A lot of people face extreme work pressure, which leads to anxiety and stress. However, it is crucial to know for women who face stress at the workplace can experience weight gain. 

HerZindagi exclusively spoke to Dr Shiraz Vazifdar, consultant gynaecology & obstetrics at Hinduja Hospital, Khar for better understanding and more insights. 

What Does The Research Say?

What Does The Research Say

“A study led by the University of Gothenburg in Sweden researchers in the year 2017, stated that over half of the women who had been subjected to high demands experienced major weight gain in the span of 20 years. This gain in weight was also about 20 per cent higher than in women subject to low job demands,” told Dr Shiraz Vazifdar. 

The research also highlighted that only the women were affected when it came to the level of demands at work. Though the underlying causes aren’t investigated yet, it may conceivably be about a combination of job demands and the greater responsibility for the home that women often assume. 

How Stress Leads To Weight Gain? 

How Stress Leads To Weight Gain

“Increased stress causes the extra release of hormones like insulin and cortisol which contribute to weight gain. Insulin helps in fat storage and cortisol is an appetite stimulant,” said Dr Shiraz Vazifdar. 

“Even if we aren't consuming foods high in fat and sugar, women tend to gain weight as cortisol slows down their metabolism, making it difficult to lose weight. There will be105 to120 calories less burnt every 24hrs which leads to a weight gain of approx 5 kgs at the end of the year,” he added. 

What Are The Other Side Effects Of Stress?

What Are The Other Side Effects Of Stress

Stress also induces unhealthy habits like emotional eating as a comfort, due to increased levels of cortisol. It can not only make you crave unhealthy food, but excess nervous energy can often cause you to eat more than you normally would. 

“Consumption of unhealthy fast food due to time constraints to cook, lack of time for physical activity and exercise, skipping meals repeatedly due to lack of time, binge eating is also few contributing factors for weight gain,” told the consultant gynaecology & obstetrics at Hinduja Hospital to Hz. 

Women are at a higher risk of gaining weight because of societal mind-set and family pressures. Even if she has a stressful job, she still has the sole responsibility of running the home and looking after the family with little or no help from other members. 

“After menopause, she does not have estrogen protection and is prone to a heart attack as men are. Therefore, one needs to take care and balance their life accordingly,” explained Dr Vazifdar. 

How To Control Stress-Induced Weight Gain? 

How To Control Stress Induced Weight Gain

The best way to control gaining weight is by breaking the cycle of stress. “Maintaining a schedule or routine can help. Make healthy behaviours a habit, such as making exercise a priority even if it means getting up early in the morning, practice mindful eating by concentrating on eating and chewing each morsel 12 to 15 times, keep a food journal to track how much excess you are eating, drink more water, especially 2 glasses before having the meals,” advised Dr Shiraz Vazifdar. 

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These habits can aid you to combat stress-related weight changes. Lastly, if all stress relief strategies don’t seem to help, one should seek professional help from a counsellor. If ignored this condition for a prolonged period, it might lead to other diseases like:

  • Migraine
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Acidity and irritable bowel syndrome 
  • Diabetes 
  • Alzheimer’s 
  • Depression (how to deal with depression)
  • Asthma

Some forms of cancer, especially of the stomach, told the consultant gynaecology & obstetrics at Hinduja Hospital and concluded, “one should focus on reducing work-related stress, not only to prevent weight gain but to also prevent other non-communicable diseases and chronic health conditions.” 

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