Depression and weight gain appear to coexist together. One of the symptoms of depression is weight gain. This is because we turn to food in order to allay emotional problems such as feelings of loneliness, sadness, boredom, and isolation. Read more to understand the natural relationship between depression and weight increase.
We turn to eating delicious foods to make us feel good and forget about our problems in life. In addition, as we have increased appetite especially craving for carbohydrates while we have decreased energy and loss of interest in various physical activities, we gain more weight. However, as we gain weight, we become more unhappy and insecure about our body type. Our figure changes into something that will make us feel unattractive. For this reason, we again get more depressed and unhappy. If we can cope up with it by stopping to overeat and starting to exercise instead, then it is good. However, if we continue to eat and eat to cover up our emotions, then we are running on a cycle that is difficult to reverse.
Another reason for gaining weight in association to depression is the stress hormones. We encounter so many various stresses in life. Depending on how we cope up with it, it may lead us to depression and ultimately gain weight. Why? It is because when we are stressed, our bodies release a stress hormone called cortisol. This hormone stimulates and promotes the storage of fat specifically in our abdominal area. Our body is conditioned to store more calories during stressful times. This is one of the explanations why we gain weight as we become stressed and depressed.
When we are depressed, most of the time we do not realize that we are actually eating too much already. We just keep on eating and eating and eating because it makes us feel good. We are relieved by the comfort good food provides us. And because we are depressed, we have lack of energy to do exercises and physical activities. We lack the drive to do so.
However, if possible, if you can still stand up and move, try to force yourself to move around the house, start by cleaning probably then slowly progress into actual physical fitness exercises. It will release feel good hormones that will literally help you feel good plus it helps you reduce weight. Remove the tempting foods on the table and hide it somewhere you cannot easily see it or better yet, ask someone else to hide it from you. Seek help with your family to cooperate with you especially on your desire to lose weight. If you observe your love one having this problem, for example your daughter, help her cope up by cooking healthy low fat foods. Avoid serving junk or unnecessary foods. Encourage her or join her in her exercise to keep the activity a fun one while you chat and talk. Provide productive activities that encourage her participation and make it worthwhile for her. She needs support and therefore give it to her.
Anti depressants as well as mood stabilizers and some anti psychotic drugs are known to have weight gain as their side effect. However, since it is more important to stabilize first the mind before the body figure, these mediations should still be given first. Nevertheless, it is important to switch to other medications that cause lesser weight gain after a time period. Most depressed people also crave for sweet and starchy food. Because of this, carbohydrate-rich foods but low fat and low protein foods are recommended for these patients. This will increase tryptophan and serotonin production thus, reducing their craving. They may also drink carbohydrate drinks. This should go on for 14 weeks to notice a 20 lb. weight reduction together with exercise.
Depression and weight gain are two common problems of people especially on their mid adult years. This is more prevalent in women than in men as more women are at risk for developing depression than men because of some factors unique only to women such as hormonal changes. This is escalated by stress and pressure from work, family, and social life.
Obesity is already a stigma, a problem in itself even without depression because of how some people view it as unattractive. Added depression of not feeling good about yourself in the first place adds more to the dilemma. That is why depressed people with added obesity or weight gain problems should be addressed and given attention the soonest possible time. Weight is hard to lose. It does not go away in a matter of hours or days that is why the soonest the interventions are provided, the easier it is for a person to recover back to their normal state. The more weight they gain, the harder it is for them to cope up.