About Lynn

lynn jaffeeLynn Jaffee is a licensed acupuncturist and the author of the book, Simple Steps: The Chinese Way to Better Health, a clear and concise explanation of Chinese medicine for the lay person. She is co-author of the book, The BodyWise Woman, a personal health manual for physically active women and girls. Read more about Lynn...

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Depression's Strong Influence on Obesity

We have a guest blogger! Rachelle Holmes of Metropolitan MD in Chicago is posting about the link between depression and obesity. In the clinic, I see quite a few people who are dealing with depression as well as weight issues, belly fat, sugar cravings, low energy and lack of motivation. In Chinese medicine, there is a powerful link between strong emotions and digestive health and obesity. Thanks, Rachelle, for covering this topic!

Obesity in today’s youth can’t solely be attributed to overeating and lack of exercise.  It’s important to understand that excessive weight gain can be influenced by heredity and family behavior.  Even as early as in Psych 101, we have learned that overeating can be a behavioral problem.

In a reputable piece published by Medical News Today, doctors from the University of Adelaide linked obesity directly to  depression. Specifically, author Dr. Evan Atlantis states “Although the topic is largely unexplored, several psychosocial, lifestyle and physiological factors may be involved in the complex inter-relationship between obesity and mental illness…” Subsequent feelings of low self esteem, low self worth, and guilt often contribute greatly to a person’s every day eating habits. Dr. Atlantis continues,  “Obesity may constitute a chronic stressful state, which in turn can cause significant physiological dysfunction. Such dysfunction would then predispose individuals to depressed mood and associated symptoms.” Ultimately, this dysfunction would activate the endocannabinoid system, which in turn, increases appetite and may altogether alleviate depression.

Some of the most comment causes of obesity in the world today are:

•Diet
•Lifestyle
•Metabolism
•Genetics/Heredity
•Emotions
•Lack of Sleep
•Medications
•Diseases

The domino affect allows many people to dig themselves into holes; leading to weight gain and depression. It’s not an easy task to eliminate excessive fat due to depressive symptoms.  Subsequently, a person may find him/herself having to overcome depression AND lose weight.
As challenging a task as this may sound, people still have options.  This condition that already produces several health problems that cause many to seek help via weight-loss procedures from centers like MetropolitanMD (a Chicago liposuction and cosmetic surgery center that employs some of the best plastic surgeons Chicago has to offer).

However, before consulting with a surgeon, individuals should look to natural weight loss practices, such as exercise and diet. Instinctively enough, those who suffer from depressive systems tend to be inactive, which in turn leads to weight problems. It’s important to remember to stay as active as possible, which includes more than simply going for a run four days a week.  Connecting with friends, family, and coworkers is great way to avoid depression, which is related to lifestyle, but can directly affect one’s mood.

Mood swings are common for those suffering with depression and can be caused by a lack of communication and poor relationships with others. Perhaps the easiest way to stay healthy is to surround yourself with healthy people, creating a much healthier environment to live in. Behavioral traits have a tendency to spread like wildfire within a group, so it’s  important to remove yourself from an unhealthy situation. It’s equally important to pay close attention to any type of medication that you may be on as side affects could potentially lead to disease, lack of sleep or a sudden change in diet. Moreover, this could all lead to an increase in weight.

Emotional stability is important in any person’s life, and will directly affect their lifestyle. Combined with the above contributing factors, emotional dysfunction has the potential to be a lethal underlying cause for obesity. It’s quite easy to notice the correlation amongst the causes/symptoms of depression and obesity. The best way to avoid this growing epidemic is to take preventative action. Remember to stay healthy and help promote healthy habits by influencing others around you to do the same.

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