During a stress reaction, the digestive system is restricted. The energy normally required to function the digestive system is diverted to fuel essential survival mechanisms.
If the stress response is chronically active, irrespective of the cause, the body does not have time to restore the relaxed state of homeostasis. If an individual’s body does not get time to recover and restore after a stress response, digestion and metabolism is slowed which will often result in weight gain.
When a person is suffering from stress they will often feel like they don’t have enough time to complete all the tasks that they have to do. As such eating habits may be changed. Stressed individuals may eat at different times and consume fast food that are often high in sugar that will increase their blood sugar levels which will inevitably drop off which will subsequently lead to more food consumed to increase blood sugar levels again often leading to weight gain.
In addition to this the emotional impact of stress means that a person may be more inclined to relive their stress or pressures through emotional eating.
Conversly, stress may lead to individuals to loose their appetite. Not only could this lead to weight loss but could also result in severe vitamin and mineral deficiencies and illness.