Are you noticing that the number on the scale is steadily climbing? Are your favorite pair of pants feeling a little tight? A little up-and-down fluctuation in your weight is normal, but if you feel like the changes are mostly up and very little down, there may be a hidden reason you’re packing on the pounds.
No, this isn’t an episode of “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant,” but your problem could be something else you didn’t know you had: stress. Stress can cause even the fittest gal to gain some serious weight in a very short period of time.
Believe it or not, we’re often not even aware that we’re stressed! You may think that you’re totally calm when you’re juggling your marriage, your kids, your career, your housekeeping duties, your friendships and your in-laws, but it’s all right to admit that balancing all the different areas of your life isn’t easy.
Stress causes weight gain in a number of different ways. For one thing, it releases hormones that cause us to hang on to body fat (something that may have been useful when constant worrying was caused by lack of food). And although enjoying a diet rich in fruits and veggies is oh-so-simple, it can be tough not to reach for a pint of ice cream or a bag of potato chips for comfort.
The first step in stopping the stress-eating cycle is recognizing that you’re doing it. Admit that you’re overwhelmed, and find a new way to relax, like reading a good book or taking a yoga class. Your jeans will thank you.