Weight loss under stress


Weight loss is an amalgam of several factors. Here we give you an insight on one of them – STRESS. The signs & effects of stress are often misunderstood and frequently ignored. We need stress. It challenges us and helps us excel. But as Goldilocks points it out – it has to be just right. Too little and we might get complacent. Too much and your hormones go into overdrive. You sleep less, become more irritable and start emotional / dysfunctional eating.

The Hormones


This essential hormone is released in stressful situations – public speaking, chased by stray dogs etc. It starts a fight or flight response – a key feature in our evolution and existence. It is also necessary in a number of routine chemical reactions in the body. If the levels are too low, you get fatigued, tummy cramps, vomiting, low blood pressure and anorexia. Too high and you get acne, hirsutism, diabetes, high blood pressure, lots of other features and…weight gain. They appear to trigger progenitor cells (next step after stem cells) to become fat cells.


In chronic stress and insomnia our hunger hormone – Ghrelin – levels increase. This causes hunger of course and food cravings. It can also reinforce reward-based hedonic eating behaviour.

How to deal with it?

  1. Protect your sleep – avoid using your bed for activites such as work, eating or watching TV
  2. Meditate, take up yoga or get a massage – anything to unwind.
  3. Talk to someone
  4. Exercise (punching bags work well for some)
  5. Join an interest group – arts, sports
  6. Reduce Coffee and sugar intake
  7. Tackle the source – be it financial, health or relationship stress

Need someone to talk to?

Our psychological counsellor can make a comprehensive assessment and offer sound advice. With the current COVID-19 crisis, we offer telehealth and phone consultations.  Our surgeon offers bulk billing with your initial consultation.