Can anxiety and stress cause weight loss? Comprehensive Doctors’ Guide

Can anxiety and stress cause weight loss?

Stress and anxiety can cause a number of unwanted effects in your life, but how do stress and anxiety cause weight loss? Stress is unavoidable in life. It’s a normal response to any major change. However, stress can get out of control, and become a negative influence in your life. When you’re under stress, your body reacts defensively by shutting down nonessential functions and processes.

This is the reason why you feel so tired and lethargic when you feel stressed. This cycle can continue indefinitely, and sooner or later, you’ll become discouraged and develop a negative view of life. This is the exact opposite of what you want to achieve in order to achieve optimal weight loss results.

It is very difficult to live with anxiety without experiencing stress, and vice versa. They’re both holding hands. Both emotions can cause weight gain and loss.

In this article, we’re going to answer this and other questions related to anxiety and weight, but first, we tell you how anxiety and/or stress cause weight loss.


How do anxiety and stress cause weight loss?

Lack of appetite

One of the most common symptoms, at the time you were diagnosed with anxiety or stress, is a lack of appetite or no desire to eat. With less interest in eating, you eat fewer calories than your body needs. This lack of calories results in weight loss.

When you feel stressed, you start to lose the urge to eat because of the amount of “things” and “noise” in your mind. You can see that you have hardly any appetite and when you start eating you feel like you’re getting satious very quickly. This happens to you and you don’t even realize it, because the word hunger doesn’t appear in your vocabulary. This causes significant weight loss.

In addition to having no interest in food, anxiety, and stress can simply make you forget to eat.

For example, what stresses you is a work situation, and you feel stressed by the uncertainty of whether or not you will finish a certain job on time, because it depends on whether you are renewed, or not, the contract. This will cause you to lose a lot of meals while trying to finish the job on time. The result of this results in weight loss.

You can easily adopt unhealthy eating habits. Even when you’re stressed try not to skip any food and try to make it as healthy as possible.

Nervous movements

One of the best-known ways to lose weight is by exercising. Cardio is an example of exercise with which you lose a lot of weight. Walking or walking light is cardio.

But what does this have to do with anxiety or stress? Well, people who are living anxiously or stressed move restlessly, back and forth, and sometimes even restless those around.

These movements cause a calorie-burning similar to that performed in a cardio session, because of those constant movements


One of the most common medical recommendations, when diagnosed with stress or anxiety, is to perform some activity you like, exercise, or sport.

If the activity you choose is exercise or sport to generate more well-being to better control your emotions, you may notice weight loss.

Exercise is highly recommended for all people, especially those with anxiety or stress, as exercise causes you to generate the hormone of well-being. The hormone that makes you feel happier and therefore a better mood.

Exercising can help you lose weight when this routine is incorporated as part of a comprehensive healthy weight loss plan. However, involuntary weight loss due to over-exercise anxiety or any of the other reasons listed here can put your health at risk.

Before you start exercising, we recommend that you consult with an expert.

Can anxiety and stress cause weight loss?


Insomnia, little or nothing sleep, is one of the common symptoms of stress and anxiety. People who experience these emotions are often restless and have difficulty sleeping, if they sleep, it is not enough.

When you have insomnia, your body doesn’t generate the right amounts of cortisol. It’s a stress-related hormone. The production of this hormone affects your metabolism. You have a faster metabolism and because you’re not eating, it results in weight loss.

Being awake longer, your body needs more energy than it would need if you had slept the recommended number of hours. This causes your body to look into its energy reserves to get the energy it needs, this can lead to weight loss.

Even if you’re stressed, your body needs rest and you should try to sleep. If you find it impossible to fall asleep by your means, you should consult your doctor. You can prescribe sleeping pills or other alternatives to get to sleep normally.

Don’t take over-the-counter medication pills, as they can be very harmful to your health and further aggravate symptoms of anxiety or stress.

Production of stress hormones.

When you have anxiety or stress, your body enters a state of struggle or flight. This state is also known as a response to acute stress and is how your body responds to what causes stress or anxiety.

When you’re in this state, your body produces adrenaline and cortisol. Both hormones help you react and stay alert during stressful, dangerous, or unknown situations. The problem with these hormones is that they have side effects.

Adrenaline prepares your body for important physical activity as if you were running or fighting and this hormone also reduces your appetite. Adrenaline also causes faster heart rate and breathing, which also help burn more calories.

On the other hand, cortisol usually suppresses digestive, reproductive, and immunological functions, among others. When your body digests less times, it means your body isn’t getting nutrients and those it has can throw them away as waste. This could also lead to weight loss, as not digesting food results in a calorie deficit.

Stress causes gastrointestinal discomfort

Stress and anxiety affect most parts of the gastrointestinal system. Causes symptoms such as:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Gases
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Feeling nauseous and vomiting.
  • Acidity
  • Reduced appetite
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain when swallowing food.

All of these symptoms will affect you directly in your eating routines and therefore make you eat less. Causing weight loss.

Anxiety medications can lead to weight loss

If you’re experiencing severe anxiety, your doctor will most likely prescribe drug treatment to help you deal with it. Some of these medications have side effects that can cause weight loss.

Here are some of the medications and how they cause weight loss:

  • Benzodiazepines. This medicine acts as a central nervous system depressant. Side effects of this medicine include nausea, vomiting, and upset stomach. These side effects can easily lead to weight loss.
  • Venlafaxine and Desvenlafaxine. These two medications are likely to cause you to lose your appetite and therefore cause weight loss.
  • Buspirone. This medicine is known to cause many gastrointestinal buspirone side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and others. These side effects can lead to weight loss.
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors. These medications also have gastrointestinal side effects, which can lead to weight loss.

Here are some examples of anxiety medications that can cause weight loss due to their side effects.

Can anxiety and stress cause weight GAIN?

Stress and anxiety can also cause weight gain. And here are some ways these two emotions can cause weight gain:

  • Cravings for unhealthy foods. Some people crave foods like chocolates, pizza, chips, and other unhealthy foods when they experience anxiety or stress. These are high-calorie foods and regular consumption of these foods is likely to cause weight gain.
  • Lack of sleep. Some people, when they can’t sleep, decide to eat at night. This can lead to weight gain. On the other hand, not as you don’t burn the calories you eat, as it’s night and your body is inactive, this often leads to weight gain.
  •  Reduced motivation to do anything. People who are stressed are tired most of the time. Lack of physical activity can lead to weight gain, as you’re just eating and lethargic without doing anything to help burn the calories you’ve consumed, resulting in weight gain.

When people have anxiety and stress, they often turn to food to help cope. People who have lots of stress and anxiety in their life may have a hard time sticking with a healthy diet plan that will lead to weight loss.

When someone is stressed, they are more likely to make unhealthy food choices. They may choose to indulge in fatty foods or sweets as a way of coping with their fears or worries. These types of indulgences can quickly cause one’s weight to skyrocket.

How Anxiety and Stress Affect Weight Loss

Many people are quick to see their anxieties as the cause of their weight issues. They say that their anxieties make them overeat and want to stay away from food. But is this really true? Anxiety can be a contributing factor, but it’s not necessarily the sole reason one might lose weight.

Anxiety and chronic stress are different, but they often go hand in hand. Chronic stress is defined as stress that lasts more than six months, while anxiety is a feeling of worry or fear that has a specific trigger.

Both have the potential to increase one’s risk for many other health problems such as depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. When anxiety and chronic stress are combined they can be the catalyst for significant weight loss in people who struggle with emotional eating. Some people lose 10-15 percent of your overall body weight due to anxiety and chronic stress alone!

There are many causes of weight loss like dieting or being pregnant, but it is possible for someone to lose weight due to anxiety or chronic stress without trying.

It does not happen every time an individual experiences these emotions; however, those who do may notice significant changes in their body composition when the emotional eating habits kick in because they reach for higher-calorie foods like carbohydrates and sugary snacks.

How Does Anxiety and stress Cause Weight Loss?

People with anxiety and intense stress may lose their appetite. In these instances, people feel less hungry or get full when they just take a bite. What you may not realize is that you are either eating too little or starving yourself.

Some other people may end up throwing up to relieve anxiety and stress. This is because intense stress and anxiety can cause nausea but also some people may decide to force a throwing up due to their condition.

People also deal with anxiety by over-exercising. There are many people who believe the more they exercise, the better they feel. This isn’t always true, though.

In fact, when someone exercises too much it can cause them to lose lean muscle mass and become fatigued easily. Exercise should be done within an appropriate time frame and not obsessively–especially if you’re already experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety.

woman walking on pathway during daytime

How to Manage Anxiety and Stress to avoid weight loss

Anxiety and stress can cause weight loss, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to avoid. The key is self-awareness. If you are aware of the way your anxiety and stress are affecting your weight, you’re better able to make changes in your lifestyle.

To manage stress and anxiety levels, try eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and talking with someone about what’s bothering you. These activities will help you stay on track for your weight loss goals.

Strategies for Managing Anxiety and Stress

There are many ways to manage anxiety and stress. One of the best ways is to make an effort to get more healthy sleep. Sleep deprivation will make it easier for your anxieties to control you and cause weight gain instead of weight loss.

A lack of sleep will not only lead you to overeat, but it will also increase your chances of depression and other health problems that can affect your weight.

To combat these issues, try taking up a hobby. Hobbies are not just valuable in reducing boredom and providing entertainment–they can also help reduce anxiety levels by occupying your mind with something else.

Another way, which may be the most important thing you can do, is learning how to deal with your feelings without turning to food when you are feeling anxious or stressed out.

When you feel like any type of negative emotion is coming on, try using deep breathing exercises or meditation techniques to help yourself relax. Learning these skills can take time and practice but they will provide long-term benefits as they help you better cope with stress.

Can stress and anxiety make you lose weight?

Anxiety and stress can cause weight loss or weight gain due to their effects on bodily processes. When one is aware of the effect that stress and anxiety will have on them, they can make an effort to come up with a plan to manage their anxieties and lose weight.

Fortunately, there are ways to manage anxiety and stress that will help you continue with your weight loss goals.

Many people are quick to blame their anxieties for their weight issues. They say that their anxieties make them overeat and make them want to stay away from food. Can anxiety and stress cause weight loss? The answer is yes, but only if one is not aware of the effect it will have on them.

Can stress cause rapid weight loss?

Stress hormones that our bodies release when stressed especially with chronic stress can speed up our metabolism, leading to faster burning of calories. Among the hormones that are released are cortisol and ghrelin.

Many people who have had weight loss success report side effects of high levels of stress, like insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Experts say that these high levels of stress can cause calorie restriction and make it easier to lose weight.

In addition to this, there are also those who say that some people may be more sensitive to stress than others, which could mean they will have greater reactions to their bodies releasing these stress hormones.

This is just one example of how anxiety can lead to weight loss even though the person may not realize it. Anxiety can cause other side effects too such as overeating or dieting in an unhealthy way., which will also lead to weight loss for the person.

Why do you lose weight with anxiety?

Why do you lose weight with anxiety?

There are many causes of weight loss, including issues with the thyroid gland, hormonal changes, and even sleep deprivation. However, when people think of weight loss, they often blame their anxieties for the reduction in pounds. But is anxiety really to blame? Or is it something else?

When you experience anxiety or stress, you may not feel hungry or may forget to eat altogether. This could lead to weight loss as your body goes into “survival mode” and focuses on what’s most important at the moment. Hormonal changes also affect appetite; stress can cause a decrease in appetite-regulating hormones like ghrelin and leptin which lead to a decrease in appetite and weight loss.

Anxiety can be difficult to live with, but there are ways to manage it that will help you continue with your weight loss goals. Seek professional help if necessary or try meditation, yoga, exercise, and other self-care activities that will help reduce stress and anxiety as well as promote relaxation and happiness!

What causes loss of weight?

There are many causes of weight loss. Stress and anxiety are two that often go hand in hand. However, they should not be the only cause of weight loss as there are other factors like decrease in body fluid, muscle mass, or fat stores that can cause a person to lose weight.

Anxiety and stress may lead to anorexia, which is when someone has an obsessive desire to stay thin and restricts their food intake. Anorexia can lead to unhealthy habits such as bingeing on food or taking laxatives, which will do nothing to help with weight loss goals.

If one is aware of the effect anxiety has on them and how it will affect their weight, they can make an effort to come up with a plan that will help manage their anxiety by managing their weight.

Does anxiety make you lose your appetite?

Stress and anxiety can lead to many changes in the body, which may make you lose your appetite. Your stomach may get upset and you might not feel like eating. You may also notice that your digestion is affected, which means you will have a harder time breaking down food or absorbing anything that you do eat.

And when it comes to managing your weight, these effects of stress and anxiety are just one more factor to take into account. The good news? There are ways to combat these effects for better weight loss results.

It’s important to find ways that work for you personally. For example, if you’re stressed out by work, then try exercising during lunchtime or finding a different way to relax before going home from work.

If anxiety is making you lose your appetite, then try relaxation methods like meditation or deep breathing exercises. There are lots of ways to manage stress and anxiety so that they don’t stand in the way of your weight loss goals!

What is considered sudden weight loss?

Losing more than 5% of your weight in 6 to 12 months is considered sudden weight loss.

There are many different causes of weight loss, but anxiety and stress are two that often go hand in hand. There are many reasons why one might experience these feelings: work, school, relationships, etc.

But can anxiety cause weight loss? The answer is yes, but only if one is not aware of the effect it will have on them. If one is aware of the effect that stress and anxiety will have on them, they can make an effort to come up with a plan to manage their anxieties and lose weight. Fortunately, there are ways to manage anxiety and stress that will help you continue with your weight loss goals.

How fast can stress make you lose weight?

Stress and anxiety can cause weight loss – for better or for worse. When you are feeling anxious, your body releases a hormone called cortisol that increases your blood sugar levels and speeds up your metabolism.

This will make you feel hungry, especially for sweet or salty foods because it stimulates your brain’s reward center. If you don’t eat those high-calorie foods, it may result in weight loss from the hormone imbalance.

That’s not always a good thing though! Rapid weight loss from stress hormones can speed up our metabolism, causing us to burn calories faster than normal which can lead to muscle breakdown and weight gain if we don’t know how to take care of ourselves properly.

Can stress make you lose weight even if you are eating?

Stress can be a big cause of weight loss. Stress can make you lose if you are eating, but only if you have no way to manage your stress. Have you ever heard the quote “anxiety makes one fat”? It’s not just because they are stressed out.

When someone with anxiety is under a lot of stress, they will often eat more and find themselves making poor food choices that may be high in fat or sugar.

They might also stop eating altogether and their body starts breaking down muscle tissue instead of using it for energy. But when one is able to manage their stress and anxiety this doesn’t happen!


Anxiety and stress can cause weight loss in some people. Stress and anxiety can also cause weight gain in other people. So it is important to manage the stress and anxiety in your life to avoid weight loss. There are many strategies that you can use to do this, such as exercise, meditation, or deep breathing. The key is to find a strategy that works for you.

However, it is important to note that there is positive stress (Eustress) and harmful stress ( distress). Eustress may help you grow and also gain more resilience.


What is Stress?

Stress is a normal response to your body that occurs when you feel threatened or in danger. Your body is preparing for a fight-flight-freeze response, which prepares your body to face the threat and either fight back, flee, or try to stay as still as possible. In today’s society, most people experience some level of stress at work or in their private lives. This can result in feelings of anxiety and depression.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or uneasiness. It is the anticipation of future dangers and troubles. In some cases, anxiety can make you feel as if you are constantly on edge. You might experience physical symptoms like muscle tension, shortness of breath, fatigue, and insomnia.

What are some of the causes of weight loss?

There are many causes of weight loss. Some people might lose weight because they’ve limited their calorie intake, while others might have a medical condition that causes them to lose weight without trying.

How do stress and anxiety affect weight loss?

Stress and anxiety can cause one to overeat and make one want to avoid food. When we are stressed, it releases cortisol into our brains which makes us crave high-sugar or high-calorie foods and may result in overeating which leads to an increase in weight gain and obesity. Stress also suppresses our immune system which can lead to an increase in chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, depression, and chronic pain.

Is there a way for me to manage my stress so I don’t gain weight?

Yes! There are ways for you to manage your stress so you do not gain any more weight! Here’s what you need to do: First off, try getting enough sleep every night (7-8 hours). Secondly, try eating a healthy diet so your body has the energy it needs but not too much that will leave you more tired than before. Thirdly is taking care of yourself through activities such as exercise or meditation which will help with your anxiety levels. Lastly is giving yourself time throughout the day for relaxation by reading a book or listening to music

Dr. David Barlow

David is a well-known researcher and author in the anxiety disorders area with extensive research on their etiology, nature, and treatment. He started the site to share his real-life experiences on the management of anxiety disorders with successful diagnosis and treatment being his motivation to write or review the content on this site.