Anxiety changes our lives. Daily tasks become uphill battles in seconds, and you might struggle with seeing the world in the same way as before.
However, anxiety does more than change our minds: it can affect your body. Our weight and anxiety share a complicated relationship. Some people lose weight, and others put on pounds.
Why does that happen? What’s the difference between the two groups?
Anxiety and obesity
Plenty of research has gone into analyzing how anxiety can cause obesity. While obesity doesn’t directly contribute to anxiety, the latter [could play a role in obesity’s onset](https://www.structurehouse.com/obesity/anxiety/#:~:text=Increased cortisol levels%2C as the,or she can potentially gain.).
Essentially, anxious people are more likely to resort to junk food and binge-eating to cope with their worries. However, other factors contribute to anxiety’s role in causing obesity.
Why do some people gain weight?
Firstly, higher cortisol levels incentivize fat buildups in your stomach, increasing your weight. It also slows down your digestion. Fatigue also becomes more prevalent, which makes it more difficult to be physically active and burn calories.
As we already mentioned, food is a common coping mechanism. However, anxiety medication can also contribute to weight gain. Sedatives can worsen your fatigue as well.
Anxiety and weight loss
On the other hand, research has also suggested links between anxiety and weight loss. The linked study touches on anxiety’s weight implications. Studies on mice have shown that—even on high-fat diets—anxiety could result in weight loss.
The study focused on mice who lacked BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor). The mice showed common anxiety symptoms.
Why would anxiety make you lose weight?
BDNF is necessary for learning, memory, and overall brain development. Shutting down this gene, the anxiety-like signs appeared. Mice couldn’t dampen the excitatory signals in their brains. Additionally, the basal metabolic rate had also increased, tying to considerable energy expenditure.
How can you get your weight back on track?
Unfortunately, balancing your weight after anxiety’s effects isn’t a walk in the park. You need to understand your anxiety and its causes. That requires professional help, so make sure you find it.
However, you can do a few things to combat this weight loss. Healthline has excellent tips to balance your weight. Some might be more difficult than others, but discipline is fundamental for all of them.
Create a schedule for your meals depending on your daily requirements. Make sure you don’t eat outside those times, so feel free to add snacks. You mustn’t eat more or less than what you scheduled.
Healthy (and small) snacks
Healthy snacks can help you fight cravings and add extra nutrients to your diet. Dried fruits, cereals, nuts, and other foods are excellent snacks to keep nearby.
Foods that improve your mood
Additionally, you could eat some mood-boosting foods. Orange, carrots, vitamin B, whole grains, and omega-3 can change how your body feels.
Avoiding junk food
Stay away from takeout and sugary foods. While these can boost your energy, you’ll likely feel worse after the effect has passed. Avoid candy, chips, baked goods, fried food, sugary drinks, and similar meals.
Finally, don’t give up on your workout routine if you’re losing weight. Try adding a healthy snack after you’ve exercised to catch up on nutrients. As an extra benefit, you’ll feel rewarded after finishing your routine.
The holistic takeaway
Anxiety disrupts our mind and body. For many, it feels like it distorts our reality—letting us see everything normally but giving a sinister “vibe” to everything. That’s why it feels impossible to battle alone: you must fight your brain.
However, it’s far from impossible. As long as you can find the help you need, you’ll be surprised by how quickly things can improve.
Creating habits is also fundamental to overcome its consequences. Make sure you schedule your day so that your brain knows when it’s time to shift gears.