One of the many detrimental side effects of being overweight or obese is a dramatic rise in clinical depression. Researchers aren't sure whether depression leads to obesity or if excess body weight results in the mood altering behavior diagnosed as depression, but the impact on the lives of those afflicted can be devastating. The reciprocal relationship between these two conditions can increase the risk of suicide and many potentially lethal diseases as well.
Nearly 25% of Obese People Diagnosed With Depression
There's no mistaking the link between obesity and depression, as 23.2% of those individuals falling into the obese range indicate they have been diagnosed with clinical depression. This is according to a Gallup-Heathway's Well-Being Index poll of more than 250,000 respondents. The rate of depression was 14.9% for those considered overweight and 14.3% for normal weight people. An analysis found that obesity creates negative feelings of stress, worry, anger and sadness.
Depression Increases with Weight
Information from the Gallup study revealed that the depth of depression increased in a linear fashion to the Body Mass Index (BMI) of the individual. Both overweight and obese people tend to have lower self esteem and body dissatisfaction because of the Western ideal that being thin is more beautiful and desirable. These feelings foster the internal conflict caused by excess weight in many people which is psychologically manifested as depression.
Taking Small Steps to Improve Body Image
It can be difficult to improve the perception of the person you see every day in the mirror but taking small steps toward this goals can have an immediate and lasting effect on your outlook. Begin by setting your sight on an immediate weight loss goal, such as 5 or 10 pounds. It's much easier to feel better about yourself when you successfully complete small steps on your way to a final destination. As you pass each benchmark, be sure to reward yourself with something special to reinforce your progress.
Improving Diet to Affect Depression
Some people are particularly sensitive to the effects of a high sugar diet which help to promote mood instability and depression. Elimination of sugar and refined carbohydrates not only boosts mood, but is a powerful trigger to release body fat from storage. Slowly cut sugary foods from your diet and be sure to eliminate sweetened beverages and fruit juice which are a significant source of nutrition-less calories. Slowly back sugar out of your diet over the course a month to avoid sugar withdrawal which some people experience.
Natural Support for Depression
Targeted nutritional supplements have been shown to be effective in improving the symptoms associated with depression. As with any natural agent, supplements should be used in combination with diet, exercise and therapeutic support to improve self esteem. The Omega-3 fatty acid DHA, St. John's Wart, Gingko Biloba and SAMe are all helpful in improving mood, a necessary step toward your successful weight loss goal.
It's not surprising that obesity and depression are closely linked. People tend to pre-judge others based on body weight before intelligence and personality. Lowered self esteem and increased stress are cofactors which contribute to the relationship between obesity and clinical depression. You can begin to take small steps to improve mood which will ultimately lead to improved body image and healthy weight loss.