Obesity And Mental Health Is There Any Connection?

The correlations between the food and mood are like the proverbial chicken or the egg dispute. No one knows what came first. Though finding out about this correlation would help researchers a lot, we must not “count the chickens before they hatch”. This is because anyone with obesity problems may not have any mental issues and vice versa.

The enormous data gleaned from different researches point out the following for certain- having one condition can increase the chances of developing the other; having both will intensify the negative effects by several notches.

Disturbing concerns of obesity and mental health-

  • Both these conditions get exacerbated due to bias and stigmatization in society.
  • People with recurring mental health problems are more likely to develop obesity and related disorders such as diabetes and heart disease.
  • Obesity affects mental negatively and this association diminishes the length and quality of life.

Symptoms of poor nutrition-

Obesity and mental health are correlated. A general practitioner will look for the following while assessing as to whether a patient may have disordered eating due to mental health issues:

  • Clothes and jewelry getting loose or tight.
  • Lesser energy levels and tiring easily.
  • Daily activities are difficult to accomplish as before.
  • Diminished physical abilities, like not being able to walk as far or as quickly as before.
  • Increased shifts in the mood, like getting depressed too often and lethargic (due to lack of interest or motivation).
  • Lack of proper concentration.
  • Falling ill often and taking more than the usual time to recover.
  • Delayed healing of wounds.

It is necessary to make a thorough analysis of the above symptoms and discuss with family members and close friends for effective intervention.

Possible interventions-

Some medications used to manage mental health have nasty side-effects like obesity. This and the increased lethargy and abnormal appetite will lead to increased weight gain and associated consequences. Co-morbidities like diabetes and joint pain will drastically reduce the quality of life.

Sadly, medicines cannot be avoided. What can be done is a change of lifestyle as a first-line intervention for managing weight. Dieting and exercise is the need of the day. It has been proved that exercise elevates moods besides making you healthy and burn excess calories to lose weight.

The importance of physical activity-

Physical activity stimulates the release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These chemicals play an important part in regulating your mood. For example, regular exercise can positively impact serotonin levels in your brain. Hitting the gym is a good idea. So is swimming, jogging or aerobics. But people affected with co-morbidities like joint pain find it difficult to regular exercise.

While swimming is awesome, many find access to a pool difficult. Moreover, during winter, heated pools are not available for most people. Regular exercises take a toll on your knee and joints and make conditions worse.

Ellipticals, the way to go-

While it is difficult for all to hit a gym, you could consider buying an elliptical. An elliptical within $500 to $1000 range will be perfect to tone your muscles and burn excess calories without putting stress on joints. Even professional sportspersons use ellipticals for an impact-free workout.

All ellipticals come with easily adjustable difficulty levels. You can ease into a workout regimen according to your abilities. As you get stronger, you can easily up the difficulty to get a great workout. Ellipticals are perfect even for the elderly with dodgy joints.

A good workout with ellipticals gets the blood flowing and the heart pumping. They are great to strengthen joints and knees without putting any stress on them. Most importantly, a workout session with an elliptical will stimulate the release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.

These brain chemicals not only elevate the mood but also reduce the dependency on some drugs that are used to manage mental health in the long run.

Final thoughts

Physical exercise is one of the best ways to counter any issues with obesity and mental health. It increases your total energy expenditure while helping produce the feel-good chemicals in the brain. In the long haul, it raises self-esteem and reduces social anxiety.

With regular exercise, you start looking better and feeling great. It also controls co-morbidities and reduces your dependence on other drugs over some time. The best part is that the people around, can observe a tangible change and the bias and stigmatization will be replaced with admiration and respect.

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Kathy C.

Kathy she is a Business student and a Makeup geek! She love to express my views and thoughts about anything and everything! Writing is my way of reflecting my opinions. Helping people and putting efforts to make this world a better place for the differently-abled community are aims that I have for my life.