Durvasula has more suggestions for how to get to a healthy weight.
“Take the time to connect back with you, take stock on how you eat, and most importantly why you eat,” she said. “Keep a food diary to identify tricky times of day, places, foods, etc.”
Sometimes psychological issues are the culprit of food issues, and that’s when it can be helpful to see a mental health professional.
“This is about your body and your mind - listen to both and don't just mindlessly follow a ‘diet plan’ to achieve a short term weight loss goal -this should be about mental and physical wellness and sustainability,” Durvasula said.
Martina Cartwright, a registered dietitian in Scottsdale, said the connection between good mental health and healthy weight is complex, because some people are at an unhealthy weight but think it is healthy, and they might experience poor mental health.
“So if we define healthy weight as being within one's BMI or appropriate weight for age AND the person accepts that their current and truly objective weight (as measured on the scale or the way their clothes fit) is healthy, then yes being a healthy weight does impact mental health,” Cartwright said.
However, it is also common for most women to have issues with their weight or certain body parts.
“The depth of this dissatisfaction can have a profound effect on self-esteem, self-confidence and happiness,” she said. “Having a positive outlook is usually coupled with higher self-esteem and better body satisfaction but may not lead to a healthy weight. It is more about body acceptance rather than the number on the scale.”
She said some studies have been conducted showing a link between weight and mental health issues. For example, obesity has been associated with moodiness, sadness and depression.
“Obsessive compulsive disorder is often linked to anorexia nervosa, and depression is associated with stress or binge eating disorder and bulimia,” Cartwright added.
“Most bulimics are within normal weight ranges. However, anorexics are very thin and many binge eaters are overweight.”
Depression can also contribute to weight gain, and vice versa.