Stress, Digestion and the
Weight Gain Connection
Things to consider when you’re eating…..
Who are you being when you eat?
Are you moving at warp speed?
Constantly eating on the go?
Multi-tasking during the meal?
Engaging in gossip?
These are all ways in which we feed the STRESS
Eating under stress is not only common place, it’s
socially acceptable; it’s today’s new normal and often
a prerequisite for managing a job, a family or having a
The problem is the majority of us are moving too fast.
When moving through life too fast we inevitably eat
fast, which destroys our metabolism and creates
Our metabolism is the process by which our bodies
convert what we eat and drink into energy, which
essentially enables us to function and do everyday
things. If we damage our metabolism, the result is that
our calorie-burning power diminishes resulting in
tummy bloat and excess weight. You can eat the
healthiest meal on the planet, but if you eat in a
stressed out, anxious state, your digestion is
How does that work from a science perspective?
• Salivary enzyme content in the mouth is reduced
• The breakdown of protein, fat, and carbs in the
stomach is impaired
• Blood flow to the small intestines decreases as
much as fourfold, which translates into
decreased assimilation of vitamins, minerals, and
Have you ever had the experience of eating a full meal
and still being hungry like you just can’t get satiated?
Stress and the Metabolism Connection
Digestive activity runs through these two branches in
the body: The Parasympathetic and the Sympathetic.
The Parasympathetic is also known as the rest and
digest response. This is the optimal state for digestion
because once it’s activated our metabolism goes up.
The Sympathetic is also known as fight or flight, which
is our stress response. When we are stressed, our
digestion shuts down.
Now here’s the classic example using the Lion OR
Boss scenario. Being chased by a lion is stressful and
being shouted at by your boss is stressful. One is life
threatening and the other is not, but on a physiological
level they are the same, as they both trigger the body
to shut off digestion and store fat. This decreases our
And then there is Cortisol. This is the hormone that is
released when we are stressed out. Studies show that
increased cortisol in the system leads to fat
If the body is in even a low level stress state most of
the time then you may lose a few pounds here and
In her regular health and well-being slot Susan Lord, Transformational Health
and Life Coach, explains how digestive stress is about 25% what we eat, and
75% is WHO we are being!