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How Losing Weight Can Boost Your Mental Health

Losing Weight Can Boost Your Mental Health

Mental illnesses are widespread in the US, affecting tens of millions of individuals annually. Despite their significant relevance, estimates indicate that only half seek or receive treatment. Various factors play a part in the development of mental health issues.

However, carrying excess weight is linked with notable increases in mental health disorders, such as major depression, panic disorder, and bipolar disorder. For instance, people struggling with obesity had a 55 percent higher risk of developing depression over time.

It's worth noting, however, that the connection between obesity and health is a two-way street. There's evidence that being overweight can detrimentally impact an individual's emotional well-being. Likewise, mental health conditions can indeed affect one's weight.

The good news is that you can lower your risk by losing weight. Even a modest reduction in weight can significantly enhance your overall health. This article will explore how losing weight can boost your mental health in detail.

Increases Self-Esteem and Confidence

Struggling with a negative body image is a common experience among individuals dealing with excess weight and obesity. Conversely, losing weight and adopting a healthy lifestyle help you develop a more accepting and positive attitude towards your body. This, in turn, can increase your self-esteem and confidence.

Reduces Anxiety in Social Situations

People dealing with obesity might face social stigma, thereby exacerbating anxiety symptoms and isolation. If you're carrying excess weight, you may feel unhappy with your body and elevate your risk of experiencing social anxiety.

Losing weight and regularly checking it with a bmi scale can help you feel less anxious in social situations. As you feel much better about yourself, you can have more fulfilling social interactions with others and a better sense of belonging. 

However, it’s critical to note that body image distress can be a symptom of an eating disorder. Many people struggling with eating disorders place a high value on their weight and body shape. But remember to never estimate your body image on other aspects of your life. If you’re having problems with body image, don’t hesitate to get help from a mental health professional. 

Eases Symptoms of Depression

You can be at higher risk of experiencing symptoms of depression if you feel unhappy with your weight. This can influence your eating habits, causing you to gain or lose weight. 

A medical weight loss program can help you lose weight consistently, which can boost your mood and minimize compensatory eating. Consequently, it will make you feel more optimistic, easing any depressive symptoms you may be experiencing.

Lowers Inflammation Levels

Inflammation is the body's normal response to infection, injury, or harmful stimuli. Although it's essential and temporary, chronic inflammation can affect numerous health issues, including conditions related to mental health. Losing weight can help lower the inflammation levels in your body. However, making the following dietary changes may be necessary to succeed:

  • Avoid consuming processed foods and sugars.
  • Eat more anti-inflammatory foods like fatty fish, nuts, berries, and leafy greens.
  • Consume a variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
  • Increase your fiber intake slowly.

More Ways You Can Boost Your Mental Health

Some factors that contribute to mental health are beyond your control, such as genetics and family history. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to enhance your health in addition to losing weight. Highlighted below are more ways you can boost your mental health.

Get an adequate amount of sleep

Lack of sleep can negatively impact your physical and emotional health. The brain cannot normally function when you don't get sufficient sleep. As a result, you're more likely to have negative emotional responses to stressors. Getting quality and adequate sleep is a critical part of a comprehensive mental health treatment plan.

Eat nutritionally balanced meals

Digestion and the types of food you consume have an effect on serotonin production. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood, sleep, and appetite. Since your digestive system's inner processes also influence your emotions, eating nutritionally balanced meals is critical to boosting mental health.

Establish positive coping strategies

Managing stressful situations well can help you feel better mentally and emotionally. It's crucial to establish positive coping strategies. They can help you maintain your weight and improve your mental health in the long term. You can start with the following strategies:

  • Engage in relaxation strategies, such as meditation, mindfulness, and deep breathing exercises.
  • Incorporate regular physical activity.
  • Create to-do lists and set realistic goals.
  • Work on improving your time management skills.
  • Channel your emotions constructively through writing, music, and art.
  • Process your thoughts and emotions by journaling.

Stay connected with friends and family

Healthy connections with friends and family can help minimize the rates of anxiety and depression. They can help support a healthy mind and nurture a strong sense of well-being. You can achieve a sense of belonging and security in supportive social environments. This can help you establish better coping mechanisms and resilience.

Make Sustained Changes With Proper Intervention

Making changes in your habits can make a significant difference in your mental health. But they may not always be enough to relieve persistent mental distress. They should not replace proper intervention, especially if mental health problems are already interfering with your normal daily activities. Consult a mental health professional to help you make sustained changes.

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