Want to know the secrets behind mental health and weight loss? This post will uncover the reasons why you?re not losing the weight and how this links to mental health.
You can feel so deflated when you?re on a weight loss program and just not seeing the results you desire. But do you know how mental health can interact with your weight loss journey?
Mood disorders such as anxiety and depression can affect your energy levels, physical activity, eating habits and sleep routine.
In this post we will not only discuss weight loss but also the fundamental links between mental health and your weight loss journey.
What you need to know for weight loss.
When we?re feeling anxious, sad, depressed or just not in the best mood we can respond to this by turning to food. This is called emotional eating. Emotional eating can involve eating as a distraction. You may be trying to forget something or someone so you turn to food. This can soon affect your weight loss goals.
Emotional eating may be a result of eating out of habit, to feel better or out of boredom. Sometimes it may be a change in routine such as getting married or having a baby. But why is that we turn to food?
Eating can provide a calming and comforting feeling to all ages. Think of a baby who enjoys the closeness of being with it?s caregiver whilst feeding. We offer children treats as a reward which creates an emotional link to food from an early age.
As adults we often celebrate birthday?s or cultural celebrations with food being the centre of the celebration. Comfort foods make us feel happy and nostalgic but are often high calorie or high sugar which is detrimental to our health and weight loss.
There may be times throughout the day that you find you mindlessly eat. For example in front of the television, preparing meals or commuting from work. As you?re not mindfully eating then you eat more than you need and this affects your weight loss goals.
If you?re suffering from anxiety, depression or any other mood disorder it can affect the level of serotonin in your brain. Serotonin is associated with regulating our mood. With the reduction of Serotonin it can affect your weight loss.
When we eat, the hormones dopamine and norepinephrine, are released. These hormones are knows as the hormones of pleasure which makes us feel good in the moment but does not help if we?re overeating, gaining weight and don?t see any weight loss.
If you have anxiety or depression then eating can be a way to make you feel good. But the feeling is only temporary. Eating can be used as a coping mechanism and the problem is that as you gain weight then the more sedentary you tend to be.
Weight loss can be difficult if you?re taking antidepressants as weight gain can be a side effect. Lifestyle changes are necessary for not only your health and wellbeing but it will also help your mental health.
So let?s look at positive ways to help your mental health and physical health for weight loss.
1. Keep a food diary
A food diary can help you keep track of exactly what you?re consuming, what you?re craving, your energy level and your emotional state at the time of eating. A food diary can without a doubt, help you to link your moods and emotions to when and what you?re eating.
A food diary can assist you to identify any patterns and help you track your calorie intake if you?re are aiming for weight loss. You may find when you?re in the company of people you eat more than if you?re eating on your own. This can hinder weight loss.
You may think that you?re drinking 2 litres of water a day but find the reality to be so much different. The food diary may reflect that you?re actually dehydrated rather than hungry. A food diary can show that there isn?t much variety in your diet and therefore you may be missing out on nutrients.
Keeping a food diary is a great place to start for linking your eating habits with your mental health and weight loss.
Download Your Free Food Diary
2. Reducing anxiety
By reducing anxiety and the stresses in your life you will find you become more mindful with your eating which can lead to weight loss. When you?re feeling anxious your body releases the stress hormone cortisol. Think of the last time you were in the fight or flight mode. This is the time that cortisol is circulating and interrupting your metabolism.
By reducing anxiety you are reducing the cortisol. Think of healthy activities that you can engage in to keep your anxiety levels down. It may be a walk on the beach, meeting up with a friend or reading a book.
The more relaxed and calmer you feel the more likely that you will chose healthy and more nutrient dense foods and not feel the need to binge. Reducing anxiety will help you move forward to your goal of weight loss.
3. Sleep music
It is so easy to keep repeating the cycle of sleep deprivation, low energy levels and high calorie foods. This cycle certainly won?t help you with weight loss.
Adults should aim to get around 8 hours of sleep a night. If you?re finding that you wake up tired and are just not getting the sleep needed then looking at your sleep routine is a good place to start.
Winding down after a long busy day can be difficult and you may need start implementing a new routine. Sleep music playing in the background has been shown to help with falling to sleep faster and having a deeper more productive sleep.
Sleep music can help with relaxation, release dopamine (feel good hormone) and slow your heart rate down. Sleep music can interrupt anxious and troubling thoughts and reduce your blood pressure.
When choosing the sleep music aim to have something that doesn?t have a fast tempo or choose nature sounds or a youtube sleep meditation. Using sleep music can help you have a deeper sleep and help you with your weight loss.
4. Healthy eating
Healthy eating is something to consider for better mental health and weight loss. How we feel physically can really affect how we feel mentally. Healthy eating will help reduce fatigue, reduce cravings and will help your overall wellbeing.
It can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to healthy eating . Foods that contain vitamin B such as cheese, poultry and red meat are believed to decrease anxiety, depression and that feeling of irritability.
Foods such as dried fruits, nuts and seeds, spinach, meat and cereals contain iron. Iron is considered to help the manufacture of brain chemicals that help to regulate your mood. Healthy eating also includes eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. They are full of nutrients and vitamins to keep us healthy.
Today we hear more and more about the gut brain connection. Eating foods containing probiotics help build good bacteria in our gut which assists the body to absorb the nutrients to keep us healthy. Eating foods such as yoghurt, sauerkraut or even taking a probiotic supplement will improve your gut health.
When you feel unwell this interacts with your mental health. Feeling nauseous totally changes our mood and our motivation. So by healthy eating you will feel better, have more energy and it will encourage weight loss.
5. Benefits of exercise
I think the benefits of exercise are infinite. Not only does it make you feel good both physically and emotionally but it also helps with weight loss. When you feel good you are more likely able to overcome any challenges that you may face. You think clearer, improve blood circulation and just feel an overall sense of happiness.
To feel the benefit of exercise it doesn?t mean you need to spend hours at the gym every day. Meet a friend and go for a walk, enrol in a team sport or join a yoga class. Your body uses energy in three ways. Through digesting your food, keeping our body functioning such as breathing and our heart beating and the last way is through exercise.
Look at your schedule and find at least 30 minutes a day to engage in some sort of exercise for your mental health and weight loss. You may enjoy swimming, weights, yoga, pilates, cycling or running. Exercise should become part of your daily routine as the benefits of exercise are huge.
If you struggle to find the motivation then enlist a friend to join you. Combine exercise with healthy eating you will be heading in the right direction for weight loss.
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6. Essential oils for anxiety
You may be thinking how can essential oils for anxiety help with weight loss. But what we?re aiming for is reducing the anxiety which can hinder your weight loss goals. We?re aiming to have you in the best head space to find the motivation to follow through with your weight loss.
The first essential oil for anxiety that probably comes to your mind is Lavender. Lavender is certainly my first choice too. It smells beautiful plus it does promote calmness and relaxation. But there are other essential oils for anxiety to consider too.
Chamomile is a good essential oil for anxiety as it can reduce depression, insomnia and restlessness by soothing, calming and relaxing you. Valerian is another essential oil for anxiety. Valerian can help you by balancing out your emotions and leave you feeling relaxed and tranquil.
Essential oils can be used in a diffuser, placed on a tissue to inhale or in the bath. I recommend using pure essential oils that have not been altered with chemicals or diluted. Essential oils should not be ingested as many are toxic.
Using essential oils for anxiety will help your mental health by putting you in the right headspace to engage in the activities to improve weight loss.
7. Body goals
Before starting any weight loss activities I recommend setting yourself body goals. If you are obese then you may want your body goal to be weight loss. If you?re feeling like you?ve lost muscle tone then your body goal may be to start doing weights 5 days a week. If you?re lacking energy then your body goal may be to start engaging in more outdoor cardio activities.
Try and be as precise as possible about your body goals so you know exactly what you?re aiming for. Once you have set your body goals then start working backwards so you know how to achieve your body goals.
Download the free food diary so you can keep track of what you?re eating, the emotional state you are in when eating, and look to see if there are any emotional patterns in your eating.
Although weight loss my feel like an uphill battle when struggling with your mental health it can be achieved. Having support around you can help you to achieve your body goals..
8. Love yourself
Love yourself by being kind and compassionate even if you trip up. No one is perfect so there will be times when you miss a training session or eat chocolate. When you realise that you have made a bad choice there is no point dwelling on it. Acknowledge it and then move on.
To remain in the right mental health space it?s vital that you care and love yourself enough. Try not to compare yourself to others. Your best friend may have met her weight loss goals faster or be more confident. But remember that you?re on your own path.
With social media now it?s so easy to take on other people opinions. Love yourself enough to know that what you see on social media doesn?t necessarily reveal a person?s actual life. Social media can produce fake ideas of someone?s life and make it seem more glamourous than it actually is.
It?s so easy in the busy world we live in to put yourself last. But you need to love yourself enough to know that you are worthy and if you set yourself a weight loss goal it is not being selfish. It is looking after your health and wellbeing.
9. Emotional eating
If you notice that you?re emotional eating try and stop yourself and really think about what it is that you?re feeling and thinking at the time. Think about what is important in your life and if your emotional eating is going to get you any closer or take your further away from what is important.
See if you can identify other things that you could do to get your closer to achieving your goals. Do you need to adjust your schedule to fit in more self-care time. Can you wake up earlier to exercise? Do you need more family or social time? Look at how your emotional eating is affecting reaching your goals that are important to you.
Emotional eating will affect your weight loss. It may slow down your weight loss or you may even gain weight.
Download Your Free Food Diary
Weight loss can feel overwhelming especially if you suffer from anxiety or depression. But remember that obesity can affect your overall health and wellbeing which can then lead to the cycle of affecting your mental health.
By working on finding out your triggers to emotional eating and by implementing the strategies outlined in this post you can reach your goals with weight loss.
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