Over the past four decades, Green Mountain at Fox Run has helped thousands of women end struggles with eating, exercise and body image, make long-term healthy lifestyle changes and lose weight permanently.

Stress-Linked Weight Gain Not All About Calories, Study Suggests

By on 07/29/2014

Stress Shown To Slow Metabolic Rate In Women

stress linked weight gain studyIt’s normal to eat when you’re stressed sometimes.  You’ve had a hard day at work so you go to a drive through restaurant for a cheeseburger and fries and try to unwind. Doing that time and time again, you notice your weight begin to creep up.  You think to yourself, “Geez, I really need to cut back from all this stress eating or go on a diet.” But what you may not know is that it can be the stress itself that’s throwing off your metabolism and causing you to gain weight.  It’s not a simple matter of more calories consumed.

The Ohio State University Study On Stress and Metabolism

Ohio State University (OSU) researchers found that women who were stressed in a 24-hour time period before consuming a high-fat meal similar to that of a two-patty hamburger and french fries — an often go-to meal when people are stressed — burned 104 fewer calories after eating than non-stressed women.

58 women (with an average age of 53) went through the experiment twice.  They were given three measured meals the previous day, then fasted for 12 hours before consuming a high-fat meal on the day of the study.


“We figured stress and depression alter so much in our lives, physiologically, but no one has really looked at metabolism, so it was an interesting  opportunity to see how they might affect the metabolic process,” said Kiecolt-Glaser.

The Body Burns Its Largest Percentage Of Daily Calories Resting

After the meal, the women reclined for seven hours while their resting metabolic rates – or resting energy expenditure  – were measured.  Resting energy expenditure accounts for 65 to 70 percent of all calories burned daily in the average person.

Read This Related Article: De-Stress More Healthfully
To objectively measure stress levels before each round of the experiment, researchers asked  the women to complete a daily inventory of stressful events (DISE) test. The most common stressful events women reported involved interpersonal problems, such work-related issues, spousal disagreements or difficulty with children.


“These are things that tend to be the most stressful for people,” Kiecolt-Glaser said. “And I think people are still thinking about things and remembering them and still dealing with them [the next day.]”

Analysis Of The DISE Test Results

Researchers found that women who had at least one stressful event in the previous 24 hours burned 104 fewer calories than women who reported no stressors.  Additionally, women who had reported the stressful events demonstrated higher insulin levels after their meals. This data not only supports other research suggesting that stress and depression may promote insulin resistance, but also offers a mechanism for how that might occur.

Yo-Yo Dieting and Weight Worries Also Cause Stress

The OSU study supports our non-diet approach to healthy weight management.  Many women automatically feel stressed when dieting, and we’ve often written about how dieting actually increases the risk for weight gain. Yo-Yo dieting,  where a person loses weight, gains it back (often with additional weight), and diets again only to repeat the cycle, is linked to chronic inflammation, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and unhealthy body fat.

Intuitive Eating Can Help You Reduce Stress

Mindful or intuitive eating leads to healthier eating for many weight strugglers. Last week, in fact, another study showed that intuitive eating programs for weight management may be much more effective than traditional weight loss programs.

So, when you find yourself stressed and/or gaining weight, try to avoid restrictive eating because it may only add to your weight problems. Take a step back, breathe or meditate, and look for ways to de-stress healthfully – including practicing mindful eating — to manage your healthy weight.
Learn More About Our Behavioral and Emotional Health Program

The Binge Eating Diaries: Making The Switch To A Healthy Lifestyle

By on 07/24/2014

It hasn’t been an easy road. There have been hurdles to jump over, rocks to trip over, and mountains to climb… or shall I say – cakes to jump over, spaghetti to trip over, and ice cream sundaes to climb? (Just some good old-fashioned food humor to start us off today, eh?) Over the past few years, people have asked […] Read more »

groundwork for happiness is good health

How to Awaken Your “Inner Athlete” (yeah, she’s in there)

By on 07/23/2014

Connect With Your Body Through Movement A big part of the Green Mountain at Fox Run healthy living program is fitness. Or a better term might be “movement.” Read Our Most Frequently Asked QuestionsThe idea is that through movement, we connect with our bodies. And the more connected we are, the more our bodies can intuitively tell us what we need—especially […] Read more »

happiness is getting the hula-hoop going

Creating Healthy Habits: 5 Strategies to Bridge the Gap between Insight and Action

By on 07/22/2014

Cultivating a healthier lifestyle is the only research proven approach for healthy weight loss and this forms the foundation of the Green Mountain program. Read This Related Article: Stopping Negative Self TalkMany of the women who come to Green Mountain understand that their years of dieting not only didn’t work, but was damaging to their body and their psyche. They […] Read more »

5 strategies for creating healthy habits

Getting Past Food Obsession – Food as Fuel for Body & Mind

By on 07/17/2014

I stumbled across the following blog post I wrote for Carla Birnberg’s site five years ago this week and was struck about how relevant it still is. Actually, I find that’s true of a lot of the blog posts we’ve written over the last nine years, since we started writing A Weight Lifted. That’s your invitation to scroll through the wealth of innovative […] Read more »

food as fuel
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