Thursday, May 26, 2011

Depression & weight gain

I don’t know about any of you, but I have been battling depression since I was four, and battling anxiety since high school. I just recently started counseling and I discovered one really scary thing: the more depressed you are, the more likely you are to gain weight.  The more weight you gain, the more depressed you’re likely to be. How horrible!

If you have depression & anxiety, your chances of being obese double. Why is that? 

Depression tends to make people not want to do anything – certainly not exercise. Depressed people also tend to eat more & have more trouble sleeping. Sleep is KEY to losing weight, because it will help you be more energized the next day. You really need to try to get 8 hours of straight sleep a night. It’s better for your body if you do. You WILL lose more weight easier if you try to get more sleep, watch what you eat, & exercise more.  It can’t hurt to try and get into some therapy for your depression, either. It’s really important to treat your depression in order to reach your weight loss goals. Luckily, the two go hand in hand.

My therapist suggested I start taking 30 minutes a day of time that I devote to walking, preferably by myself so I could de-stress. That’s not going to happen, though. I’m a mother of two & their father works 2 jobs so I’m never alone since I always have the kids with me.  Instead of walking by myself, or attempting to take my 3 & 6 year old out on a walk with me, I have been making sure to use the Nordic Track 5 out of 7 nights of the week, and throw on a family friendly movie for the kids & I during this time. It calms them down & gives me a bit of peace and quiet. It’s not as relaxing as a walk outdoors by myself would be, but it’s definitely helping. My panic attacks have come to a stop in the last month, and that’s truly amazing because I’ve had problems with panic attacks since I was 15! Knowing that not only will I lose weight by doing this, but that my panic & depression issues might lessen is a great feeling. 

One thing to keep in mind: “Rather than concluding that weight loss leads to an improvement in mood, it would perhaps be more accurate to conclude that lifestyle modifications AIMED at weight loss & depression ALSO, on average, tend to improve mood.”
It’s a lot more difficult to lose weight when you’re depressed, too. That could be why the results aren’t showing quite as much as I would like. I know that for me, when I am depressed & I let that feeling take over, I tend to let little setbacks turn into an avalanche of bad news and that pushes my progress back further. When one bad thing happens, I always look for every other negative thing I could possibly add to make me feel worse all around. I get upset and eat, I definitely have had issues in the past with being a very emotional eater. I get so depressed that I have trouble sleeping and can’t focus, which means I don’t want to exercise or eat right. I just want to sit on the couch and stare at the floor. 

I truly believe my weight FUELS my depression.   
My weight & depression lead to the self destructive behaviors I just mentioned. It’s a vicious cycle.
I am depressed about my weight, and it makes me not want to leave the house, it makes me scared to meet up with old friends, and it scares me to even go out in public sometimes. I have panic attacks because of how I look. I freak out about it BIG time. 

Lately, I’ve been pushing through these horrible feelings that occasionally creep up on me. I’ve been making sure to keep exercising, keep trying to eat healthier, and always keep my main goals in mind: healthy mind, healthy body. I’m trying to relax a bit more, and see the good in things. An attempt at a more positive attitude is a great asset to someone battling depression (although probably not too common), and it is an even better tool for losing weight. 

This time is different for me than all the other times I tried to lose weight. I’m not just trying to lose weight for my physical health, but also for my mental health. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that there could be an end to my depression & weight problems if I just keep trying. So that’s what I’m doing, each and every day: trying.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I always reply to my comments so make sure you check back for my response!