For those that get serious anxiety, did weight loss help?

I've had some serious anxiety my entire life. Hell. I'm having it right now while I'm at work! And in my entire adult life, I've never been my goal weight. Always struggled with obesity and my pathetic struggle to lose weight to improve my image and confidence. I wonder if I'll feel differently when I'm 80lbs lighter. Or if I'm just doomed to have this anxiety forever?


  • jennifer_417
    jennifer_417 Posts: 12,344 Member
    Well, I find that exercise itself helps with anxiety...also, I find that I am less self-conscious as I have lost the weight, so that helps.
  • neandermagnon
    neandermagnon Posts: 7,436 Member
    I have PTSD which is an anxiety disorder. losing weight didn't help. However lifting heavy weights did a lot. I'd recommend it. Any kind of very strenuous exercise helps, but weight lifting most of all (must be really heavy, lifting light weights up and down repeatedly doesn't help in the slightest)

    I'd recommend any of the good heavy lifting programmes, e.g. Starting Strength, Stronglifts, New rules of lifting for ---- (the one aimed at men, not sure of the exact title).

    while losing weight didn't help in terms of reducing PTSD symptoms, it did help me to feel better about myself generally, and eating healthy foods (in particular ensuring enough omega 3, vitamin D and the right amount of carbs (not too many, not too little) helped. So I'm not saying there are no benefits to getting to a healthy body fat percentage, just that it didn't help with anxiety specifically
  • MissBabyJane
    MissBabyJane Posts: 538 Member
    Yes. Working out helped me to get through bad moods, weight loss helped to my self esteem, so I'm a lot more confident now.
    I was so scared, anxious and shy to talk to people, now I rarely have this problem. And I lost only 18kg. (From 68kg to 50kg (Height: 165cm, Female))
  • healthygreek
    healthygreek Posts: 2,137 Member
    Exercising everyday, deep breathing, stopping caffeine and stopping smoking all helped in greatly reducing my anxiety and eliminated my panic attacks.
  • beckytcy
    beckytcy Posts: 135 Member
    Exercise definitely helps a lot with anxiety, but unfortunately I have felt that being at a calorie deficit can increase anxiety. I even had anxiety dreams about food when I did Weight Watchers and lost 30 pounds. (back on MFP When I am hungry, I can get irritable and anxious. But it's worth it. If you lose weight and feel better about yourself, I think your anxiety will decrease. Along the way, however, you could feel more anxious if you're hungry. Good luck!!
  • jenchamb1
    jenchamb1 Posts: 73 Member
    For me, I don't think it is the weight loss, but the exercising that really makes a difference. I walk to do the elliptical, put my headphones in and just let my mind relax. Takes the edge off.
  • Iknowsaur
    Iknowsaur Posts: 777 Member
    I have anxiety in social situations/public, but that is tied directly to my weight and perception of myself, so weight loss DID help me (when I was able to maintain it.)

    I was much more out-going when I went from 250 to 180. I didn't feel so awkward meeting new people.

    As of now, since I regained, I'm basically a shut in with a VERY patient boyfriend. Working on my anxiety and my weight now, with a nutritionist and a psychiatrist as part of my surgical team :D

    Edited for typos.
  • csuhar
    csuhar Posts: 779 Member
    Weight loss can help, depending on the source of your anxiety. If your weight issues are consciously or subconsciously making you nervous, it will help.

    But I also agree that weight training in itself can be a confidence booster. Especially if you do it right and don't start too hard too fast, the ability to watch your reps or the weight on the bar keep on moving up can be quite satisfying. Your weight might not have gone down during that workout, but you get the ability to leave the gym saying "yeah, I just did that."
  • emtjmac
    emtjmac Posts: 1,320 Member
    The best medicine for anxiety is exercise imo. When I was running 25 miles per week (and was 80 pounds lighter), my anxiety levels in general were significantly reduced. I'm trying to reclaim what I once had after gaining it all back.
  • ddslowly
    ddslowly Posts: 46 Member
    honestly, no. of course, i've never had to lose more than 10 pounds but, for me, those are two separate issues and losing weight isn;t a magic cure for my psychological issues. now that i think about it, i'm usually worse when my weight is lower.
  • bacitracin
    bacitracin Posts: 921 Member

    Tons of Courage Wolf memes did though.
  • QuietBloom
    QuietBloom Posts: 5,413 Member
    You need to see someone for that anxiety. No need to suffer - there are lots of treatment options available. You might even find it makes losing weight easier.
  • ajmaupin
    ajmaupin Posts: 44
    depends on your anxiety. Exerxise releases those nice hormones that have an effect on depression and anxiety. So, you have general anxiety, its possible. if you have anxiety concerning your looks, most likely not. I know people who have lost a lot of weight but that sense of anxiety that they are still not good enough or look good enough has not gone away.
  • MemphisHellFire
    MemphisHellFire Posts: 38 Member
    gaining weight helped me cope with my anxiety, i was severely underweight and had a lot of panic attacks :( i think having a healthy body will help you get a healthy mind, also i now have the energy to do intense workouts which are great for days when your struggling. lifting heavy weights and intense sprints on the treadmill really hit the spot :)
  • Woodster83
    Woodster83 Posts: 71 Member

    I lost 5.5 stones a few years back and felt amazing and never had anxiety at all.

    As I've re-gained that weight plus another stone I can get anxious easily now.

    I would keep focussed on your goals and eat good nutritious foods. That's one thing that has made a huge difference to me, I must have been missing a vitamin in my diet and now I feel much better.

    Good luck
  • brandnewsnickerpuss
    brandnewsnickerpuss Posts: 111 Member
    Nope, in fact, my anxiety went UP after I lost weight. However, finding the right anti-anxiety meds helped me to decrease the frequency of my using food as a self-soothing strategy... which makes weightloss and maintenance easier, IMO.
  • tibby531
    tibby531 Posts: 717 Member
    if anything, I think it's worsened it for me. I now get stress-induced eczema. I think a good layer of fat wards that off, or something. ;) but I do agree that exercise helps relieve the actual anxiety.
  • FatFreeFrolicking
    FatFreeFrolicking Posts: 4,252 Member
    It depends on why you have anxiety. What triggers your anxiety?

    Exercise is the most underused anti-depressant/anti-anxiety in my opinion.

    When you exercise, endorphins are being released. This increases serotonin levels, resulting in positive mood effects.

    Are you on any anxiety medications?
  • aubyshortcake
    aubyshortcake Posts: 796 Member
    I have suffered from anxiety my entire life. You are not doomed, but weight loss had no connection and no effect on my anxiety. It's not for everyone, but what helps me most is medication and therapy.
  • diannethegeek
    diannethegeek Posts: 14,776 Member
    If anything, I think losing weight made my anxiety go up. But that's because of the way I wear my fat as a sort of shield from the world. Taking that shield away made me feel more exposed and spiked my anxiety. But this is definitely a situation where everyone is going to be different.

    I'll agree with most of the people here that exercise helped me a lot. And therapy. I don't think I could have lost the weight that I have lost without a good therapist. Now if I could just keep it off.