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Weight Loss

From the effects of the hormone cortisol to the role of genetics in weight loss, this category is packed with everything that you need to know about losing weight the healthy way.

5 Mental Health Benefits of Weight Loss

In addition to the physical advantages, there are numerous psychological benefits of weight loss that can lend to a happier, more confident you.

5 Mental Health Benefits of Weight Loss

Whether stemming from social media or beauty magazines, there is an immense to fit into a certain mold. However, weight loss and sustaining a healthy weight is much more of a vanity value.

Because in addition to improving overall physical health, losing weight lends impressive mental health benefits, including reducing depression risk and mending self-esteem and confidence.

5 Psychological Benefits of Weight Loss

1. Reduces Depression

There is a familiar association between depression and weight, including its reduction that comes with weight loss.

A meta-analysis published in the journal Appetite reviewed 17 studies that assessed for changes in depression following a weight loss intervention.

The findings? Of the 17 studies analyzed, only one of them did not observe a significant reduction in depressive symptoms!

2. Eases Anxiety

While anxiety can provoke weight changes and sabotage personal wellness, does losing weight help anxiety?

Though the link between weight loss and anxiety is scarce, there are nutritional strategies to ease anxiety, all of which are nutritionally-dense and can help optimize overall health.

3. Mends Self-Esteem and Confidence

Although weight status should not dictate how one feels internally, external appearance has directly shown to negatively impact self-esteem, body image, and confidence.

Fortunately, individuals who learn lasting behavioral changes that support weight loss may be able to reframe their mindset to more positive thinking.

The research published in International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity demonstrated greater weight loss results to larger decreases in body size dissatisfaction.

4. Protects from Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia

While Alzheimer's disease has no known cure, there are lifestyle habits that can be modified to lessen the risk of developing it, weight loss and maintenance included.

In fact, a higher midlife body mass index (BMI) is suggested to increase the risk of dementia, but weight loss during the preclinical dementia phase may mask such effects.

The research published in the Alzheimer's & Dementia journal analyzed data from 1.3 million adults living in the United States and Europe, finding people near dementia onset, who then go on to develop dementia, tend to have lower body weight than their dementia-free counterparts.

5. Improves Memory

Along with obesity being a known risk factor for Alzheimer's disease, there is evidence showing individuals who went through the weight loss surgery showed improvements in memory about 12 weeks after surgery.

While the research was conducted on individuals undergoing weight loss surgery, lead researcher displays confidence that the same memory-boosting results can surface following a 20 to 25-pound loss.

And there is much to be optimistic about, as memory performance has shown to improve following weight loss related facilitated from consuming a healthy diet.

Tips for Mental Gain and Weight Loss

From eating a well-balanced breakfast to exercising regularly, these tips can support both mental health and weight loss.

Eat Breakfast Daily

Eating breakfast supports a healthy body weight by lessening and voiding hunger, ultimately reducing the risk of overeating on high-calorie snacks and meals later on. And not to mention, those who eat breakfast tend to have increased alertness, attentiveness, and awareness.

To best optimize the mental benefits of weight loss associated to the morning meal, swap out the sugary donuts and muffins with these 13 high-protein, low-carb breakfast ideas

Not only are they nutritious and delicious, but can be prepared quickly or ahead of time to avoid that busy morning stress.

Increase Fruit and Veggie Intake

From supporting digestive and heart health to promoting weight loss, the benefits of eating fresh fruits and veggies are nonetheless convincing. But aside from what colorful produce can do for physical health, one must not discredit the beneficial gain they may feed the brain!

A recent study published in the British Medical Journal Open and based on Sax's 45 and Up Study further solidifies consuming healthful foods supports mental wellbeing, showing the higher the consumption of fruits and veggies, the lower the rates of psychological stress.

Evidence also continuously supports dietary patterns and its contributing role in the development, management, and prevention of a number mental health disorders and conditions, including depression, Alzheimer's disease, and schizophrenia.

Ensure you meet the 5-a-day recommendation with these 10 ways to increase fruit and vegetable intake.

Reduce Salt Consumption

Though sodium has a critical role in health, too much salt may be hindering weight loss progress. Furthermore, a high-sodium diet poses the risk of blood pressure fluctuations, which has been linked to faster mental decline.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium daily, which can be achieved by cutting out use of the salt shaker, eating more wholesome foods, enhancing flavor with fresh herbs and spices, and reducing the consumption of processed products.

Exercise Regularly

Along with supporting a healthy weight and overall physical health, the mental benefits of exercise are also renowned. Individuals who are mostly sedentary have a higher risk of developing dementia in old age.

The AHA encourages at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise daily, including by running, swimming, biking, and any activity that elevates heart rate. Incorporating strength training two to three times per week also supports greater and sustainable fat loss over a longer duration.

Practice Meal Prep

Healthy eating can be a stressor in itself. Add on the stressor of sticking to a balanced diet to continue weight loss and maintenance can intensify such pressure.

However, allotting a certain time or day of the week to practice meal prep can alleviate such stress whilst eating balanced meals throughout the week.

The use of a weight loss meal delivery service such as bistroMD also offers convenient, healthier eating by delivering well-balanced meals directly to your step – no shopping, cooking, cleaning required. All you do is simply pop one the meals in the microwave, heat for a few minutes, and enjoy!

Achieve Adequate Sleep

Sleep has a pivotal impact on both weight and stress.

First off, sleep loss can cause weight gain by deregulating hunger hormones, exacerbating emotions that lead to stress eating, lowering energy and motivation to exercise and be active, and freeing up time for more eating opportunities. And not to mention, sleep deprivation can exacerbate stress and spin the wheel of one vicious cycle.

To combat such risks, the National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of quality sleep nightly for adult men and women.

Take control over sleep patterns with a healthy bedtime routine by staying consistent with bed and wake times, powering down from electronics, evaluating and modifying room factors as needed, and practicing relaxation techniques.

Manage Stress

While some stress can keep you stimulated and motivated, too much of it can reap havoc on overall health, including increasing the risk of weight gain, depression, anxiety, and heart disease.

Stress can upset the immune system, which is known for a playing role in dementia development, while ongoing cortisol release has been linked to memory problems. High stress may also increase the risk of poor coping mechanisms linked to dementia such as smoking and other substance abuse.

That being said, managing stress can improve brain health by lessening the risk of depression and other mental disorders. Manage stress with positive coping techniques, such as practicing yoga and meditation, walking, dancing, and listening to music.

Sydney Lappe's Photo
Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on November 07, 2012. Updated on February 26, 2019.


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