Is Depression Affecting Your Weight Loss Program?

Weight Loss and Depression

Dear Selfless Esteem,
I’ve tried so many weight loss programs but failed every time. I feel depressed about it and then my depression affects my weight loss. It’s a vicious cycle. I don’t know what to do anymore.
Overweight and Overwhelmed

Dear Overweight and Overwhelmed,

Thanks for writing in because this is a common problem. And so, many people can benefit from discussion on this topic.

Let’s address safety first. When people feel depressed, they commonly have self-defeating thoughts. If you’re experiencing that, please see the post, “Defeat Self-Criticism.” Such thoughts may evolve into self-harm. For more details, please see the post, “How To Change Self Harming to Self Healing.” If suicidal thoughts surface, call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988. Another option is to use the chat feature at Lifeline Chat. There are also suicide hotlines in each state. Of course, if you’re in imminent danger, call 911. For other countries, please see this list of suicide crisis lines.

Please read on for some suggestions for depression and weight loss. 💻

Using a Team Approach

Photo by Thirdman Weight Loss Program

First and foremost, I advise you to get a physical exam from your primary care physician, who can determine if you’re overweight, and if so, how much. Your doctor can check for any physical causes and refer you to other professionals, such as a nutritionist.

During the physical exam, share information about your energy level and eating patterns. Then ask your doctor for the ideal frequency and duration of exercise based on your results.

Next, I recommend that you find a qualified and competent therapist, who can help with your depression and refer you to other professionals as needed. See the posts, “What is Wise Counsel and Good Therapy?” and “Why You Need a Therapist ASAP.” Additionally, if you need a crisis counselor 24/7, text HOME to 741741. Also, you may be interested in the post, “Want To Stop Feeling Depressed? Here’s How” and “Mending a Broken Heart: 8 Methods to Ease Your Pain.”

Lastly, a personal trainer, workout buddy, or sports team can help motivate you. If you’ve tried that already, continue to the next section.

Being Creative

What’s something you love so much that you wouldn’t even notice you’re exercising? Depending on your area, resources and interests, consider unconventional ideas that work for you.

For example, how about walking a dog? But what if you don’t own a dog? Would you be able to walk a friend’s dog or volunteer at a shelter and walk those dogs?

If there are time constraints, try workouts that are very efficient, such as jump roping, which raises your heartrate and exercises your muscles head to toe in a matter of minutes. As mentioned, consult your physician first.

Changing Your Eating Patterns

It seems the fat percentage of the general population increases after high school. As I recall from my school days, there were three (usually small) meals and little to no snacks throughout the day. In other words, youth only ate at the designated times.

This eating pattern resembles intermittent fasting, which reportedly has health benefits, including weight loss. Eric Berg, DC, presents a strong argument in the video, “How To Do Intermittent Fasting.” However, I’m not advising you to follow this plan because I’m not a doctor; I’m sharing interesting information you can discuss with your physician as he or she determines the best nutrition plan and eating schedule for you.

Changing Your Thought Patterns

Sometimes, people’s motivation to exercise is solely based on improving how they look. This is problematic because it can cause self-criticism, a fixation on calories and a strict regimen of workouts. Then, people tend to start avoiding this mental discussion altogether because treating ourselves harshly doesn’t feel good. Ultimately, it can lead to a disinterest and eventually a disdain for exercise.

When we scrutinize our appearance, our feelings follow based on whether we approve or not. Becoming overly positive is not the answer; selfless esteem is what helps this situation.

Selfless Esteem is about getting off the emotional roller coaster and finding joy and peace through freedom from self-evaluation. Thus, we focus on something that’s not so personal. (Body image and performance are personal).  Instead, focus on how good our bodies feel during exercise (e.g. movement that releases tight muscles) and after exercise (e.g. relaxation from endorphins and dopamine).  Human nature tends to continue behavior that feels good.

Having a Relationship with God

Last but not least, remember that you’re more than your physical being; you’re a child of God (Romans 8:14). Receive God’s unconditional love and likewise, love yourself unconditionally. For more information, see the posts, “Why Selfless Esteem Is Better Than Self-Esteem,” “The Real Truth About God,” and “How To Pray in 5 Simple Steps.”

Ask your Heavenly Father for help, “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7). And do a small act of kindness, not just for others, but for yourself today. ʕ•́ᴥ•̀ʔっ

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New King James Version®. Copyright © 1984 by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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  1. TC

    I really like how you never fail to encourage people to first look at a physiological cause for problems. This too often gets overlooked. Great insight as usual, Gina. 😊

    1. Gina Leggio

      Thanks so much for your comment. Glory to God! Medical check-ups are necessary on a regular basis for everyone, who has a body :).

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