Why stress and chocolate are a great duo to undermine weight loss

  • Do you know someone who went through a tough time and put on the pounds?
  • Do you grab the chocolate when you are feeling stressed?

The big monster called stress is a force to be reckoned with as its impact on weight gain is huge

Your brain has a very primitive reaction to stress and within nano seconds gets your body ready for fight or flight. This primitive reaction stems from the Stone Age, where stress flared up when you met a bear during the hunt or got into another dangerous situation. If you didn’t fight or flight, you would be dead. Parts of your brain are still programmed in that way and when you feel stressed, the reaction is still primitive.


In an acute stress situation your brain will create an explosive amount of adrenaline. You can feel that in your heartbeat, sweaty hands, change in breathing and muscles tensing, to prepare you for running or fighting. Simultaneously, the glucose metabolism of your liver increases and your digestive systems have come to a standstill. All because your brain wants you to use all your energy to help you survive.

In the Stone Age, the caveman or woman would have their stress moment and then got time to relax and let their body get rid of the adrenaline.

In this day and age, most people don’t take that time to relax and as a result there is an almost continuous production of adrenaline. Consequence is that the body starts to crave ‘quick energy fixes’, like fat and sugar. Meanwhile, the digestive system is holding onto food reserves to support the fight or flight.


To make things worse, the brain also produces extra cortisol when it experiences stress. Cortisol is produced continuously as your body needs this to regulate a range of physical functions, such as controlling blood sugar levels and regulating metabolism. When blood sugar levels are unstable, you will experience cravings and eat more. A lower metabolism leads to weight gain.

You are inclined to eat more and your body will hold onto its calorific energy. A double whammy for weight gain.

Can’t think and need of comfort

Next thing to consider is that it is difficult to concentrate and focus when under duress and many people fall of the bandwagon of healthy eating when stress levels are high. Again, the primitive brain kicks in and begs for food which releases energy quickly. Food with high levels of fat and sugar. ‘Food’ like chocolate. Your thinking capacity is lower, your will power is lower, your need for ‘bad’ food is high and you are longing for comfort.

The answer is: chocolate

Chocolate produces dopamine in the body: the hormone of bear hugs, safety and belonging. Our primitive brain recognizes something else in chocolate. Its sweet, smooth, silky and creamy components are similar to mother milk. And when you eat chocolate your subconscious mind recreates the feelings of being a baby, held warmly against a body, feeling safe and happy and being fed the sweet nectar of love.

Is there more to say?

The aim of this article is to give you a better understanding of the link between stress and weight gain.

This guest blog is written by Dr Mariette Jansen who is a qualified and experienced psychotherapist, life coach, meditation teacher, NLP and EFT practitioner, writer and award winning blogger. Since 2001 her focus is on helping people too overcome anxiety, build confidence and discover their life purpose.To find solutions on how to stress less, you can visit her website here for articles or go to her Facebook page here for regular tips. If you would like to receive her weekly tips from the coaching couch go HERE

Of course the EatWright Plan can help you to get rid of your sugar cravings so you can become healthier, fitter and slimmer forever. Want to know more about it? Go here

To better Health,

Leonie x