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Body-Wise zine, Issue #9-The stress of dieting may be making you fatter
October 28, 2015

Weight gain from Cortisol and the stress of dieting

According to award-winning neuroscientist, Dr Candace Pert every emotion (which I like to write as E-Motion and think of as … energy in motion) vibrates energetically through our bodies changing our biochemistry and determining our health. Well - let’s consider how stressful dieting is! All that worrying about what to eat, how much to eat, when to eat, how much you've eaten, how many calories you've consumed etc... All that concern around socializing, and the worrying about not being able to stick to your diet or your exercise regime. All the anxiety around how you look, and about being too fat and one mouthful away from disease.

That's a lot of worry and stress on an every day basis over months, years and sometimes decades. Our bodies are made to handle small amounts of acute stress - but the ongoing daily grind of stress hormones flooding your body for years? Have you ever stopped to think about how the stress of dieting affects your body? And there is a growing body of research that proves that the stress of dieting might well be eroding the health you’re trying so hard to protect by losing weight.

Here's the thing - your brain can't tell the difference between what's real or what's imagined. If you're stressed, it activates stress hormones one of which is cortisol and cortisol… is known to cause weight gain. Here's how it looks:

weight gain from cortisol

Dr Traci Mann on Weight gain from Cortisol

You can listen to my interview with Dr. Traci Mann who talks about the research one of her students did about how the stress of dieting causes weight gain It's a pretty compelling reason to give up dieting. Because it's one thing that researchers have known for years that diets don't work, but it's another when they cause the very problems they assure you they're fixing. And by the way, the first part of my interview with Dr. Traci Mann talks about the neurological, metabolic and hormonal changes (there are those hormones again) that change our physiology that CAUSES willpower to fail. It’s pretty powerful stuff.

The next problem is that when our body forces us to abandon willpower, we then create more stress for ourselves by feeling shame and chastising ourselves. If you’ve ever been exposed to the work of Dr. David Hawkins (he was knighted for his work) - shame is the E-motion that weakens our muscles most during muscle testing. You body knows which emotions weaken and strengthen it and weakened muscles don’t sound like improved health to me. It's really interesting to hear what Jean Fain (2nd interview) shared about the donut study where it showed that guilt lead to MORE eating whereas self compassion lead to less eating. And the E-Motions released during compassion (which keeps muscles strong) are all those feel good hormones like Oxytocin.

I'm busy working on new products around these ideas and I'd love to know what your thoughts are about these ideas. Please let me knowwhat questions or thoughts you have.

With love, laughter and wishes for an awesome life free of food and body worries


cari corbet-owen

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