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Mental Mondays: The Strong Connection Between Weight Change And Mental Health

Mental Mondays: The Strong Connection Between Weight Change And Mental Health



lthough perception seems stronger than reality, it doesn’t cushion the consequences of our faulty and/or emotional assumptions. Like a shock absorber protects a car, so can our renewed minds see things through the lens of positivity. While social media might have heightened the expectations of beauty, the same medium has been used to continually clamor for equality of all kinds. On the internet, we’ve witnessed some size zero to plus size models take up their space without hesitation, and live their best lives.

Simply put, the connection between weight change and mental health is often an internal battle we embody by our view of life. This isn’t to trivialize the existence of segregation, but to emphasize that once you feel beautiful, worthy, and adequate, no one can bully you into anything contrary.

What’s the connection between weight change and mental health?

According to a research published in PubMed, “Recent weight gain was associated with poorer well-being in both overweight and non-overweight women, and recent weight loss with poorer well-being in non-overweight women. These findings were unchanged by controlling for age, race, marital status, employment status, education, physical activity level, number of medical conditions, alcohol use, and extroversion. Thus, maintenance of stable weight may contribute to psychological well-being in women.”

We find that once a person’s weight alterations don’t tally with their standard of beauty, it affects their self-perception. Nancy would spend more time on the internet, perusing the pages of hourglass influencers and wishing she could look that way. She nursed feelings of insecurity, thus, didn’t feel beautiful enough to “compete” with these other ladies on the internet. These negative emotions gradually turned into depression and anxiety, and rather than motivate her to live a healthier lifestyle, Nancy would binge eat and avoid exercise, which only lead to more weight gain.

There’s a volatile cycle between mental health issues, especially depression, and weight change. Michael, who was on a prescription anti-depressant noticed he couldn’t fit into his favorite button-down shirt anymore. A quick glance at his meds, and Mike noticed weight gain as the side effect of the medications. Hence, it’s been found that while depression could lead to weight changes, the latter could also lead to mental health issues.

Here are a few ways the connection between weight change and mental health could affect a person…

#1. Loss of interest

When you don’t feel good about the way you look, it does have a strong effect on your mind and this can lead to a sudden loss of interest in your daily activities. The brain’s reward system signals dissatisfaction in previously enjoyed hobbies, leaving an individual uninterested in their regular activities.

#2. Low self-esteem

weight change and mental health
Photo: Cup of Couple / Pexels

Whether it’s weight gain or loss, if a person’s present weight isn’t clocking in with their dream weight, this could tamper with their self-esteem. While everyone admired Bella’s size 10 curves, she always felt inadequate. All her life, she wanted to stay a size 6 or 8. There was no convincing her otherwise.

#3. Isolation

After childbirth, I would stare at myself in the mirror and not recognize the reflection staring back at me. It was hard to believe that a size 8 could become a size 12 after birthing another human. This prompted me to avoid friends and some family members. While I understood their shock about my weight, it began to tug at my self-esteem. Little by little, I had successfully isolated myself and was left with no social life.

#4. Strained relationships

Photo: Timur Weber / Pexels

Feeling insecure about your weight might affect your relationships. A harmless comment about any weight-related subject can trigger one undergoing dissatisfaction with their current size to flare up. After having my baby, I also noticed that when around others, I had to scrutinize every joke to ensure it wasn’t a swipe at my weight. Sometimes, your loved ones steer clear of conversations with you to avoid unnecessary outbursts and defenses. This can easily lead to strains in your relationships.

#5. Poor lifestyle

weight change and mental health
Photo: Polina Tankilevitch / Pexels

Research has shown that about 40% of individuals diagnosed with mental health issues are likely to make poor lifestyle choices. This leads to weight changes, either loss or gain, and further health complications. Frank was diagnosed with acute depression and this led to frequent loss of appetite and ditching his 4-month workout routine.

How do I feel better?

• You might be tempted to quit, but continue with your treatment as your doctor knows best. Your doctor is the perfect accountability system and will help you live a healthier life pattern.

• Be deliberate about exercising. It’s true that working out when depressed might seem impossible, but try to take little steps toward it. Start with exercising once a week, or taking short evening strolls. This approach can also help cultivate discipline and a possibility mindset.

• We often feel better after talking to someone who cares about our issues. Choose to open up to a therapist or sign up with a community that can relate to you.

“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” ~Lucille Ball

Featured Image:  Calypso Art | iStock

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