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Why is weight gain associated with increased anxiety?

18 Answers
Last Updated: 04/13/2021 at 6:23pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United Kingdom
Moderated by

Lisa Meighan, BSc Psychology (Honours)


Hello, I am Lisa and I work in a person-centred approach mixed with cognitive behavioural therapy. I believe we all have the potential to be the best we can be.

Top Rated Answers
June 15th, 2015 9:02pm
This can sometimes be the case, in my understanding, as some people find eating to be comforting, and I would fathom a guess that when feeling anxious many people might not feel inclined to exercise and the like. However, in my current personal understanding, some people also find eating a challenge when experiencing increased anxiety.
May 4th, 2015 10:56pm
When some people get anxious, they eat to distract themselves. For some people, eating is a coping method.
June 22nd, 2015 4:04am
weight gain can be associated with increase anxiety because of the additional symptoms it produces like agitation, constant worry, depression can be triggered. these things can either slow you down and reduce your motivation or increase the chance of you using food to cope. It can also mess with your metabolism either slowing it down or increasing making you feel more hungry. slowing your metabolism down of course will make you body digest foods slower.
December 14th, 2015 10:46am
Weight gain is associated with increased anxiety because people are concerned about their body image. When a person has gained some weight, they may think they are not thin anymore, and worry about what people think about them. This is why weight gain is associated with increased anxiety.
January 5th, 2016 2:25am
Weight gain can be realted to increased anxiety, it can also be connected to several other factora... But also increased anxiety can be a reason for weight loss
January 18th, 2016 3:51am
It could be something related to coping mechanisms, like eating more foods, especially comfort ones, as a way to deal with stress. Stress also causes actual physical changes to the digestive system, particularly stomach acid levels. This can cause indigestion, overeating or undereating, and irregular eating schedules from malfunctioning signals between your digestive system and your brain. Note that this is common with depression too. Also, things that are making you anxious can also disrupt your eating schedule. Say, you're anxious about a huge project, and that project is taking up a lot of time, so you are too busy that you don't eat on time or only eat junk food snacks here and there when you can.
January 18th, 2016 4:30pm
people do not like anything that is not in their favour. When you have increased weight they mock you as you are a vulnerable target and that causes doubt and self hate
July 4th, 2016 11:55pm
The adrenal glands on top of the kidneys have a big part to play in having anxiety. When they are stressed a larger amount of cortisol can flood the bloodstream, making weight gain very possible.
July 11th, 2016 10:17am
When we are anxiety, we resort to some of our most basic instincts on how to regain our mental composure. This includes eating and refraining from physical activity, because they both provide immediate comfort from the stressful state we're in.
September 27th, 2016 8:56pm
Weight gain probably occurs with increased anxiety since stress can make people eat more to comfort themselves.
September 19th, 2017 6:02pm
It can be very stressful gaining weight as there are so many aspects of our society that pressure us to look skinny and avoid being overweight for health reasons. When we gain weight, many of those pressures can lead to symptoms of anxiety. We should understand that weight gain (and loss!) is fluid and will go up and down throughout many times in our lives. There should be a greater focus on general wellbeing, inclusive of mental and physical health than just on personal image.
December 4th, 2017 2:10pm
Sometimes people eat more when they are anxious, as a way to calm their anxieties. We tend to eat "comfort food" to make ourselves feel better, which can contribute to weight gain. Actually, exercise can be a very good way to help anxiety, by releasing tensions. It is also a good way to keep the weight off if you're tempted to eat too much.
December 5th, 2017 1:53pm
There is some truth in 'eating your feelings'. It is a distraction from things that are on your mind. Eating can also trigger the pleasure centre in the brain giving it a reward when you feel low or anxious. This gets reinforced every time one eats to feel better. Also anxiety medication can be weight gaining and/or appetite stimulating x
April 24th, 2018 10:51pm
Anxiety and stress often result in stress eating. Many foods provide spikes in dopamine or serotonin that make you feel better. But then the spike goes down and you eat some more. The thing to remember is that you need to eat, but you should do so in a healthy way. Balanced meals. Exercise can also help with anxiety. The important thing is to do everything in moderation. Not too much and not too little. There is a lot of wiggle room though, so you don't need to worry about that.
July 3rd, 2018 9:01pm
A change in appetite can be a symptom of anxiety, among other things. Some people tend to eat more when they're stressed, others tend to lose appetite and eat very little.
July 24th, 2018 12:39pm
Anxiety can cause your brain to release chemicals that may affect your digestive system and metabolism. That can cause you to either lose or gain weight.
February 4th, 2019 7:47pm
Weight gain is associated with increased anxiety for many reasons, they go hand in hand. Weight gain can cause anxiety as there is judgement involved from people around you. Additionally anxiety can cause weight gain: often people turn to comfort eating when they feel anxious and stressed. Additionally, anxiety can prevent people from leaving the house and entering the world, meaning they may not get the exercise they need to maintain a healthy weight. This means that not only is weight gain a cause of anxiety, but it is also a byproduct of anxiety - a viscous cycle that can be difficult to break free from.
April 13th, 2021 6:23pm
Mostly when we are anxious we tend to eat a lot. Most of us associate food/eating with comfort and safety. It is essential in survival process. But we are not here to survive, it has already been taken care of, we are here to live. Another things is when we are anxious, we loose the desire 5o do exercise or any physical work. We just want to sit somewhere keep things, trying to feel comfortable. It is a proven fact that exercise can have impact on your mental health, a fit body can sustain a healthy mind. Now all these food and less movement, it leads to fat creation us making us chubby. If you feel anxious, try going for a walk inna garden or something, stay in touch with nature, have a talk with friends or some wonderful listeners over here (you are welcome here) Hope this could help. Have a nice day buddy :)