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Americans are gaining more weight due to stress, poll finds

A therapist explains healthier ways to cope with stress in your life.
Americans are gaining more weight due to stress, poll finds
Posted at 3:11 PM, Jul 07, 2023

A recent poll of 2,000 people conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Nutrisystem found 57% of people feel stress more frequently now than five years ago.

This stress causes them to lose sleep, become less active, or turn to food for comfort.

Four in 10, about 43%, said they gained weight because of stress — 17 pounds, on average.

"It's difficult, when stressed, to turn to healthy coping outlets," said Jami Dumler, a licensed clinical social worker and regional clinical director at Thriveworks Counseling.

Dumler said that some of the top stressors for people are work, finances, relationships, and parenting. But not all stress is bad.

"There is some stress in our life that can be good, like a job promotion, planning a wedding, having a new kid. So stress is part of life, it's not going to be absent from our life," she said.

So how can you cope with stress in a healthy way?

SEE MORE: Does being overweight increase the risk of premature death?

"Getting out in nature and disconnecting from technology," Dumler recommends.

Dumler says social media can also add to stress.

“[I’m] also really a fan of child-led play, so if you have any kids in your life, just being able to disconnect for a little bit, let them kind of lead the play and follow. It gives you a little break from adult life and lets you kind of connect with that inner child,” she said.

Most importantly, start small and build healthy habits, even if it's one as simple as disconnecting from your phone for 30 minutes before bed or taking two minutes a day to focus on breathing.

"If you can start with small building blocks to healthy habits, you're much more likely to stick with them," Dumler said.

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