Among the many reasons why one would pursue weight loss, the physical health benefits it offers are among the most popular. In fact, surveys from The Beet reveal that over 60% of American adults are dieting and exercising more in the hopes of ushering in better health with weight loss. After all, weight loss benefits include lower blood pressure, reduced risk of cancer, and prevention of heart attack—all of which are chronic physical health conditions that plague about one-third of all American adults. This is on top of other perks like improved sleep, better energy levels, and improved stamina.
While the weight loss benefits to physical wellness are great, it has equally important contributions to mental and emotional health. Offhand, losing weight has been tied to the promotion of better moods and decreased stress. That said, having a healthy body can develop a healthy mind, but the influence of weight on mental and emotional well-being is actually more nuanced than most people realize.
How Weight Impacts Mental and Emotional Health
To better understand the impact of weight on mental and emotional wellness, it is important to recognize how having excess weight is a complicated matter to begin with. Regardless of where you fall on the overweight vs obesity scale, evidence suggests that the excessive accumulation of weight is a result of more than just diet. Often, factors like genetics, socioeconomic standing, mental health, and more play a role in this condition's development, too. This is why most doctor-backed weight loss plans today focus on holistic programs rather than just obsessing over food alone.
As it is, being overweight or obese can make a person vulnerable to social stigmas surrounding their weight. This can lead to bouts of anxiety, depression, and extreme self-deprecation. Furthermore, the emotional strain caused by weight stigma can lead a person to binge eat, where they consume large amounts of food in a short time span. Binge eating is a common coping method for a loss of control over emotions or other aspects of one’s life, such as body image. This causes an unhealthy cycle where a person makes food a crutch without actually providing long-term benefits to any aspect of their well-being. With all that said, it is, thus, unsurprising that nearly 43% of all adults with depression are also diagnosed as obese.
The Overall Benefits That Weight Loss Can Bring
Since everybody is different and we're all dealing with unique circumstances, the ultimate effects of weight loss vary greatly. Having said that, there are some general benefits that can be observed, according to experts. For starters, even losing just 8% of your body weight has been found to decrease depressive symptoms. Further research also proves that this improvement in your mindset is not short-lived, as sustained weight management after hitting a healthier weight can boost moods for up to two years.
Besides these, weight loss can also make your body less vulnerable to other serious diseases. Apart from the chronic illnesses mentioned earlier, these include diabetes, arthritis, and even dementia. Since these chronic diseases are known to affect overall quality of life, by reducing your likelihood of developing them, you are also securing a happier and brighter future.
Overall, weight loss is not only about the numbers we see on a weighing scale or the fat we store in our bodies. Instead, weight loss emphasizes the importance of overall health and well-being since it promotes improvements for both body and mind. To ensure that your weight loss is aligned with your individual needs and preferences, try approaching a wellness expert so you can safely and sustainably begin your holistic health journey.
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