Health & Wellness

Stress and Sleep Contribute to Unsuccessful Weight Loss

A recent study published in the International Journal of Obesity revealed that people whose stress levels were high, and who had poor quality sleep, were less likely to achieve a weight loss goal of 10 lbs.

According to a feature on, the study was led by Dr. Charles Elder of Kaiser Permanente Center for Health and Research in Portland, Oregon, and involved 472 obese adults over the age of 30. Obese was qualified as those who had BMIs between 30 and 50; 83 percent were women, while 25 percent were senior citizens over the age of 65.

stressed womanThe participants were enrolled in a weight loss program that consisted of weekly group counseling sessions, keeping a food diary, exercising for at least three hours per week, reducing daily calorie consumption by 500 calories, and following a low-fat, low-salt diet which is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.

Researchers noted certain lifestyle measures, which included stress levels, quality of sleep, and depression, at the beginning of the study, and again after six months.

Sixty percent of the participants were able to lose at least 10 lbs – the threshold that allowed them to move on to the second phase of the trial. Based on the results of the first phase, researchers were able to determine that several factors, including exercise, keeping a food diary, and attending behavioral counseling sessions had a strong link to successful weight loss.

In addition to these factors, the study was also able to determine that sleep quality and stress are influential predictors of successful weight loss. Participants who slept little or too much, and reported high stress levels, were less likely to meet the 10-lb weight loss goal.

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