Weight Loss and Depression - Discussion

Weight loss and depression are like the proverbial chicken and egg story because one can lead to the other and, ultimately, it is sometimes difficult to establish which one came first.

Obsession with Weight Loss Leading to Depression

In teens and young adults or people who attach a lot of importance to physical appearance, weight becomes the most important issue. Initially, they start off wanting to lose weight, and once they start losing weight, they want to lose more and more and they reach a point where they become obsessed with weight loss. This problem may be even more poignant in those who are overweight or obese and cannot come to terms with how they look.

In situations like this, a slight change in diet or weight gain will cause a lot of stress. They begin to worry about losing weight, go on crash diets, and starve themselves to a point where they will need hospitalization. People who tend to go to extremes with their weight loss program and have a family history of depression are at a higher risk of becoming depressed.

Once they slip into depression, they again lose appetite, and neglect their eating habits completely. All these result in further weight loss, and the weight loss and depression cycle continues when both conditions are not treated in time.

Depression Causing Weight Loss

On the other hand, on the other side of the weight loss and depression coin, people suffering from depression often start losing weight dramatically, especially because there is a significant change in their lifestyle. People suffering from depression often experience loss of appetite as one of the key symptoms of being depressed.

Untreated depression often results in considerable weight loss mainly because people can go without proper food for days and not realize that they are starving. Their fears, pains, grief, and suffering take over their mind space and they cannot think of anything beyond these emotions. In situations like this, they forget to eat on time, do not feel hungry, and all of these result in weight loss.

If people who are healthy suddenly experience weight loss for no apparent reason and complain of feeling sad, lonely, and shy away from friends and family, one must look for other signs of depression.

Further Discussion on Weight Loss and Depression

Either way, it is important for people to realize that for the physical body to function well, it requires the mind to be healthy, while for the mind to function in a healthy manner, the physical body needs to be healthy, too. Both body and mind are closely interlinked and disruption in the smooth functioning of one causes problems for the other as well.

For people who develop physiological and psychological problems because of their obsession with weight loss, such as anorexia and bulimia, which in turn cause depression, it is advisable to consult a psychologist or nutritionist who can counsel people regarding their obsession with weight. Once they get over the fear of weight gain, come to terms with their physical attributes and are able to maintain a healthy and balanced weight, they will see a marked reduction in the symptoms of depression.

For people who are experiencing depression and as an outcome of which they lose appetite and neglect their eating habits, once depression is treated by means of psychotherapy, counseling, and pharmacologically (last resort) or by means of alternative therapies, they will see a marked reduction in depressive signs and symptoms. This will help them regain their appetite and the weight they had lost, thereby helping to break the weight loss and depression cycle.

Excessive weight and obesity in itself is not good for health at all. But obsession with weight loss and depression are both very unhealthy, too. However, with the right steps and practices, they can be prevented and overcome.

In both cases, people should be encouraged to cultivate healthy eating, exercising, and sleeping habits. This will help relax the body and mind, which will help them overcome depression naturally. Also, investing time in yoga, meditation, and natural healing techniques will increase their mental and emotional strength, which will then boost their ability to face physical and emotional problems effectively.

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