How Your Psychological Health Can Affect Your Weight

Your psychological health can affect your weight. Feelings of anxiety, stress, sadness, worry and depression can impact your relationship with food. Overeating, choosing unhealthy foods and engaging in excessive nighttime eating are often linked to psychological reasons.

Eating Due to Stress

If you often find yourself eating even when you’re not hungry, you may be reacting to an underlying emotion. The stresses of life can sometimes be overwhelming. Meeting unreasonable demands at work, working through conflicts in personal relationships, dealing with health issues and taking care of aging parents are just some of the stressors that people are faced with on a daily basis. These challenges can sometimes lead to feelings of anxiety, worry or fear.

Food can be a quick fix. Some foods, especially sugary snacks and high-fat desserts, provide a temporary emotional boost. These foods taste good and take your mind off of your troubles for the moment. The downside is that comfort foods are often high in unhealthy fats and calories, leading to weight gain and health problems.

Eating When Bored

Another way that your psychological health may be linked to your weight is if eating is a way for you to escape boredom. Some people eat simply because there is nothing else to do. In this case, eating is not a way to meet nutritional needs; it is a way to fulfill unmet emotional needs. The problem is that you can only spend so much time eating without going over your daily caloric limit.

Ways to Improve Psychological Health

Resorting to food to meet emotional needs or to escape unpleasant thoughts is common. The solution rests in addressing the core of your issues. The first step is to pay close attention when you’re eating. Ask yourself why you’re eating and whether you’re truly hungry. If you realize that you’re not, then the next step is to ask yourself if something is bothering you.

There are many activities that help to get to the core of issues. Writing in a journal, meditating and talking to a supportive friend or qualified professional are a few options. The trick is to cultivate greater awareness of your own thoughts and feelings. When you realize that you’re eating to fill an emotional need, get to the core of issues and also find other activities to replace eating.

Exercise is a great mood enhancer and will burn off calories. Going for a long nature walk is relaxing and may release your stress. Listening to relaxing or uplifting music usually helps to rejuvenate the spirit. Watching an inspiring or humorous show might also put you in a better mood.

Your psychological health may be impacting your weight. The only way to know is to pay close attention. Make sure that you’re only eating because you’re hungry. If you detect a pattern of emotional eating, try to address the root of the problem. Also find activities that rejuvenate and nurture your spirit.


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