The effects of stress on bosy composition

I have noticed a very interesting pattern over the years whilst using Bioimpedance analysis for monitoring body composition and cellular health.

Clients on weight managment or fat loss programs are often concerned when going away on holidays that they will go backwards and undo all of the good work they have done.

When asked for my advice as to what they should do, if it is an international trip, I often suggest they apply what they have learned about nutrition and regulating their blood sugar levels as much as possible, but not to the extent they get axious or ti the detriment of their holiday. I tell them to surrender and just enjoy themselves.

The reason is because I have found that it is extremely common that, when returning, clients have often lost more fat or stayed very similar, despite relaxing their discipline with food choices quite considerably.


One explanation is that they may exercise more on holiday. Yes, but I’ve seen this regularly with people on cruises also, and they are often not that active.

I believe it is because they really relax when they go away and forget about their day to day stressors.

Stress really plays a huge part in weight gain as stress activates adrenal hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) which stimulate the liver to release more sugar into the bloodstream.

Very often, clients who are extremely busy and/or stressed really struggle to lose fat mass.

In the case of those on holidays, their stress levels are likely to return to the basal levels that our ancestors experienced – that our body is strictured ‘or built’ to function at premdominantly (unless an emergency appears).

The difference between clients who are on holidays and when they are at home, even if they are not overly stressed, can be quite profound.
It makes one realise that the world we live in is a long way removed from that in which our paleolithic ancestors lived in, and that which our bodies are adapted for.

It’s a great selling point for daily practice in some sort of stress management (or parasympathetic nervous system dominant) activity such as diaphragmatic beathing exercises, meditation, yoga, gentle exercise, tai chi etc. etc.