Coping with Stress? Cheat on Your Diet.

I’m Dr. Michael Olpin. Let me help you get rid of your stress … for good.

Article Highlights

  • When restrictions are placed on foods, those are the foods you focus on
  • Restricting calories leads to a rise in cortisol – a stress hormone
  • Irregular cortisol levels can also alter blood sugar and metabolism which leads to weight gain

“That which you resist, tends to persist” – and gets bigger.

Ever noticed that the longer you battle a craving, the stronger it gets?

Suddenly, the thought of a satisfying piece of chocolate becomes the uncontrollable urge to eat the whole bag.


A recent study showed this result when they asked three groups of female college students to think about chocolate, avoid thinking about chocolate, or think about whatever they wanted.

Guess who ended up eating the most chocolate?

Yep, it was the group that tried to avoid thinking about it.1 Coping with Stress? Cheat on Your Diet. 1

Many times when people “diet,” they create a list of things they can and can’t eat. The things they can’t eat become the things they focus on, and that leads to overeating.

Instead, have a small treat and don’t worry about it. Enjoy it. The treat will satisfy the craving and the worry free attitude may fend off another problem with dieting – the negative effects of stress.

Why the Stress Hormone Cortisol Matters

When scientists followed females on a strict diet for three weeks, they found that those who followed the strict low calorie diets, were the most likely to have a rise in the stress hormone cortisol.2

Cortisol’s job is to store energy, (that means fat), especially around the arteries and in the abdomen – neither one is a dieter’s dream.

Too much or too little cortisol can also alter blood sugar levels and metabolism which can increase appetite and weight gain.3

So lowering stress levels is not only important if you want to feel great, but also if you want to lose those extra pounds.

Some of the best stress remedies include breathing techniques, meditation, and guided imagery. All of which can be found in my online course RELEASE.

1. Effects of thought suppression on eating behavior in restrained and non-restrained eaters. Erskine, J. A., Georgiou, G. J., Appetite 2010 Jun;54(3):499-503.
2. Low calorie dieting increases cortisol. Tomiyama, A. J. et al., Psychosomatic Medicine 2010 May; 72(4):357-364.
3. Stress Management for Life, Second Edition, Olpin, M., Hesson, M., Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2010, p.245.


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