Obesity and depression are both serious public health issues that concern everyone, but little is known about the relationship between the two.
In a society enamoured with being thin, many assume that being fat is depressing and that if there is a cause and effect relationship, it’s obesity that makes people feel down. But there is an alternative explanation, and that is that being depressed can actually make you gain weight.
When you’re depressed, you tend to be inactive and don’t exercise as much. You tend to eat more and, if you experience high levels of depression and take antidepressants, the drugs involved are reported to lead to further weight gain as well.
Depressed people are not that different physiologically from stressed people. Their sympathetic nervous system is chronically turned on, and one of the consequences of this is increased fat storage. The stress hormone cortisol, for example, stimulates and promotes fat storage, especially in the abdominal area, since the body has evolved to store calories during times of stress.
We tend to separate the mind and the body in our culture, but they’re much more connected than we realise. To understand how to treat obesity, we have to focus on mental state and anxiety levels as well as diet and exercise.
A holistic approach focuses on treating your whole being; body and mind. Mindfulness, a healthy diet, exercise, and talk therapy are a few of the holistic approaches you can use to help you feel better.
Being mindful means being constantly aware of what’s going on inside and outside of ourselves.
Ancient wisdom teaches that “a healthy mind is a healthy body.” Just as a house falls to the ground without its foundation, your body can become overweight and sick without a mind focused on health and happiness!
You can start to become more mindful during the day by slowing down, especially while preparing meals, eating, and moving. This will help you become more aware of any unhealthy habits and triggers that don’t serve your weight loss goals and make you feel bad.
You have to be aware of what and how you eat. Very often, if you are anxious, you are going to eat more. But if you are in a state of relaxation, you won’t be eating frantically or mindlessly. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, low-fat dairy foods, lean meats, poultry, and fish can go a long way towards helping you lose weight.
While no single nutrient or eating plan can cure depression, proper overall nutrition is essential for your mental well-being.
If You Move, You Lose – Pounds and Depression!
It’s important to know that weight gain is a common side effect of many prescribed antidepressants. Fortunately, patients who are both overweight and depressed can help themselves with the same prescription; exercise! Exercise can help counterbalance drug-related weight gain.
Any exercise is better than none and will help your body get more used to being active.
To get the full benefit from exercising, you should try to be active for at least half an hour a day.
Keep in mind that treating depression and weight problems will likely require more than just a pill and a one-size-fits-all diet plan!
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