Stress Weight Gain – How to Lose It?

Jenna Hilton
November 2, 2023

Chronic stress is one of the critical factors preventing healthy weight. When the stress hormone cortisol is elevated for too long, it disrupts many bodily functions affecting weight management, including sleep regulation, appetite control, fat storage, and more.

Weight gain due to stress is difficult to manage because it requires a multifold approach. This article explains the strategies needed to reach and maintain a desired weight.

Stress weight gain - how to lose it

Note: Learn more about the impact of stress on weight gain and how stress affects hormones in general.

7 Ways to Lose Weight Gained Due to Stress

The following strategies require discipline and may take several months to show results, depending on the amount of excess weight. However, they help develop sustainable lifestyle habits that ensure lasting results.

1. Consult a Medical Professional

Stress weight gain is a hormonal issue. The safest way to start your stress-related weight loss journey is to visit a medical professional. They may run tests or ask questions to determine if your weight gain is induced by stress. If they find that it is, they will advise an appropriate weight-loss plan (meal plan, medication, lifestyle changes, etc.).

Note: Learn more about the relationship between hormones and weight loss.

2. Adopt a Healthier Diet

Stress leads to an increased appetite for high-sugar, high-fat, and nutritionally-poor foods, perpetuating a hormonal imbalance and causing hormonal weight gain. Adopting a healthier eating plan is the first step in breaking this cycle and improving your hormonal status.

According to the National Institutes of Health, a healthy diet is one that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein. Health experts advise limiting sugars, salt, and trans fats and controlling portion sizes.

Most overweight people struggle to eat healthfully and go on fad diets instead, usually with disappointing results. The key is to find a healthy eating plan that you can sustain or seek medical help.

3. Exercise

Exercise is the second most important factor in maintaining optimal weight. Studies report numerous benefits of regular exercise, including improved mood and sleep, leaner muscles, more energy, and reduced cravings.

Health associations recommend 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of high-intensity training per week. Any daily exercise is better than none, so introduce at least 15-20 minutes of physical activity into your daily schedule. This can be:

  • A brisk walk
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Aerobics
  • Swimming
  • Jogging
  • Bicycling
  • Team sports

4. Find Time for Relaxing Activities

Relaxing activities that help mitigate stress include:

  • Spending time in nature
  • Spending time with friends and family
  • Watching fun shows
  • Listening to music
  • Taking up hobbies (e.g., painting, cooking, fishing)
  • Dancing

Furthermore, improving the work/life balance contributes to the patient’s emotional well-being, which is the key factor in combating stress.

Note: Learn more about lowering cortisol the natural way.

5. Improve Sleep

Studies show elevated cortisol leads to sleep deprivation, which disrupts metabolic processes and often leads to weight gain. Health professionals give the following tips for improving sleep:

  • Consistently go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Bedtime should be before 10 PM.
  • Be physically active during the day.
  • Avoid large meals, alcohol, and nicotine before bedtime. Caffeine consumption should be finished by 2 PM.
  • Make the bedroom conducive to rest. Ensure it is dark, cool, and quiet.
  • Don’t use electronic devices (TV, cell phone, computer) before bedtime. The blue light they emit interferes with sleep.

Other ways to relax before bedtime include deep breathing, meditation, visualization, listening to soothing music, reading, etc.

However, people with hormonal imbalances often need more than willpower and relaxing techniques to fall and stay asleep each night. They may take natural sleep aids, like dietary supplements or prescription medication.

Once a healthy sleeping pattern is restored, patients usually have more energy for exercise and find it easier to control cravings.

6. Try Nutritional Supplements

Stress-relieving supplements are increasing in popularity. They may provide various benefits, from promoting relaxation and improving sleep to decreasing cravings and aiding in weight loss.*

The medical team at Vibrant Vitality Clinic endorses Relora as an effective natural remedy for stress, anxiety, and stress-induced weight gain.* Relora contains two tree bark extracts used for centuries in traditional Asian medicine to promote relaxation. The supplement also contains a blend of B vitamins to boost energy and improve the metabolism.

Other natural ingredients for stress include melatonin, ashwagandha, magnesium, valerian root, etc.

Note: Read more about the best supplements for stress to determine if they can help you achieve your weight goals.

7. Try Appetite Suppressants

Many people react to stress by eating uncontrollably. Appetite suppressants are supplements and medications that help reduce cravings. They typically contain a blend of vitamins, amino acids, lipotropics, and other fat-burning nutrients to support weight loss.

Medical providers who run medical weight loss programs often use these appetite-regulating medications:

Natural foods and ingredients that may help prolong satiety and reduce snacking between meals include green tea, ginger, flaxseeds, caffeine, avocado, eggs, etc.

Note: Medical weight loss programs are tailored to each patient’s medical condition and health needs. They employ many of the strategies discussed in this article. Learn more about medical weight loss programs to determine if you need professional help losing excess weight.


Losing weight is a common, recurring New Year’s resolution. Many factors get in the way of its realization, and chronic stress is one of the most persistent and difficult to combat. Addressing stress-induced weight gain requires adhering to several weight-loss strategies, including regular exercise and relaxation techniques.

If you need professional help to achieve your health and aesthetic goals, contact our medical team at Vibrant Vitality Clinic. They will design a medical weight loss plan according to your unique needs.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Jenna Hilton
Jenna Hilton has been a practicing PA since 2009, specializing in Family, Internal Medicine and Medical Aesthetics. She attended Arizona State University where she received her Bachelor's Degree and graduated magna cum laude. She received her Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies from A.T. Still University.

Jenna has been injecting neurotoxin and dermal filler since 2013. She received certification as a Master Injector in 2017 through Empire Medical in Los Angeles, California. She is currently working on a Fellowship Program in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine through the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. Her special interests include use of PLLA, Ablative/Non ablative skin resurfacing, PDO threads, hormone therapy and nutritional therapies to improve cellular regeneration and medically supervised weight loss.

Jenna Hilton believes in a multi-factorial approach, considering internal factors that accelerate aging and disease development. She always enjoys teaching. She co-founded Vibrant EDU courses at Vibrant Skin Bar and regularly performs one-on-one training with fellow injectors. She teaches Aesthetic and Advanced Injectable Courses at National Laser Institute. She has been named Preceptor of the Year and is an Adjunct Faculty Member at Midwestern University. She was born in Iowa, and lives with her husband and three children in Phoenix, AZ.

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