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How Does Mood Affect Your Weight?

The power of a good or bad mood is highly and generally underrated to the extent that most people don’t even realise that the state of their mood does not only affect their mental wellbeing, but also their immediate environment and physical wellbeing including body weight change.

The relationship between our day to day mood and weight loss or, alternatively, stress and weight gain is a very complicated one that is caused by some factors which include hormones, food choices, Seasonal Affective Disorder and more. It is not impossible, however, to maintain a stable body weight and a positive attitude that can promote a stable mood. That is why in this article, we will help you understand how your mood can affect your weight.

How does our mood affect weight?

There are a few factors popularly known to cause a change in weight as a result of our daily mood. These are:

1. Hormones

The human body is made up of different hormones that takes responsibility for different activities going on in our body, including weight gain and loss. There are also hormones and other biological factors that influence our mood when we are stressed, hence the link between stress and weight gain. These hormones include Cortisol. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal gland when our body faces a reasonable amount of stress. This hormone has been recognised to decrease the ability of our body to shed off extra pounds by holding on to stubborn fats when we are stressed. In this situation, cases of “emotional eating” or “stress eating” can easily thrive and lead to weight gain as there is no control of the extra pounds gained during this period. This is a perfect instance of stress and weight gain.

Another hormone that causes weight change as a result of mood or stress is Ghrelin. Ghrelin is a hormone that has a high presence in our body when we are stressed. This hormone directly affects our desire to eat, thereby causing a change in our body weight. Oestrogen, a female sex hormone, can also influence weight change.

In contrast to this, as some hormones tend to promote the idea of stress and weight gain by increasing food intake, others like leptin can lead to stress and weight loss as it decreases food intake when we are stressed.

2. Food Choices

Food choices as a factor in this list can influence our mood and body weight both positively and negatively. This goes to say, our mood affects what we eat, just as what we eat affects our mood. For instance, have you ever asked yourself why some people prefer to start their day with a hot cup of coffee? Well, this is because many studies have come to the conclusion that the caffeine present in a cup of coffee improves our mood. As a result, as we eat healthily and our body feels good, our mood naturally improves, thereby encouraging a healthy link between good mood and weight loss.

On the other hand, what we feel can also affect what we eat. For instance, a lot of people respond to stress by opting for food that is filled with high fats, sugars and calories. According to research in Finland, stress eaters tend to lean towards food like chocolate, pizza, sausages, ice creams, cakes and burgers. This is because they try to make themselves feel better when they are stressed. High fat and calorie dense food is a better option for that, thereby making food a desirable factor in times of stress. This can, however, lead to stress belly fat.

3. Seasonal Affective Disorder

D disorder, as it is sometimes called, is a disorder that can easily affect our moods and cause depression. This is usually as a result of the change in season. Seasonal Affective Disorder tends to cause weakness, lack of energy, insomnia and a change in our eating patterns and often occurs during the same period of time yearly. This SAD disorder can be treated by engaging in phototherapy (the use of lights to as treatment), chronotherapy and the use of and plant-based supplements. In addition to your treatment plan, you should also exercise regularly, take long walks, and get soaked up in a sunnier environment.

4. Stress

People handle the various difficulties of life and stress differently. Some people have the strength to let go of a stressful situation without letting it hold them back. Others may have a stress relieving technique like going to the spa, travelling, having massages or spending time with family, while some will hold on to a stressful situation so that it eventually starts affecting their physical wellbeing. Many studies over the years have shown that a lot of overweight people eat food as a method to cope with a bad situation or when they are under stress. This is more likely to lead to a stress and weight gain scenario. In contrast, some people especially underweight people cope with a stressful situation differently as they tend to eat less in stressful times.

Conclusively, exercise is generally good for maintaining a healthy body weight, but you shouldn’t underestimate the power of positively motivating yourself every single day. Apart from promoting a stable and healthy mental wellbeing, maintaining a good mood or positive vibe daily comes with other health benefits like achieving a healthy body weight. A negative attitude will only plummet your mood and your stress level so that it will gradually start translating into weight loss or weight gain. So, in order to avoid falling into a bad mood or depression like Seasonal Affective Disorder, try to stay positively motivated.