ALBANY, N. Y. (NEWS10) — Stress, one of the triggers that can cause people to overeat, has not been in short supply this year. The coronavirus has brought additional health concerns, job/financial insecurity, and now there’s added stress from the holidays.

American women, who are already more likely to be overweight than men, may find themselves struggling more this year to maintain a healthy weight and/or improve weight loss.

For many, bariatric surgery is a good way to sustain a healthy body weight long-term. Dr. Matthew McDonald a bariatric surgeon with St. Peter’s Health Partners said his center can help women meet their weight loss goals, even if surgery isn’t an option for them.

Stress doesn’t only influence your eating habits. Studies show it can affect your metabolism, too.

In one recent study, participants who reported one or more stressors during the previous 24 hours, such as arguments with spouses, disagreements with friends, trouble with children, or work-related pressures, burned 104 fewer calories than non-stressed women in the seven hours after eating a high-fat meal.

Researchers say experiencing one or more stressful events the day before eating just one high-fat meal (the kind we’re most likely to indulge in when frazzled) can slow the body’s metabolism so much that women could potentially see an 11-pound weight gain over a year.

Cleveland Clinic

Samaritan Bariatric and Metabolic Care have behavioral health providers and nutritionists as well as surgeons. It’s why Dr. McDonald said they have a good success rate in sustaining weight loss after surgery. He also attributes success to the continued following of patients throughout their weight loss journey.

Types of bariatric surgery

  • Gastric Bypass
  • Sleeve Gastrectomy
  • Adjustable Gastric Band
  • Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch (BPD/DS)

*Source: American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery

The goal is to help people live healthier lives, not get them into the operating room, he said. “Coming to our program doesn’t mean you have to have surgery, we will treat you from every aspect.”

From 2011-2018 the number of bariatric surgeries a year has grown from approximately 158,000 to 252,000, according to the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Dr. McDonald said 60% of the patients at Samaritan Bariatric and Metabolic Care are women.

Patients have to meet specific criteria for bariatric surgery to gain approval from a health insurance standpoint. The patient must have a body mass index (BMI) between 35-40 and a health condition like diabetes, or high blood pressure. Patients with a BMI greater than 40 do not need to have any underlying health conditions to qualify for surgery.

As Dr. McDonald said, women looking to lose weight without surgery can also utilize Samaritan Bariatric and Metabolic Care program. The Cleveland Clinic offers the following advice to maintain a healthy diet:

  • Don’t let hunger derail an eating plan- higher protein and lower carbohydrate meals will help fight hunger.
  • Eat carbohydrates with fiber attached like dried beans, broccoli, sweet potatoes, apples, and oranges.
  • Focus on making healthy food choices and not on weight loss.
  • Plants should be the bedrock of an eating plan.
  • Don’t 100% limit foods, focus on the right portions of healthy food between 80-90% of the time.
  • Spend calories smartly by eating a diet high in lean protein, healthy fats, and fiber.
  • Plan meals a day in advance.