Depression is more than just feeling “sad”. It also includes a number of other possible symptoms, including poor eating and sleeping habits, lowered self-esteem, low energy, loss of interest in activities, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, feelings of helplessness or hopelessness, and even suicidal thoughts.
Depression and Weight Gain
All of these symptoms create extreme emotional upset that can wreak havoc on your weight. Because depression is such a miserable experience, poor eating, laziness, and excessive sleeping often become avenues for temporary relief. Unfortunately, overeating and a lack of bodily movement can add a lot of extra pounds. These self-defeating choices then serve to increase your depression, and so the cycle goes.
The best way to not allow depression to hurt your weight is to proactively and strategically manage your depression better to elevate your mood. Obviously, the better your mood becomes, the easier it is to make better eating, sleeping, and exercise choices. Here are a 3 ideas help you better control and elevate your mood:
1) Seek psychotherapy from a qualified psychotherapist. The therapy approach best shown to minimize depression is “cognitive-behavioral therapy”.
2) Search out and utilize quality self-help materials for depression. I recommend 2 possible workbooks: The Feeling Good Handbook by Burns and Mind Over Mood by Greenberger and Padesky.
3) Consider taking a supplement to minimize the depression from a biological angle. An assessment for antidepressant medication from a psychiatrist is an option. A second is to look into natural supplements such as strategic vitamins, minerals, herbs, and health foods. A good resource natural supplement information is Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Balch.
Depression is more than a risk to your weight. It can be a serious issue needing direct professional intervention. Please consider the ideas above to start. Remember, life is too short to be unhappy, let alone overweight. Think about it.
Keeping It Off
Even though a person may lose some weight, the real challenge comes in keeping it off. This is especially true when the diet and/or exercise program used to lose the weight was someone else's formal plan. Most of the time you won't want to do this no-fun plan rest of your life (i.e., the no-carb Atkins/no blueberry muffins the rest of your life diet plan).
The natural tendency once you've lost the weight is to celebrate! And what is our favorite way to celebrate as people? By pigging out and putting back the weight. In a 2002 Consumer Report study entitled "The Truth About Dieting", 8,000 successful dieters who had kept off their lost weight at least a year revealed that the overwhelming majority of them (81%) created their own personalized diet program. The other 19% of the successes eventually adopted their own healthy, lower weight eating and exercise plan and lifestyle.
So, the first key to losing and keeping the weight off is to 1) research and create an effective personalized diet and exercise plan that you are willing to do, stick with, and incorporate into a permanent lifestyle change.
Other suggestions for keeping the weight off
2) Be flexible and adjust and adapt over time. What worked at one time may not work later. Continue tracking, adjusting, and refining your maintenance plan with what works. while dropping or modifying what doesn't. Continue to track your efforts and research new ideas.
3) Resist laziness. Remember to keep working hard and to pace yourself. Don't start cutting corners and going back to old ways. You lost the weight because you made some strong choices and sacrifices. Don't allow laziness to ruin your hard work and efforts down the road.
4) Resist pride. Great, you lost some weight. Congratulations. No don't get too cocky. Don't think you're too strong now and allow yourself to be placed in tempting situations that will compromise your success. For instance, don't spend a bunch of time at the grocery store checking out the doughnuts that you"used to" eat. If you're not careful, it won't be a "used to" anymore.
5) Keep tracking your weight, body fat percentage, and looks in the mirror. The numbers don't lie and the mirror doesn't either. Try to not slip, but if you see it starting to happen, nip it in the bud and makes the necessary course corrections ASAP! It's like the old saying goes, "it's better to kill a monster while it's small". You don't want it to grow the size of Godzilla and knock over the buildings you've worked so hard to construct! (That is, your lower weight and better body).
In short, stick with it. Pace and refine yourself and your plan. Don't get lazy, sloppy, or prideful. You can keep it off. It's just a permanent assignment. A healthy, lower weight lifestyle is a permanent lifestyle. To thine own self be true!