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Dutchess_III's avatar

Why do some people eat, and gain weight, when they're stressed out, while others completely lose their appetites and lose weight?

Asked by Dutchess_III (46881points) August 28th, 2015

Which are you? I lose my appetite when I’m stressed. If it goes on very long I lose a noticeable amount of weight.

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6 Answers

DoNotKnow's avatar

I’m a stress eater (I don’t even go down the ice cream aisle in the market if stressed). It’s a coping mechanism. But for some people I know, stress can make them feel sick, and then they don’t want to eat – or they just forget to eat. And whether you over or under eat, during times of stress, when you feel that you are lacking in control, choosing to eat or not eat is one thing you can control. And there may be some comfort in this.

Cruiser's avatar

I would think it all boils down to how you handle stress. During my divorce I could not sit still and was exercising, cleaning, playing guitar like I was possessed and wound up in the best shape of my life with a pristine house as well.

I have seen other people who turn to food to cope with stress and wind up over weight in no time.

wsxwh111's avatar

Personally I think maybe it’s kinda like mania and depression.
Some people with mania feel angry or are holding back their internal anger, and their behavior indicate elevated mood which is actually their “fighting” against something they think is terrible and tough; and people with depression feel helpless, vulnerable and grief about those things.
And my therapist told me, helplessness and grief is better than anger.
I think stress eating is kinda like “fighting” on some level, and losing appetite is like “vulnerable and helpless”.
Bottom line is, if it comes to a level that affects your functioning and normal life, or reaches the diagnoses of eating disorder, maybe it’s time to start considering seeking medical and therapy help.

wsxwh111's avatar

Please read this instead of the one above. Thank you. I made some mistakes on the order of the things I wanted to say.

Personally I think maybe it’s kinda like mania and depression.
Some people with mania feel angry or are holding back their internal anger, and their behavior indicate elevated mood which is actually their “fighting” against something they think is terrible and tough; and people with depression feel helpless, vulnerable and grief about those things.
I think stress eating is kinda like “fighting” on some level, and losing appetite is like “vulnerable and helpless”.
And my therapist told me, helplessness and grief is better than anger.
Bottom line is, if it comes to a level that affects your functioning and normal life, or reaches the diagnoses of eating disorder, maybe it’s time to start considering seeking medical and therapy help.

fluthernutter's avatar

@wsxwh111 hit it on the head for me. I eat when I’m stressed. And lose my appetite when I’m depressed.

Though I’d disagree that helplessness and grief is better than anger. Anger can at least be redirected into something productive. Whereas helplessness and grief can become this mire that sucks you in.

wsxwh111's avatar

@fluthernutter Yeah.. Now that you said this, it comes to me that maybe there’s no such definition as “the better one” between those two, cause the levels of both depression and anxiety can vary on different people, sometimes both of them appears at the same time, and they may have effects on each other, too. Maybe the therapist told me that because anxiety is the prior thing I should work on right now.

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