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What stress precipitated your weight gain

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    Weight doesn’t suddenly appear on your body. Think back in your life to consider what was happening before you started putting on those extra pounds. Can you remember a specific event or situation in your life that precipitated your weight gain?


    You bet. Parents divorce when I was 12. Shitty job situation in my mid 20’s, then two non sleeping kids in my 30’s…… Then trying and trying to force the weight off each time via restriction and overtraining! Just like the doctor told me to do. Big help!

    Matt Stone

    I often tell people about my mom. Her weight has been almost completely stable for the last 15 years. But she gained exactly 10 pounds on two occasions – all in one month with no noticeable change in her eating at all… both times coinciding with the stress of a new job. Both weight gain periods precisely during that first month of the new job. I hear this thing ALL the time from people. While stress doesn’t cause everyone to gain weight, those that are prone to weight gain often find serious stressors very fattening.


    This is kind of interesting. Now that I’m at the back end of all this and have the perspective to look back, I can say that I watched my mom slowly die over the course of about 5 years, (complications from radiation she had in the early 80s). During this time I was trying to get a handle on my PCOS and get pregnant and heal my husband’s ulcerative colitis (which is how I found Matt) and get him to face childhood issues and trauma faced being a police officer, all the while getting more and more disillusioned about my job as a teacher. (Can’t imagine why I couldn’t get pregnant, ha!) I think the extra 15 really piled on when we sold our house and moved in with my parents to help my dad keep a handle on the house and bills.

    Fast forward to one year ago, almost exactly. I found out I was pregnant the day my mother passed away, pretty unexpectedly (we thought she had some years left). I lost the pregnancy two months later, and two months after that my husband looked at me and said he couldn’t live here anymore, packed up a guitar and Playstation and a few pairs of socks, and ran away in some sort of post-traumatic-stressed induced return to adolescence, then filed for divorce.

    The scary thing is that I’ve been weight stable through this whole thing. I wonder if it’s because I’m here, aware that I need to be gentle with myself and eat whatever sounds good and whatever allows me to sleep. The winter was tough, but I’ve come so far. I have to remind myself not to get caught up in the story–it’s just that. My day to day is not drama-filled. My husband’s lack of coping skills and instability are now his problem, not mine. I wish him no ill-will and pray that he finds his way, of course, but here in the present moment, I am taking care of myself. I am grateful that I had a mother who had more wisdom in her 53 years than most and modeled for me how to handle all the craziness life throws at us sometimes.

    My story is not unique, and I’ve met so many people who have experienced this piling up of one crazy thing after another. For now I will just hope to keep weight stable and continue to work on healing. It’s amazing how much we can grow in just a year’s time. It’s like the universe decided to offer me a special, crash-course in figuring out some of life’s hardest lessons:)


    Your self-knowledge and intuition are powerful allies in maintaining your health and well-being, despite all of the swirling mess that goes around you. It sounds to me like you on the right path, with the support and love you received from your mom.
    from the heart,


    I’d be interested to hear about the other side, too- when has stress precipitated weight loss? Both in unhealthy ways (wasting away), and in healthy ways (reaching a turning point and turning one’s life around).

    Like Carbosaurus Rex posted some time ago (and The Real Amy reposted)
    I USED to be a certified personal trainer and holistic nutritionist. Over the last few years I’ve been approached by quite a few people about how to lose weight. And only one person has been able to lose fat in a healthy way. Ive seen her everyday for 3 years here is her story.

    When i met her she had some bad habits. Drinking, smoking, eating junk, stressing out, not sleeping well, etc. She was at her highest weight at that time 3 years ago with about 50 extra pounds of fat.

    When she asked for my advice, I gave her general recommendations. Eat to appetite of any food you think is good for you. Do moderate weight training. Sleep more. Watch less t.v etc. She began eating more often, and being more active. In a year she was riding her bike to work. She cooked her own dinner almost every night. Got into a stable relationship. Got into school, got a raise at her job. She only kept friends around who were positive.

    Time past and she would ask for a tip here and there, but mostly she did all the work herself. About a month ago I noticed she looked really good! Her hair was glossy, skin clear, good.posture , and a bright attitude. She told me she had lost about 5o lbs !

    Granted , she is a young woman. She probably has a hormonal advantage, but she did it the SLOW way. Over three years she did a complete 180 ! And bit by bit the weight came off without resorting to restriction or extremes. I think weight loss is a result of living the best life you can.


    My weight gain was precipitated by selling our home, and moving 4 times (long story) pregnancy during this time with preterm labor and bedrest in another state than my 1- and (special needs) 4-year-olds, birth of a beautiful and very medically fragile child, 9 months in intensive care in two hospitals, one of them out of state, bringing this fragile child home who everyone thought would die in the first months (turned blue and needed to be resuscitated often in the early months) and setting up an intensive care unit in my home with inadequate nursing help and very little sleep for the first 2 years, dealing with nurses in my home and agency issues, while pumping milk for the first 16 months, a year of which was with Domperidone to override my body saying “no, too much stress, not enough calories or sleep”.

    The week I stopped pumping, I gained a pound. And continued at this rate until a year later I weighed 50lbs more than my normal baseline.

    My son is now 3.5yrs, happy and pretty and much more stable though still trached and medically complex, and we have the nursing help we need, and I eat 2,400-2,500 calories a day. And I still carry the extra 50lbs, and would do it all over again. But would love to find myself again in all of this, even still.


    I dunno. I was wanting to lose 20-25 pounds back at the beginning of 2010. That’s when I gave up gluten (autoimmune diseases) and went paleo. Lost about 10-15 pounds, then decided to try Crossift in May, and promptly gained over the course of the rest of the year. That surprised me at the time, but doesn’t now.

    At the beginning of 2011 I quit Crossfit and didn’t take up any other exercise to speak of. Still GF, still Paleo (although not very strictly), and lost 20 pounds by the fall and kept it off through the end of the year. Then in 2012 I started gaining it back, and nothing I did seemed to have any effect, and I was higher than I started by the end of the year.

    In all this time the only other stressful occurrence was the death of my father in the summer of 2011, but even so he was 91 so not unexpected. The weight just seems to do whatever it wants.

    Now I’ve gained another 10 pounds eating the food, and none of my clothes fit. NOW I’m getting stressed. Maybe I’ll start losing again. Ha.


    You’re forgetting that your weight set point is going to bring you back to your original weight- that’s the problem with “dieting” and over-exercising. It’s just a temporary place for the 95% of people who diet and exercise.
    And it’s NOT because you are eating more, or exercising less. It’s Nature’s method to keep you from starving to death.
    AND both of those attempts at weight loss put your body into a stress – so even when you are thinking that your life wasn’t stressful, your eating/exercising could have been (depending upon how little you were eating, and how much you were exercising).
    And btw, no matter how old your father was, it is a major transition in life to lose a parent…
    So, don’t go on another diet!


    For me I think it was exercise.

    I was about 125lbs and exercised every day. I ran and did a variety of DVD workouts, from dancing to pilates and yoga and everything in between. My weight gain started when I decided to change it up and get on the exercise bike for an hour at a time, three times per week. I did an “interval” workout on the bike, which means climbing hills, and also had three pound weights in each hand, pumping my arms in various ways. According to the bike’s measurements I would burn 450 calories with each workout, not including the weights, so let’s estimate perhaps burning 600+ calories (?) When I tell this story, everyone then says “so you must have looked great burning all those calories!” Um no. The conclusion of the story is that in three months I gained 10 lbs! All fat, all in my midsection.

    Since then it seemed like all other exercise just continued to stress me out. I literally would get up and put on my workout clothes and procrastinate until noon because I just did not want to workout! So little by little, no matter what I ate I just started slowly gaining, getting another spurt of weight gain after doing Jillian Michaels workouts for a few months.

    Cortisol is my arch nemesis!

    I’ve just always worked out and taking a break from that has been really hard. I’m just barely starting to work out again a few times per week but really only doing things that I enjoy and monitoring my temperatures. I’m dancing and doing yoga and that’s it.

    Another huge cause of stress in the last few years is getting more and more involved in the traditional food movement. I have read so much and even taught so many WAPF based classes that I had become so stressed and afraid of all processed foods, especially those that were not prepared according to WAPF standards. Yes there are lots of traditional foods that I enjoy, like kombucha and sauerkraut, but my whole body would just sort of tense up if I saw a raw kale salad (the goitrogens and phytic acid! Oh the horror!!!) Unsprouted beans?! Unfermented grains?! Oh, no no no no NO! And what evil thing is Monsanto doing now? And the bees! They are all going extinct! What are we going to do about that?!!

    I’m so tired of the stress. Now every Sunday my family and I go to a local lake to go jet skiing. We eat chips and dips and grill hot dogs and drink margaritas. I’ve said this before on another thread, that I am fine with the fact that I will most likely die of hot dog and margarita cancer. I would rather that than all the illnesses I have attained because of my stress. I am not there yet, but I am working hard and just chillin and being happy.

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