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Personal Trainer confessions: How stress made me fat...


We all have varying levels of stress. A small amount of stress is good, it can give you that extra push to meet a deadline, for example. However, when we get over stressed, it can have seriously adverse effects on the body. Especially when it comes to fat loss.

I know this from personal experience. Unfortunately, I had a big family trauma in my life just over 3 years ago and I put on a lot of weight. Around 2.5 stone! I went from a size 8 to a size 12/14 and felt awful. At points I was ‘comfort eating’ as the hormonal imbalance brought about by stress can increase appetite and cravings. But then I found that even when I was eating all the right things and working out, my belly and thigh fat just would not budge!

That is my experience, but we can be stressed for all sorts of reasons. You can be stressed without even realising it, there doesn’t have to be a big issue in your life. Stress can be caused by having an overactive mind or a busy lifestyle.

What ever the reason behind your stress, it can have a negative impact when trying to lose weight. The hormones behind this are cortisol and adrenaline. When secreted in large amounts they put the body into a fat storing state, usually around the belly.

So what can you do about this?

  • Firstly don’t give up! I know how frustrating it can be when you feel you are doing everything right and not getting results, so being patient and compassionate with yourself is vital. You can do this!

  • Find ways to reduce your stress: start a yoga class or go for a restorative walk in nature. Make time for this, as it’s just as important as exercising and eating right. We recommend a 30/60 minute walk every day, especially after a high intensity workout.

  • Take a look at your weekly diary: is there anything that you can remove or reduce during the week? Do you always schedule in a lunch break for yourself in the day? Could you walk the school run, or to work, instead of driving or getting the bus? Sometimes just dedicating a little time to reshuffling your week can make a huge difference!

  • Make sure that you add in relaxing activities such as a bubble bath, walking, yoga, a new meditation class or a massage treatment for yourself. You deserve it!

  • Sleep is also a major factor. Sleep helps your body to recharge and rejuvenate. It will help to rebalance your hormones and is key to reducing stress and improving weight loss. We recommend going to bed by 10pm at the latest, get those hours in!

I’ve been there - I know it’s tough, but please hang on in there. Reducing your stress is probably one of the best gifts you will ever give yourself!

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