We are all aware of the physical consequences of being obese, but have you ever thought of its effects on your psychological well-being or the people around you? Have you ever thought about how being overweight keeps someone up at night or makes them hate themselves? Probably not! After all, our society has never really paid much attention to how obesity affects individuals’ mental and emotional health, as it usually only highlights its physical consequences.
There are several societal and practical reasons why obesity can affect someone’s mental health and cause diseases. There is also research on the link between obesity and mental disorders.
Obesity and Mental Health
The prevalence of obesity has been increasing in the US for several decades and now affects about one in three adults. Obesity has been linked to a number of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Obesity is a risk factor for developing depression, and obese individuals are more likely to report symptoms of depression than those of normal weight.
Obesity is also associated with increased anxiety, and obese individuals are more likely to have an anxiety disorder than those of normal weight. Eating disorders are more common in obese individuals, and obese individuals are more likely to develop an eating disorder than those of normal weight.
The reasons for the link between obesity and mental health are not fully known, but several possible explanations exist. Obesity can lead to social isolation and discrimination, which can contribute to depression and anxiety. Obesity can also lead to physical health problems, which can also contribute to depression and anxiety. Additionally, the diet and lifestyle associated with obesity can contribute to mental health problems.
Obesity makes people spiral down a path of self-hatred and depression. Thus, it is unsurprising that it leads to addictions and substance abuse. People may want to escape their destructive emotions and momentarily seek happiness in drugs that alter reality.
Several studies have found increased substance abuse in obese people due to poor mental health. They are at greater risk of overusing drugs and indulging in acts of self-harm. The best way to help people in such scenarios is to send them to rehabilitation centers. By joining a reliable institution such as the Palm Beach Group, they can get a multidimensional, comprehensive, customized treatment plan. The plan addresses the root cause of the addiction and helps you become mentally and physically fit. With help from medical professionals, the institution designs a program consisting of supervised medical detox and inpatient and outpatient treatment.
Quality of life
The quality of life of obese men and women is often not up to the mark as they face multiple challenges. They are unable to perform all tasks as they are physically unfit.
Additionally, obese people are more likely to be diagnosed with diseases such as Diabetes. This can cause their emotions to spiral out of control and affect their mental health adversely.
Moreover, obesity can increase the amount of stress and make people stop doing the things they used to love, such as traveling and attending fun events. This results in loneliness and isolation, which are signs of poor quality of life.
Obesity can result in physiological issues that negatively affect your mental health and well-being. According to research, excessive body fat and constant consumption of unhealthy food can cause an increase in the number of inflammatory markers in your body. Then, this increase in inflammation can cause an increase in the risk of an obese person developing negative thoughts, depression, and going into isolation. It also plays a negative role in your immune system.
Poor body image
Experiencing constant weight bias from others and finding people staring at you now and then can take a toll on anyone’s mental health, especially those suffering from obesity. After all, obese people are often sensitive regarding their bodies and the way they look.
The stigma surrounding their weight and poor body image often make anyone suffering from obesity embarrassed to go out in public. They stop going to gatherings and meeting friends and family. The result of this is being cut away from the real world.
Somehow, suppose someone even manages to get the courage to walk out of their house for a casual day out. In that case, the stares of people and negative comments break them down and can cause anxiety or panic attacks. Their struggle with being overweight and having a poor body image overwhelms them and can make them hate themselves. It also causes several mental health problems that need attention.
Obese people often are a victim of society’s judgments and discrimination. Many people assume that just because someone is obese, they are lazy and do not have self-control. There is also a stigma around obese people as some find them unattractive or undisciplined. The worst part is that these thoughts are not passed on by strangers but by people who are very close, such as family and friends.
Their negative thoughts and constant criticism is bound to break anyone, especially those who suffer from obesity and are vulnerable. It can destroy their self-esteem and cause them a lot of pain. They begin to feel worthless and keep themselves away from all human interaction, becoming victims of mental health disorders. They stop enjoying the little things in life they used to be so fond of just because of their low self-esteem.
Can mental health problems cause obesity?
Just like obesity can result in several mental health problems, they too can cause obesity. People suffering from chronic stress, depression, bipolar disorder, or other medical conditions can rely on food to make them feel better. They can try and eat their feelings away without realizing the effects it would have on their well-being.
Usually, people with depression or anxiety have decreased serotonin levels. This deficiency can lead them to eat lots of carbohydrates to make them feel better. The result is weight gain and more mental health problems. It is like a never-ending cycle for such people.
Another reason people with mental health problems are obese is their lack of interest in doing anything. They tend to have a sedentary lifestyle and lack interest in exercising or activities.
It’s time to break away from your unhealthy pattern and focus on yourself by moving towards a weight loss journey. No one is asking you to become like those models on the covers of magazines and stop eating the food you love. All you have to do is ask for help from a professional and eat everything in moderation to get fit mentally, emotionally, and physically. You will have to move towards a healthy diet, decreasing the intake of carbohydrates and sugar and doing regular exercise, yoga, and meditation. Very soon, you will see that you are not only losing weight, but your life also seems brighter. You will begin noticing how your mental health is improving and have stepped out of that black hole you put yourself in.
As for those masses that are physically fit and surrounded by someone who is obese, it is about time for you to act with kindness. You need to realize that obese people are suffering from a condition and need your help and support.
Stephanie Ferland is an ex-gym trainer whose goal is to help people to achieve their desired fit body by doing effective exercises. She is also the founder of FitGirl Nation and a corporate wellness expert who’s crafted some of the world’s most popular workouts. With just nine and a half years of experience as a professional fitness trainer, Stephanie is often called a “Fit Celebrity.” Meet Stephanie and find out the 3 reasons why she never misses a workout!