Losing Weight When Stressed Despite Eating Well?

You may have noticed that when you are under stress, you tend to start losing weight even if you are eating all your meals every day. It is necessary to know why you lose weight when stressed even when you eat well, so that you can maintain your health and weight in a better way.

Sometimes in life it so happens we suddenly come under a lot of stress and life demands a little too much from us. The reason for such a stress can vary from one person to another be it relationship issues, financial crisis, sudden illness, problems at work or taking care of a sick family member for example. However, no matter what the reason is, stress not only affects a person’s body psychologically but it also has a negative impact on the physical well-being of the body in general. Many people often experience changes in weight during periods of extreme stress. Some may experience weight gain later on, while some may initially lose weight even when eating well.

In some cases, people under stress tend to overeat, in order to find comfort in it and also to bury their worries and compensating for their life problems. One of the most common physical changes that people under stress experience is weight loss even after eating really well. Though this does not occur in one day, if you have been under a lot of stress for quite some time, you will begin to notice that you have lost a good number of pounds without compromising on your food.

Losing Weight When Stressed Despite Eating Well?

Losing Weight When Stressed Despite Eating Well

Weight loss which is sudden, rapid and also unexplained can be quite concerning for an individual. If you go through such a weight loss, you must visit your doctor at the earliest to understand why this is happening. Weight loss is one of the most common symptoms for severe illnesses such as HIV infection, thyroid disorder, cancer, tuberculosis or diabetes to begin with.

However, you must know that stress plays a vital role in making you lose weight without any reason. Weight gain happens when the hormone cortisol is released from the body and after being present in the blood for really long or after experiencing a stressful event, it asks the body to overeat which can cause weight gain in the long run.

However, in many cases when under stress you start losing weight even after eating well. There are several causes for this which has been discussed below in details.

  • An Increased Metabolism – Though most cases reveal that under stress and anxiety a person gains weight, the body’s initial response to stress is to fight the situation as much as possible. The metabolism of your body increases temporarily under stress. Even if you are eating well, the body continues to lose calories due to the high metabolic activities in it resulting in weight loss.
  • Inactivity – Stress makes your body quite inactive. If you used to work out every day pre-stress, be it in the gym or at home, it has been seen that in most cases, once you are stressed about something you lose all interest in exercising and staying fit. This leads to loss in muscle mass and the stress makes you lose weight even if you are eating well throughout the day.
  • Medical Conditions – There are specific medical conditions which are directly linked to stress and anxiety. One such condition is hyperthyroidism which is becoming more and more common amongst people all over the world. Being a thyroid disorder, hyperthyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland works extra than what it actually should, thereby releasing more of the hormone. This results in increase in metabolic activity and the body starts burning more fat and calories even when you are eating well all day long. This is why weight loss which occurs due to hyperthyroidism is bound to have stress as one of its major symptoms. Thus, medical conditions, particularly those like thyroid problems, can cause you to lose weight when stressed even when you eat well.
  • Lack of Interest in Eating – When you are under a lot of stress, your body tends to shut down the centre of appetite with a rush of the hormone which releases corticotrophin happening along with it. People who are very anxious about something or in depression often experience it. Being anxious makes you feel less hungry and you are also not able to eat much food in one go. You fail to realize that your body is starving resulting in sudden weight loss even though you haven’t stopped eating food. Along with this, the body experiences loss in muscle mass and the metabolic activities of the body increase considerably. This is one of the commonest cause of why you lose weight when stressed even when you eat well.


After knowing the various causes of why you lose weight when stressed even when you eat well, it is obvious that changes in weight can be controlled by controlling stress. Stress management is essential to be able to control losing weight when stressed, as once stress is controlled.

Practicing yoga and meditation, eating healthy and also keeping calm under stressful conditions is the key to reduce your stress and weight loss. Reducing stress can help you have a healthy mind and body and keep problems like losing weight when stressed even when eating well at bay.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 18, 2017

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