Coping With Excess Weight When Depressed
For those suffering from mild depression the extra burden of being overweight only makes things worse. I have known a great many dieters who are battling not only to reduce weight but also to reduce their levels of anxiety and stress. Having listened and worked with many overweight women who suffer from this problem, let me offer a few practical suggestions which might help.
First off, there are times when you feel so depressed that it’s not a good idea to even think of dieting. Better to husband your emotional resources and, if necessary, use food as a natural comfort. Do not feel in the least bit guilty about doing this, even if you are seriously overweight, as this will only make things worse. My only suggestion in such a case is to choose better comfort-foods, a relatively easy task and one which won’t leave you feeling deprived.
For example, whole wheat bread and jelly makes a very comforting snack, and it’s lower in calories and better for your blood sugar levels than cookies, ice cream or candy. A bowl of regular granola or muesli is another example of a better and healthier type of comfort food. Adding wheatgerm makes it even healthier, not least because wheatgerm contains important B-vitamins which are believed to help counter mild depression.
So, even if you feel totally depressed – in which case, like I say, you should avoid starting a specific diet-plan – you can still exercise a degree of control over what you eat and reduce the adverse weight effects of comfort-eating. Even if you find yourself gaining a pound or two, don’t feel in the slightest bit guilty. Sometimes it’s important to put your weight on hold and roll with the punch and, in any case, worrying about your weight only makes the situation worse.
If You Feel You Can Start A Diet
If your depression is manageable, and you feel up to starting a diet, my advice is to choose an eating plan that provides you with a minimum of 1400 calories (a little more is even better), and to be sure to eat your full calorie allowance every day. In addition, it’s vital to eat regularly throughout the day, in order to maintain stable blood sugar levels and keep your metabolism running efficiently. Don’t even think of skipping breakfast, and try to eat something about every three hours, no matter how small. If you can maintain this type of regular eating on a daily basis, you will not only feel better, but you’ll lose weight in the process.
No matter how depressed you feel, evidence indicates that physical exercise is a great help, for a number of physical and emotional reasons. At the very least, it improves your body chemistry through the release of substances called endorphins into the bloodstream. These chemicals help to lift our mood and make us feel better. Also, in practical terms, physical exercise helps to take our minds off some of our day-to-day problems which can only help our sense of well being.
Get Support From Other People
Finally, for anyone who is overweight and feeling depressed, I should add how important it is to connect with other people – if at all possible. My online weight loss forum is wonderful at helping women to connect with each other, and we have many members who are fighting obesity as well as depression and helping each other in the process.
They share tips about coping strategies, stress control, anti-depressants, and how to cope with accidental binge eating, they buddy-up with each other and generally give each other amazing support – which is why so many of our members are losing significant amounts of weight, often for the first time in their lives.