...integrating 3 mins of meditation to my morning really, really helped)
- working out. obvious
- acupuncture (I was a total skeptic, helped in the very first session with stress and moreover with the related tummy issues...when many drs and many meds had not)
- hypnotherapy (really this was guided meditation and visualization, it helped me work thru many issues)
- touch, any kind. I isolate myself when stressed. Women need another hormone called oxytocin and we produce it most when we do things focused around touching, loving, giving, helping, sharing, caring. Sounds totally not feminist, but its science and its true
- removing stresses if you can. Getting out of a bad relationship and a job that wasnt making me happy...again obvious
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Old 11-03-2010, 06:08 PM   #9
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Cortisol levels have a huge impact on weightloss; stress and sleep deprivation have the biggest impact on those levels.

It's absolutely true and most people can anecdotally note this, as well as numerous studies proving it.
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Old 11-03-2010, 06:27 PM   #10
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well...ditto to what everyone has already said.

I can tell you from the last week I have had here at the office, that it is absolutely true!
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Old 11-03-2010, 06:33 PM   #11
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This was REALLY interesting and imformative. Thank you!!!
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Old 11-03-2010, 06:47 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Arctic Mama View Post
Cortisol levels have a huge impact on weightloss; stress and sleep deprivation have the biggest impact on those levels.
So, what you're saying is that with a two year old and a newborn I'm pretty much screwed.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly..."

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Old 11-03-2010, 07:01 PM   #13
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Thank you all so much! I did not realize this. I also am not getting enough sleep. I stay up way too late. I am going to try to get more sleep. And try to relax more.
Our Greatest Glory Is Not In Never Failing, But In Rising Up Everytime We Fail.
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Old 11-03-2010, 07:08 PM   #14
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Yup. A good way to illustrate this is that diabetics' blood sugar goes up whenever they are sick, in pain, or under a lot of emotional stress even if their meds and diet stay the same.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.--Winston Churchill
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Old 11-03-2010, 07:32 PM   #15
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This is why my pulmonologist told me when I was prescribed a cpap for my sleep apnea, that I would probably lose some weight without even trying (and I thought he was bonkers, because I'd never lost any weight without trying in my life, and I had been dieting since I was 5 years old).

About eight months later, I learned that I had indeed lost weight without trying, about 20 lbs. I don't think I would have attempted weight loss again, if it weren't for those 20 lbs. It changed the way I thought about weight loss, and I was determined to at the very least, keep off those magical, beautiful, accidental pounds. I decided that if I could focus on keeping weight off, instead of getting weight off, I'd eventually get to my goal weight (or at the very least, would never regain a single pound permanently).

When I think I can't lose another ounce, I remind myself that I can at least work to keep every ounce I've lost off.
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