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stress and weight gain

What’s Connection Between Stress and Weight Gain? Lower Stress Can Help You Lose More Weight

There’s a connection between stress and weight gain that can make your committed attempts to lose weight even harder than it already is. Here’s how stress and weight gain are connected and proven ways to relieve stress and reclaim your health.

More than 75% of Americans cite being stressed on a regular basis. And that number jumps to 80% when Americans are asked about whether they feel stress at work. 

Many of us experience fatigue, irritability, or aches and pains as a result of ongoing stress in our work or other parts of our lives. 

But did you know that stress also impacts your weight? Researchers find a clear link between weight gain and stress. 

The connection between stress and weight gain

When stressed, your body releases more of the hormone cortisol. 

Cortisol is the hormone that helps you respond to a threat. When you perceive a threat, your adrenal glands release cortisol and those hormone levels remain elevated until you no longer sense a threat is near. Then, the levels return to normal. 

But cortisol levels can be elevated for dangerous amounts of time. If you feel stress on a daily basis, for many hours throughout the day, your body produces an excess of cortisol and doesn’t spend enough time in a relaxed state. As a result, you can feel hungrier than you normally would throughout the day.

It’s why many of us want to reach for ice cream, cookies, or our favorite chips when we feel stressed. We feel hungrier and want to eat something that will give us a surge of happiness to counter our elevated stress. 

As if that’s not enough, stress can also lower your metabolism. The combination of slower metabolism with increased appetite is a recipe for unintended weight gain.

How to know if stress is impacting your weight loss

Stress is most often looked at as a cause of weight gain after other factors like diet or an underlying condition have been ruled out. This usually comes up in the course of conversations with your doctor or specialist you’re working with to lose weight.

These are some of the symptoms of stress to help determine if this is in fact a factor in your weight:

  • Regular trouble sleeping and exhaustion
  • Aches and pains that seem otherwise inexplicable  
  • Headaches and tension in your shoulders, neck, and jaw (maybe even clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth)
  • Irritability 
  • High blood pressure 

How to reduce stress and get back to a healthy weight

Fortunately, stress can be remedied by building some healthier habits and better routines.

While many facets of your life might be difficult to change like work schedules and family responsibilities, there are steps you can take to reduce the stress that builds up from all of your responsibilities.

Plus, a few of the activities that help you relieve stress can also help you lose weight–getting you back on track for your weight loss goals even faster.

Below are 5 effective stress relievers to try if you think stress is impacting your weight loss journey:

  1. Exercise

Exercise does more than help you get fit and lose weight—it helps you reduce stress in a few ways:

  • Helps you focus on the present when you get caught up in the activity or game you participate in  
  • Releases endorphins—the feel-good neurotransmitters  
  • Reduces cortisol levels 
  • Improves your mood and boosts self-confidence

The best part is you don’t have to be an athlete to reap these benefits. Just 30 minutes of movement like walking, hiking, or swimming can give you stress-relieving benefits.

2. Sleep

Lack of sleep makes you more likely to be stressed. The reason is because of all the facets of our lives and health sleep impacts:

  • Mood regulation
  • Improved decision-making
  • Concentration

So, if you want to reduce stress, one of the ways to counteract feeling stressed is to get more sleep. 

Make sure you get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night—the average recommended amount for adults.

3. Make time for non-work related connections with others

You’ve probably heard the phrase “Laughter is the best medicine.” Well, it turns out that laughter is a bit like medicine. 

Multiple studies now show the power of laughter to reduce stress and improve our overall well-being. One study found that people who laughed more had less stress and better immune function. 

By making more time for friends and family who you find fun to be around, you reduce your stress levels and by extension, improve your health. So whether it’s getting together with friends for an evening or going on a day trip with family, time spent with people you can relax and laugh around will reduce your stress.

4. Find a creative outlet

Creativity is one of the best options to get yourself out of the routine of worrying about daily responsibilities.

A 2016 study found that when participants engaged in any creative outlet of their choosing for 45 minutes, their cortisol levels dropped by 75%

And you don’t have to be a professional artist or writer to experience these benefits. Anyone can create for fun and get the stress relief benefits of being creative.

5. Schedule time just for yourself

When we have a lot going on between work, family obligations, and personal responsibilities, it’s hard to find time to relax. This is especially true if you are introverted or need time to recharge after social events. 

One way to help is to schedule time for yourself that is non-negotiable. Give yourself 30 minutes every day that is uninterrupted time for you to decompress from the responsibilities of your day. You can journal, read a book, go for a walk, or do anything else that makes you feel relaxed and refreshed. Whatever activity you enjoy, taking that time for yourself will help you reduce daily stress levels.

Get help overcoming stress and weight gain

At Valley Medical Weight Loss we help make weight loss a far less stressful challenge. 

Our patients get results because of the personalized support they get from our doctors. When you choose us, you get weekly check-ins, diet planning, and exercise strategy that’s tailored to your health history and goals. We also help you select supplements to support your weight loss goals if they’re appropriate for your goals.

We can help you figure out if stress is impacting your weight loss journey and help you get a plan to overcome it.

Visit your closest Valley Medical Weight Loss for your initial consult.

show yourself some love

Remember to Show Yourself Some Love On Your Weight Loss Journey

How to show yourself some love and appreciation while you get through the toughest times of losing weight. And make it easier to lose the weight you want.

Valentines Day is just around the corner. And while we spend a lot of time thinking about how to show our love to those we care about, it’s also important to take time to show yourself some love.

You’re probably so used to hearing how important it is to be kind to yourself. But how often do you actually treat yourself with the same love and kindness you do others?

We notice that when people are going through a major life change, like working on a weight loss goal, you are even more likely to be extra hard on yourself. Even when you need the positivity and care most.

You may even think that any celebration and feel good about yourself can’t come until after you’ve hit all your weight loss goals. Until then you’re unworthy. 

This is such a common mindset but it’s not one that helps you lose weight. And it doesn’t help you feel good about all the other things going on in your life too. 

So here are some of the best ways to remember to treat yourself with love and respect. To remember that you are worthy of feeling good about who you are.

Even when it’s not almost Valentine’s Day, follow these tips to feel happier with where you’re at and make your weight loss journey feel better.

Stop shaming yourself

Shame into change doesn’t work in the long run.

The reality is, we want to feel good! And if we have a running narrative that we should feel ashamed of ourselves, we’ll find a way around having to feel that way one way or another.

Remember that you aren’t defined by where you’re at on your weight loss journey. 

And that the reason you started losing weight in the first place was to feel good inside and out. To be healthier and improve your longevity. And to finally be able to do all the activities you’ve ever wanted to do. 

So instead of shaming yourself here’s what you can do instead…

Remind yourself of your successes every. single. day.

When someone you care about gets down on themselves, what do you do? 

Do you join in their self-loathing session and agree that they are failures and the absolute worst?

No! Even the thought of doing such a thing is absurd.

So don’t accept that kind of treatment from yourself either.

It’s easy to remember all the times you failed when one thing goes wrong. Even when it’s just a small thing. Because you know you have a long term uphill climb to get to your goal.

But getting stuck in all those negative thoughts won’t help.

So the next time something goes wrong and you catch yourself in the downward spiral of negative thinking, try this instead:

Remind yourself of your three biggest successes. Don’t add caveats or conditions. Don’t overthink and try to diminish your value.

Just list three successes you’ve had on your mission to lose weight that were meaningful to you.

Hold those successes in your mind and remind yourself that you can do anything you set your mind to.

Be proud of yourself!

Keeping a list of your successes and reminding yourself when you feel stuck is just the first step.

You want to really feel proud of everything you’ve accomplished so far.

If you feel proud of yourself, you reinforce in your mind that you can repeat your successes over and over again.

And when feel like you’re already becoming the person you want to be, it becomes so much easier to stick to your plan and make it to your goal.

It’s even been measured that people who feel proud of themselves and believe they can lose weight, actually end up losing more weight.

Take your mind off the scale

Stepping on the scale and not seeing enough progress from week to week starts to feel like a punishment.

But those numbers can be misleading.

A lot of people experience a plateau in their weight loss plans when they combine exercise with their diet. Especially when that exercise is strength training.

The reason you seem to stop losing weight, or even appear to gain weight for a short time, is because when you add strength training, you build muscle.

What you need to know though is that this isn’t harmful weight you’re adding. It’s your body composition changing and you will continue losing fat weight over time.

So always remember that if you’re sticking with your exercise and diet plan, your body is changing. No matter what the scale says.

And I know taking your mind off the scale can be hard. So instead, focus on other changes you’re experiencing like…

  • Increased energy
  • Clothes fitting differently (and maybe even needing some new ones!)
  • Getting through workouts more easily
  • Feeling better on the inside because of the healthier food you’re eating
  • Getting off certain medications 

All of these improvements matter more than the number on the scale.

Surround yourself with positive people

You’ll find it so much easier to stay positive about yourself if you surround yourself with others who have a positive mindset.

The thing about a positive mindset is that it’s something you can gain with practice.

A lot of us are told we’re either positive or negative in our outlook. That it’s a state of being we have and can’t change.

But you can be more positive. And one of the best ways to do that is to surround yourself with positive and supportive people.

The mindset and energy others carry around can be contagious. We all know how just one word, good or bad, can change the course of your day.

So to give yourself the care and love you deserve, make sure you’re spending your time around people who cheer you on and believe in you.

Spending time with others who care about you helps you feel happier and motivated.

Investing in your health is the ultimate way to show yourself some love

When you make time for your health, you show up for yourself in one of the biggest ways that matter.

That means following a nourishing diet and making time for exercise. Because both of these improve your quality of life in measurable ways.

And if you need extra support, then that means working with a weight loss specialist who can coach you through your challenges.

People who have a support network are more likely to lose more weight, so finding extra help is one of the best investments you can make for yourself.

If you’re ready to show yourself some love and get a plan to achieve your weight loss goals, contact us at your closest Valley Medical Weight Loss location. We’re here for you.


  1. ES;, Pearson. “Goal Setting as a Health Behavior Change Strategy in Overweight and Obese Adults: a Systematic Literature Review Examining Intervention Components.” Patient Education and Counseling, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21852063/

Lose Weight Faster with Phentermine

Phentermine is one of the most effective weight loss drugs ever created—find out if it’s right for you.

Phentermine is one of the most effective weight loss drugs ever created—find out if it’s right for you.

To say losing weight is hard is an understatement. 

It takes years to see the results you want. You can’t eat the way you always enjoyed and have to change your lifestyle to be more active.

There’s nothing easy about that.

And so we’re always looking for ways to help you lose weight faster than diet and exercise alone. 

Phentermine is one of those options.

Phentermine is a weight loss drug that’s been around since 1959. It’s effective and there are decades of research to back it up.

Because of how powerful it is, this isn’t a drug you can get over the counter. Your doctor must prescribe it for you. And prescriptions generally don’t happen unless your BMI is 30 or higher—the threshold for obesity. 

The reason is, it’s created for people who need to lose a lot of weight. It’s not just for losing 5 pounds before your next vacation. 

But what makes phentermine unique is that the results are also quite rapid compared to others on the market. The drug is only meant to take for a short period of time and up to 12-13 weeks.

Since phentermine’s creation, it’s helped thousands of people lose weight, either alone or in combination with other weight loss medications.

So what exactly does phentermine help you lose weight faster?

Suppresses Appetite

One of the major barriers to weight loss is just feeling hungry all the time. And phentermine works wonders to suppress your appetite—making it easier to avoid junk foods and stick to your diet.

Believe it or not, exactly how phentermine suppresses appetite isn’t clear. Even after decades on the market.

What we do know is that it increases the levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in your brain. 

When your levels of these neurotransmitters increase, your appetite decreases.

Ultimately, the reason it’s so effective is that it’s able to help you overcome one of the biggest barriers to sticking to a new diet. 

Helps Patients with Eating Disorders

Since phentermine suppresses appetite, it helps individuals deal with a challenging eating disorder: binge eating.

Binge eating is when you eat huge quantities of food in short periods of time. It’s also combined with a compulsion to keep eating—essentially feeling like you just can’t stop eating even if you know your body is full. This can often be associated with a strong feeling of losing control while eating and feeling extreme guilt or shame after. 

It’s worth noting that this is different from overconsumption or overeating. Which is exactly what it sounds like—eating too much at a meal. But in this case, it’s an isolated incident or not associated with the other symptoms of a binge eating disorder.

Bulimia is another eating disorder that is similar to binging. And it’s connected with many of the same feelings: lack of control, shame, and guilt. A pattern of binging and purging can arise as a result of those feelings. With purging—or self-induced vomiting—happening in an attempt to regain a sense of control. This binging and purging pattern is what we know as bulimia nervosa.

Phentermine helps people overcome eating disorders by suppressing appetite as a start.

But it helps in other ways too.

It improves the sense of control over eating habits. And improves mood after eating.

In one study, patients with these eating disorders were able to reduce their binge days from 16 to 4 over a 28 day period—a drastic improvement! 

For those who need to lose weight and struggle with eating disorders, phentermine can be an effective option.

Weight Loss

Taking phentermine is a gives you a good start for losing weight. 

It lowers your appetite, prevents binge eating, and even promotes fat loss.

One study found that patients taking phentermine lost anywhere from 5-10% of their starting body weight at the end of a 12 week period. 

And another study had trial participants take phentermine for 13 weeks. The average loss was 13.9 pounds by the end of the study.

But doctors won’t advise you to take phentermine in place of diet and exercise.

And this is important to understand: no medication should be taken in place of diet and exercise. In fact, phentermine is most effective when combined with dietary and lifestyle adjustments to promote weight loss.

When you’re prescribed phentermine, your doctor will also give you a diet plan and realistic exercise expectations. 

And since taking phentermine is a short term option, it’s important to have those healthy lifestyle habits in place when the medication is finished.

How to find out if phentermine is right for you

There’s no doubt that phentermine helps you lose weight faster. But it isn’t an option for everybody.

The only way to get phentermine is with a prescription. So at Valley Medical Weight Loss, we can help you determine whether phentermine is right for you. 

It’s always important to discuss phentermine in detail with your doctor because there are some side-effects that can be exacerbated if you have certain health complications. 

Some of these side effects include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Flushing
  • Hyperactivity
  • Upset stomach

And phentermine should be avoided altogether if you have heart disease, glaucoma, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Ultimately, phentermine is effective and helpful when taken correctly under the guidance of a doctor. And when it’s combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle changes.

Our doctors work with you to figure out the right plan for you—whether it includes phentermine or not.

Contact us to make an appointment and learn more about a personalized weight loss plan to feel healthier and happier again.


  1. Scott, Jennifer R. “The Differences Between Binge Eating and Overeating.” Verywell Mind, 19 July 2020, www.verywellmind.com/when-does-overeating-become-binge-eating-3495807.
  2. DH;, Bray GA;Ryan. “Medical Therapy for the Patient with Obesity.” Circulation, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22474312/.
  3. Haddock CK;Poston WS;Dill PL;Foreyt JP;Ericsson M; “Pharmacotherapy for Obesity: a Quantitative Analysis of Four Decades of Published Randomized Clinical Trials.” International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders : Journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11850760/.