Written by Mansi Baokar (Health Coach)
It has been observed that more than 80% of people with serious mental illnesses are either overweight or obese. National Obesity Observatory has identified that those who were classed as obese had a 55 percent increased risk of developing depression at some point during their life, whereas those diagnosed as clinically depressed had a 58 percent increased risk of becoming obese.
Most people feel anxious about their weight gain. The anxiety comes from guilt for not being as fit and active as others and due to this people keep blaming themselves and as a result, get depressed. When a person goes through depression and/or anxiety, appetite, energy level, water level, food timings and sleep patterns change which causes about 90% of your weight gain.
Anxious and depressed people turn to food as a source of comfort, in other words, rely on it for non-nutritional purposes as well . Under these circumstances, individuals may be prompted to eat by their emotions rather than actual feelings of hunger. Emotions can trigger unhealthy eating habits which might be used as a comforter in order to satisfy unresolved emotional problems. This form of maladaptive coping strategy can lead to a dependence on food for emotional support and of course the associated weight gain.
Some people react differently to anxiety or depression of any kind, they may tend to eat very little, putting upon themselves at a risk of becoming underweight and malnourished.
Speaking from my experience, when I was going through depression due to work stress, sometimes I used to skip my lunch and even breakfast and by the end of the day, I used to starve like a hungry kid and ended up eating a lot of junk food late at night which led to my weight gain.
How social conventions leads to obesity?
Going to a restaurant for dinner, eating junk food overnight, consuming high calories by drinking beverages has become a trend now and quite sadly well accepted by our society.
Even if you try to make healthy choices while eating in a restaurant or ordering take-away, the options for healthy food is extremely limited. This in turn leads to high consumption of calories, which again contributes to weight gain.It also doesn’t help that Human brain always looks out for treats that tempt and are mouth watering.
I would love to conclude this piece with some quotes which guided me when I felt I cannot lose weight.
“Your body hears everything your mind says. Keep going. You can!”