The Relationship Between Weight Loss and Depression

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For many people, depression can have a direct impact on their weight. Whether it causes weight gain or weight loss can vary depending on the person. In some cases, depression might lead to losing appetite, poor food choices, or even missing meals. Let’sLet’s have a closer look at the relationship between weight loss and depression.


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In This Article: 

  1. Overview 
  2. Signs of Connection Between Weight Loss and Depression
  3. What You Can Do to Get Back on Track 
  4. When to Seek Help 


Read on to Learn More About Weight Loss and Depression


In some cases, depression, which causes stress, can potentially affect your body’s internal functioning, which can lead to weight loss as you lose the desire to eat. Usually, this condition is only temporary, and your weight tends to return to normal once the cause of your depression has passed.

However, this is not always the case as it can be very situational. If this lasts for an extended period, your body will likely adapt to your current weight at that moment, and your weight won’t be able to change back to its original state.

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Signs of Connection Between Weight Loss and Depression

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Everyone experiences stress and depression from time to time. Finances, work, relationships, trauma, and life changes can all cause depression. When you have depression, your body’s function and procession can be affected, leading to an eating disorder. So it would help if you noticed the first signs of weight loss and depression.


Alteration of the HPA Axis

The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis regulates the body’s reaction to stress, which influences cortisol levels.

When the body is under tension, the pituitary gland signals cortisol transfer to the adrenal glands. This hormone increases the body’s energy fuel by releasing glucose and fatty acids from the liver. Chronic depression influences the functioning of the HPA axis, inducing changes in metabolism and eating patterns.


Inflammation and Activation of Vagal Nerve

Depression and poor dietary choices due to stress can contribute to weight loss and widespread inflammation. This inflammation will contribute to the vagus nerve’s activation, affecting how the intestines absorb and metabolize food.


Gastrointestinal Distress

Depression can profoundly impact the communication between gastrointestinal (GI) systems and the brain, making the symptoms more apparent. Depression affects all aspects of the GI system, including the esophagus, liver, and intestine.

Some of the GI symptoms include:

  • Gas
  • Nausea
  • Swallowing Difficulty
  • Heartburn or reflux
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle spasms
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Decreased or Increased appetite

All of these symptoms can affect your eating habits leading to weight loss.


Activation of the Body’sBody’s Fight-or-Flight Response

As you experience depression, the nervous system activates epinephrine release, also known as adrenaline, from the adrenal glands. The epinephrine rush triggers the body’s fight-or-flight reflex, preparing a human to escape or fight an immediate danger.

Epinephrine raises your heart rate and speeds up your breathing, which burns more calories. It also changes how the stomach digests food alters the level of blood glucose.


What You Can Do to Get Back on Track

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The connection between weight loss and depression runs deeper than you think, so if you want to get back to your full health, you should start with getting rid of your depression then move on to your weight loss problems.

Stress is the cause of your depression, so here are some methods for you to reduce your stress level:

  • Yoga and meditation
  • Learn about relaxation and breathing techniques
  • Exercise
  • Learn a new skill
  • Read a book
  • Listen to music
  • Talking to others ( friends or family)
  • Stay away from alcohol and drugs
  • Go to the psychiatrist
  • Get more sleep

There are plenty of solutions for your weight loss; you can start by fixing your eating schedule, diet, and portion.


Set a Reminder

As you’re under stress and suffering from depression, sometimes it can be hard to remember to have your meal. This is why having a reminder on your phone or alarm can prevent you from skipping meals.


Eat Smaller Portions

Having a hearty meal while you’re feeling down can be something next to impossible for some. Therefore, prepare your meal in such a way that will help you to enjoy your meal more.


Choose Food with Mood-Improving Properties

Stay away from sweets and other kinds of treats in favor of something a little healthier, which can positively affect your moods, such as veggies, fruits, and whole foods.

Some food you should go for:

  • Tuna and salmon can help reduce stress with the omega-3 fatty acid which they contain.
  • Carrots and oranges contain immune-boosting antioxidants.
  • Leafy vegetables rich in vitamin B help your nervous system to regulate.
  • Avoid foods that can increase your blood sugar.

Though high sugar food may provide a quick energy boost, the after effect can leave you feeling worse than before.

High in fat and sodium food can make your condition worse.

The food you should avoid includes:

  • Candy
  • Soda or any sugary beverages
  • Baked or fried foods
  • Processed foods


When to Seek Help

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Losing a pound or two isn’t much to worry about, but a sudden and undesired weight loss and depression can take a toll on your health.

You should seek medical help as soon as possible if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Excessive drinking to cope with your condition
  • Have chronic headaches

Doctors and healthcare professionals can determine the cause of your problem and find the best route of action to help you with your condition.


Have you ever experienced weight loss and depression before? Let us know your thoughts on how you deal with depression in the comments below! 


Do you have any sleep troubles? Let us know how we can help you. Contact us at [email protected]



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