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Can stress cause rapid weight loss?

When you have an intense workout, you’re probably burning a lot of calories to get through it. Some people have the misconception that this burns muscle, but this isn’t exactly true. The majority of our fat is built from body fat and in fact all types of body fat have the same amount of fat as muscle. This is why I recommend no more than about 5-7lbs of fat, and a maximum of 20-25lbs of fat in your diet for most men.
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For women you are on the low end of the spectrum. A few months’ worth of moderate exercise and no more than 10lbs of fat will cause you to lose a lot of weight. If you are in good overall shape (in terms of weight and muscle), you can get rid of this excess while maintaining a healthy weight.

In most cases, there is no link between stress and weight loss. Stress can cause you not to eat well, but that’s because of other factors. Your stress levels can cause it to take longer to come and then come again, but that’s not the case with weight loss for most people.

What about “stress crashes” or burnout? Do stress crashes really happen?

Yes we all know and understand that we all deal with stress at some point and some people just deal with more stress in one day than others. The problem is that it’s harder for the overweight to adapt in this manner. For instance, if you are a woman, the stress often hits your hips and legs. This stress is then compounded when you eat low quality protein and carbs. However, overweight women are at an advantage in this situation. They are at the lowest risk of being stressed because of their higher metabolism. They don’t need more food because, as far as the brain is concerned, they have already eaten. This is all very well, but because these women typically have less stress there is not as much of a “buzz” as normal people when they consume a high-fat diet. This is, in fact, the reason why overweight women are more responsive to stress. Fat is easier to burn than muscle because fat is more easily stored than muscle. So for women with a tendency to burn muscle more quickly than fat, this may contribute to a stress crash.

If you do get stressed, if the stress comes from a combination of the above, it is better to simply go through a recovery phase than to push through your stress, which will only aggravate your stress and make it