Depression and Weight Loss

Having experienced bouts of Depression over the years, I have found that my mood impacts in direct and indirect ways my weight issues. The direct impact is eating more food when I am feeling down and or hopeless as I think less of the longer term consequences rather than the immediate sense of trying to fill a void in my life and/or eating whatever I like because everything is futile and there is no point in worrying about weight since we are all on the Titanic. The indirect impact is a creation of higher levels of cortisol in my system due to increased stress and this reality creates an imbalance in my homeostasis which makes weight loss harder. Also, not eating health foods in a depressed state denies the body of the necessary range of nutrients and this can create lethargy and may even increase the depression. I am wondering if folks might be interested in sharing their experiences with the Depression and weight management and we might discuss some important strategies and ideas that may help? Just throwing this up for consideration.


  • shelleygold
    shelleygold Posts: 178 Member
    I am wondering if this topic is of little interest to most of the users of this forum. It just seems to me that weight problems often correlate with our thought processes and how we manage our feelings. The choices we make are often "automatic" and predictable and if we have learned to ignore our bodies and more directly, the impact(s) of what we eat we create the very problems we then have to manage with a high degree of mindfulness and discipline. I am just wondering if individuals with weight management issues are aware enough of how they orient to food, exercise and lifestyle?
  • amypocock
    amypocock Posts: 1 Member
    One of the biggest lessons I've been taught, particularly when I'm feeling depressed is to try and just nourish my body with good stuff rather then comfort food. See food as a fuel only and before I know it, the feeling will pass. I've always suffered from depression and emotional eating but right now, with the combination of cutting out refined sugar, good meds, great counsellor and exercise every day, I'm the best I've ever been. But I did change everything in one go, I've very much eased in to this over a three month period.
  • el718
    el718 Posts: 4 Member
    The book The Mindful Way Through Depression is really helping me stay in the present perfect and not ruminate on the past or worry about the future. So it's been really helpful for my eating habits too.
  • shelleygold
    shelleygold Posts: 178 Member
    When people say they eat for comfort, what do you think they mean?
  • apfei
    apfei Posts: 20 Member
    I suffer from depression and i am finding it helpful to take it one day at a time.
  • 7elizamae
    7elizamae Posts: 758 Member
    When I went through a terrible bout of depression, I lost a drastic amount of weight. I could hardly swallow food, couldn't stand it in my mouth, had no appetite whatsoever. I wound up a sickly, scrawny, miserable 115 pounds at 5'8".

    So, I agree that depression can drastically affect one's appetite.

    I also know that getting outside and exercising was one of the best things that helped me through that awful time. My appetite and weight thankfully returned to normal as my depression faded with the help of an antidepressant and some counseling.
  • dhimaan
    dhimaan Posts: 774 Member
    I started lifting and exercising intensely to cope with clinical depression. I had to get my motivation and drive back somehow. I am seeing great progress. getting looks/compliments and feel that things are starting to turn around.
  • shelleygold
    shelleygold Posts: 178 Member
    I never accepted that I use food as a crutch but I am pretty sure I do.
  • maxit
    maxit Posts: 880 Member
    When people say they eat for comfort, what do you think they mean?

    Food has a direct impact on serotonin which contributes to the subjective feeling of "comfort." Psychologically, too, food can produce feelings of well-being. That's what I think folks mean.

  • shelleygold
    shelleygold Posts: 178 Member
    Thanks Lifting4Lis, good to have a laugh. How come you are here?
  • maidentl
    maidentl Posts: 3,203 Member
    Liftng4Lis wrote: »

    Well, at least it was brought back to life by the OP! :smile:

  • shelleygold
    shelleygold Posts: 178 Member
    I started this thread to explore the relationship(s) between mood and eating and then left MFP for approximately 6 months. During that time, I gained back the weight I lost and did not keep my promise to myself and my partner that I would maintain my work-life balance. So... here I am again. Humbled and a bit sad. Nevertheless, we cannot do anything about the past so today is a new day.
  • qubetha
    qubetha Posts: 83 Member
    edited September 2015
    I suffered from severe clinical depression and for me the only way I was able to lose weight was to begin anti-psychotic medication. Sometimes you are that unwell that medication is the only solution.

    The medication did lead to weight gain initially but after waiting for everything to settle I was able to begin the long road from 235lb down to 170 (that was 5 years ago and I kept the weight off ever since). Now I am back again for another 30lb weight loss to get down to 140lb (my ideal weight, right in the middle of my healthy range).

    There were some hiccups along the way where I slipped back into depression and gained weight once more (I freely admit that I use food as a "stimulant" to feel happy -it never actually works but I still do it) and my psychiatrist would tweak the medication (increase almost always) to bring me back to normal and I would be back on track.

    I will be taking a significant amount of medication for the rest of my life but that's a minuscule price to pay given that I am now depression free.

    In my case, weight loss without all the medication I take would not have been amount of sleep, exercise and good diet was ever going to cure me on its own. Having said all this, my diet is now really healthy, I sleep well, can work full time again and I live and enjoy life like a normal human being should. Life is actually good now :-)

    Sometimes you are forced to focus on fixing your mind before you are in a position to fix your body, backward as that may seem.
  • kiela64
    kiela64 Posts: 1,447 Member
    I don't know how to manage this...I feel like I'm winning but then I get knocked back down again...I guess the trick is to keep getting up, getting back to the good things afterwards. I guess just not working on your own...I'm getting monitored by both a dietician and a therapist, so that I have accountability and professional opinions, not just my own thoughts. I find that forgiving yourself, which is hard, correlates with positive behaviours, and hateful/guilt-tripping thoughts bring bad ones. I find when things are going well, everything is going well, and when something trips me up, everything falls. I guess it's all a balance? I'm trying not to extrapolate every little misstep into ultimate, complete, universal failure.
  • angelexperiment
    angelexperiment Posts: 1,918 Member
    I'd say it makes it difficult as I am bipolar so I have bouts of depression so I have these jags I don't want to cook or exercise but mostly I don'tnotice I am depressed until I am eating in mass quantity then I get it. I know walking is my mood stabilizer if I don't do it or stop I get so moody and irritable and I just do not deal well. So that is my healthy it has gelped level out me and I am not having the mood swings etc wgen I am active but when I get depressed I forget howgood it felt.
  • AKA9989
    AKA9989 Posts: 4 Member
    Wow kae612 and angelexperiment - I. So. Get. You. It's unbelievably tough when you know exactly what you should or shouldn't do and you choose against yourself in spite of yourself. Almost like punishment. I too, battle depression, mostly anxiety and trying trying trying to better myself. I eat healthy and Quit smoking after 20+ years almost 10 months ago and have been working out religiously at least 5x/wk. since January. It couldn't be done without meds though. The last 15# have been impossible to lose for me. When I slide, even a little, I eat not-good-for-me stuff as a kind of "oh well you blew it, might as well go full blast with failure" punishment. I am literally stressed all. the. time. And how do we find out if our cortisol levels are high? I'm sure that's my issue. I've lost 25# but really need to lose that last 15. I'm 47, so it's tough. Hang in there guys. We are not alone.