I have been thinking a lot lately about being obese and depressed. I notice shows and movies like to make fun of this scenario using witty commentary such as: I’m depressed because I eat, and I eat because I’m depressed.
For anyone like myself who has or continues to go through the fight with both obesity and depression this is far from funny. To us it would be similar to insulting African Americans because they are black, insulting physically challenged because they are handicapped, and I’m sure we could come up with a million other similar insults.
Just because you cannot see a visual difference in the way depressed individuals who are obese function, it does not mean there isn’t an underlying reason.
This past weekend one of my relatives passed me two pictures that she had of me as a child. They were probably both within the nine to 11 year old age range. Mentally I do not picture myself anything but fat. When I look back on my childhood I remember always being obese. Yet, here I am in these two pictures not obese in any way shape or form.
It’s scary that I have actual pictures of my childhood showing me what I looked like at that time and the way I picture myself is totally different. So now I am beginning to question how I can mentally get something so wrong. Why does my mind allow me to picture myself in the wrong form?
I have a long history of depression and anxiety that I deal with everyday. Looking at these old pictures of me I realize that even though I had a lot of anxiety as a child and unhappy moments I wasn’t always fat. I don’t believe that anyone is depressed because they are obese and obese because they are depressed.
What I can conclude is that for me, I was depressed long before I was obese. Now when it comes to food I think that I began to self medicate with it. That taste of something sweet, sugary, salty, carbs, etc would make you feel good for the time it took to eat it. I began to want to feel that pleasure more and more so you begin to eat more and more of the food you shouldn’t. Obviously over time this made me obese.
Now being obese definitely added to my depression because it was a drag on my whole body and lifestyle. I also think that it takes a really strong mind to get over obese lifestyle to help make the correct eating choices and to say no to food. This is where the depression can really get a hold of you. It is very difficult to overcome an eating addiction when your mind is already running at less than optimal performance.
So I do believe that my obesity and depression both contribute to my current situation but if I can increase my mental strength I can overcome the obesity and weaken depressions hold on me.
In the next week I am going to post an article listing a combination of foods that are good for both the mind and the body then discuss how I am incorporating them into my daily diet.
I just wanted to put this out there because most literature on depression states that tends to be significant weight loss due to the lack of interest in food. I know that this is not the case because I have met many North Americans who are both depressed and obese that use food as a drug treat the depression but in the end doing more harm.
For those of you in this boat I just wanted you to know that you are not alone. I hope that you join me in fighting back against these two areas of our lives so that we can get a greater part of our life back.