Oxytocin’s Role In The Anxiety Of Weight Loss
Whether you’re trying to lose weight, feel less anxious, or simply feel better, you can trust that your hormones are involved.
As humans, hormones play key roles in major bodily functions that keep us alive and well, and yet we generally take our hormones for granted, except for those memorable developmental stages like puberty and menopause when hormones are raging.
Yet, without notice, hormones are always playing a leading role collectively in our mood, weight, and wellness.
Understanding the relationship between hormones and our mental, emotional, and physical health can shed light on why we’re quickly becoming an overweight and anxious society.
Generally, the main hormones involved in regulating weight and mood are cortisol, thyroid, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, insulin, ghrelin, and leptin.
Whereas unique differences exist between each of these hormones, all work together to regulate appetite, weight, cravings, metabolism, mood, and much more.
Yet according to research, our high sugar, highly concentrated, refined and processed American diet and sedentary lifestyle are causing hormonal imbalance that is driving us overeat, crave, and feel anxious and stressed.
In fact, research is beginning to reveal that ongoing sugar consumption may actually interfere with our body’s “I’m full” signal.
It’s no wonder that our society is anxious and eating all the time!
However, oxytocin, better known as the “love hormone,” also helps regulate metabolism, body weight, mood, appetite, cravings, and also, overeating.
Yet sadly, it’s the hormone that I often see women struggle with balancing the most.
For example, the path to weight loss is pretty straightforward: eat colorful healthy, nutrient-dense foods, eat when you’re hungry, stop eating when you’re satisfied, hydrate well, get plenty of sleep, reduce stress and relax, and work on your mindset.
Sure, certain medications, menopause, diagnoses, and individual differences can influence the weight loss process, but generally speaking, the path to weight loss is not complicated.
Yet, when we start talking about the importance of self-care, which releases oxytocin, in the weight loss and emotional health journey, that’s where progress slams on its brakes and we women tend to roll our eyes and remark, “You want me to do what?”
The mere idea of making our self-care a priority and caring for ourselves well stops us dead in our tracks.
It’s a concept that many of us dismiss as indulgent and selfish.
Self-care is sometimes so far off our radar that it’s unfathomable how it could play a role in weight loss and wellness goals.
As women, we have neglected, ignored, and put ourselves last for so long that we’re often unaware of the depth of our self-neglect.
It feels normal, yet, not to the body.
In fact, Sarah Wilson writes, “Self-hatred causes autoimmune disease, which boiled down, is the body attacking itself?”
Whether or not this is true, hating your body and yourself is not the path to weight loss and wellness.
It’s the path to self-destruction that no diet, pill, or exercises program will fix.
And even if you are able to achieve your goal weight and feel better, your results will not be sustainable.
As long you resist caring for yourself, your body will retaliate and your overall health and wellness will suffer.
You will eventually gain all the weight back and feel as anxious as ever. You know this. You live it.
Whereas we can receive surges of oxytocin through hugs, pets, and social connection, loving and caring for our bodies and ourselves provides equally important doses of oxytocin.
Making ourselves a priority and caring for ourselves well is how we begin to heal our hearts and make choices that serve us well such as cleaning up our diets, our minds, and our lifestyles.
It’s when we take actions that flood our body with oxytocin that we begin to not want the sugar, laugh at the donuts, look forward to meditating, move our bodies gently, and ensure that we get plenty of quality sleep.
We say, “No,” to demands on our schedules and set boundaries around our time because we’re worth it and deserve it.
When we love ourselves deeply, nothing gets in the way of caring for ourselves and our bodies well.
The anxiety of weight loss ceases, we feel better, we live well.
So if you really want to lose weight, feel less anxious, and live well, ask yourself, “What might be possible if I started showing myself a little more love?”