Episode 070: Stress Management for Weight Loss

I’m sure you realize that your stress levels might be contributing to your trouble losing weight. But I’m not sure you realize what is contributing to your stress levels. Sure, emotional stress is a big problem. But what about physical stress? Processed foods, sugars and toxins create a stress response in your body whether you feel it or not. They cause damage at the cellular and vascular level that you might not recognize or feel for years. In today’s episode we talk about stress management for weight loss: the common causes of stress, the symptoms of elevated cortisol, how it impacts your health and fat burning potential and how you can control cortisol via diet and lifestyle.

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Discussed in This Episode

“Manage stress like your life depends on it, because it does” Dr. Sara Gottfried

Stress is a hormonal issue. Fat loss is a hormonal issue. If you believe that your stress does not impact fat loss, you’re wrong.

Stress is more than emotional. Poor food choices create a physical stress response in the body (especially processed foods and sugar) even if you don’t feel it or know of it for years.

Chronic stress elevates cortisol. High cortisol levels impair fat burning and accelerate fat storage.

Chronic stress influences your metabolic rate, mood, energy, sleep, focus, attention and more!

Signs of high cortisol include:

  • Belly fat
  • Muffin top
  • Pink or purple stretch marks
  • The feeling of “tired but wired” – feeling tired but unable to relax enough to sleep
  • Trouble waking in the morning
  • Mood swings
  • Sugar cravings
  • Indigestion
  • Brain fog
  • Slow recovery/wound healing

Implementation Strategies

Stress management for weight loss needs to be a top priority. Here are some of the most effective ways to manage your body’s stress response.

  • Limit sugar and processed foods
  • Avoid carbohydrates in the morning
  • Follow the Golden Rules of carbs & fat loss
  • Practice restorative movement (leisure walking, yoga, etc)
  • Deep breathing
  • Yoga
  • Meditation/prayer
  • Monitor caffeine consumption
  • Limit alcohol consumption


Improve your sleep quality to maximize fat loss

How to burn stubborn belly fat

Hormones & Fat Loss Strategy e-book

Eating your emotions – pity, perspective and your personal power

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3 replies
  1. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    I don’t believe I came across you by accident. I saw your Turning Point on Dave Ramsey’s YouTube Video Channel yesterday. After his show I downloaded your podcast and loaded as far back as it would allow me and the episode that played: Episode 70 Stress Management for Weight Loss, also I am sure this was not by accident. I listened to 3 shows yesterday, 70, 346 Stop Creating Chaos and 347 5 Lessons for Success Beyond Fat Loss. I have every single one of the signs you listed for high cortisol. I began struggling w/ my weight about 14 years ago, about the same time I got married, the problem got worse after the birth of each of my two children, recovery from C-sections was much harder than when I was younger and I never lost the pregnancy belly above my C-section scars, even more weight gain after my hysterectomy. I left a stressful job right after getting married but did not have a job lined up. We moved into my in-laws two states away from my family but I received a starting job offer and then moved into a more stressful career position w/ the same company as an auto claim representative. I suffered one miscarriage between my girls. It seemed there was stressor after stressor and I was ill equipped to handle them. Dr’s prescribed anti-depressants and the side effects were more weight gain. I had an affair, confessed to my husband and we went away to a marriage intensive counseling program for four days to work on our marriage. I struggled w/ shopping addiction and put my husband and myself into a tremendous amount of debt which I am happy to report is finally paid off, we are debt free w/ the exception of the mortgage of our primary home. I have two great girls and a supportive husband. My adult son does not speak to me. I am still two states physically away from my family but I see them once or twice a year. I have a life coach and am working on controlling how I respond to things and people and knowing what is within my control. I have atypical trigeminal neuralgia and have brain surgery, microvascular decompression to place Teflon padding between the trigeminal nerve and a major blood vessel in my brain however I was only pain free for 10 days and the nerve pain returned to the left side of my face, meaning I am in constant nerve shocking, bolting, jarring pain. And guess what the medication for the nerve pain side effect is, weight gain.
    So I think my weight gain exercabates due to high cortisol and medication side effects. Do you think you can help? If so where do I start to see? Thanks for all you do. I noticed your efforts!

    • Elizabeth Benton
      Elizabeth Benton says:

      Hi there! Without knowing what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat and a whole lot more, I’d just be guessing at a cause of weight gain. There could be so many factors and I never guess with my listeners – I think it’s a major disservice to them. With that said: I am CERTAIN there is MUCH that IS within your control, despite your history, medications, etc. I’d suggest you start with Q&A 6 of the podcast and episode 195. The more you can control insulin, the more you support fat loss AND help control cortisol.


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