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Depression, Obesity and Overeating: Breaking the Detrimental Cycle

By HERWriter
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depression, obesity and overeating can form a detrimental cycle JupiterImages/Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock

1) “Learn to correctly identify your feelings. Believe it or not, a lot of people have difficulty differentiating between sad, anxious, bored and stressed.”

2) “Identify your triggers (what makes you sad or anxious).”

3) “Learn to recognize your body’s way of telling you that you are hungry.”

4) “Limit foods that trigger overeating. My suggestion: don't keep them in the house; having to go out and buy it may help hinder consumption.”

5) “Have a schedule for your meals.”

6) “Keep a food journal. It helps you identify your eating patterns and your feelings before you eat.”

7) “Create replacement activities: What are things you can do instead of eating? Perhaps you can take a relaxing bath, call a friend, or read a book.”

8) “If there are major circumstances in your life that impact your emotions, such as relationship problems or work problems, it is important to talk to a professional (therapist or health coach) that can help you combat the stressors.”

Kormeili shares what she believes causes overeating in some cases.

“Our lives are stressful with many ups and downs,” she said in an email.

“There is a constant media pressure for how you should look. Just read any magazine from Glamour to [Cosmopolitan], and you are hit hard with this message. When you don't fit into the stereotype of what beauty or health should look like, then it affects your self-esteem. The worse you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to engage in emotional eating. Depression increases your appetite and lowers your motivation to be active. It doesn't really matter if depression came first or obesity, but it is clear that the two are connected.”

Trudy Scott, a food mood expert, certified nutritionist, and author of “The Anti-Anxiety Food Solution,” said in an email that emotional eating has a biological cause.

“Emotional eaters are often drawn to comfort foods like cakes, cookies, chocolate and ice cream as a result of low endorphins, our feel-good brain chemical,” Scott said.

Add a Comment11 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

what a load of useless suggestions... when a person is depressed he/she doesn't care about anything let alone carefully planning her diet, food or protein, or exercise... can't you come up with better advises on how to start caring again and not feel depressed enough to focus on controlling it?!

June 14, 2017 - 6:41am
EmpowHER Guest

The only way that helped me back into shape is through using a diet pill. Whenever I'm troubled, I would always resort to my comfort food. That's how I got over-sized. I then used Prescopodene and I did lost all my excessive weight but in terms handling my emotions, I've learned that having a support group or venting out your troubles to trusted people is one of the best way to manage emotions. I have also been attending yoga to have control on my mind especially when I am stressed.

June 18, 2013 - 8:38pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I agree. I also tend to over eat when I'm troubled. Obviously, that's the main reason why I'm fat. I've been big since birth and I have been bullied for about a million times and I never seemed to move on from loser-ville. Most of the people suffering from depression aren't aware that they are depressed and the only compensatory mechanism they know is to eat for comfort.The key of the matter is having the awareness that your depressed. Once you know that there's a problem, being aware will help you think of a sound solution. I'm no psychologist but I have personal experience. It's true that venting out and having support groups is a big help. Having real people who've been in your shoes and understand where your coming from. People who could empathize your situation. That's how I've learned to let go of my emotional baggage. I've dealt with how to have control over my emotions as its the culprit that causes me to become bigger due to over eating. I have also been offered to take diet pills just like that of Prescopodene. While taking the pill, we also have these gym sessions so on a nutshell, these support group helped me to become the new me.

June 30, 2013 - 8:45pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

That's a great story you've shared. Mine though is a little different but the same because I've tried that prescopodene too. At first, I thought I would never ever get the chance of buying diet pills but I did. I grew tired of exercising and I'm actually running out of time to lose weight for my wedding on October this year. I've always been insecure about my body and now that my wedding is fast approaching, mixed emotions most of the time lead me to over eating. I have search for diet pills before and for a month, I've tried this prescopodene. I think it's a great weight loss aid diet pill because I have actually lost 8.5 lbs in 3 weeks and I'm still using it to get the best shape ever so I could be the most beautiful bride on October. Wish me luck!!!

July 5, 2013 - 6:31am
EmpowHER Guest

At Easton Hospital we understand that a slip does not mean you are a failure. When you experience a lapse it is important to be honest with yourself, turn to your supporters and remember your past successes. For more information on how to move beyond all-or-nothing thinking go to

August 28, 2012 - 10:15am
EmpowHER Guest

Rheyanne, thanks for that splendid sharing. It is really a useful article. I have another success story about overeating and weightloss Read http://bit.ly/Mfic3G

June 29, 2012 - 2:38am
EmpowHER Guest

Loved reading all the great tips! Thanks for including mine.
Elika Kormeili

June 3, 2012 - 9:29am
EmpowHER Guest

Great article Rheyanne! I’m so glad you addressed this emotional aspect of overeating! I’m also a big fan of keeping a food log to log how you feel before indulging (for example, “I feel like a deserve a treat” or “I need something to numb me”) and then how you feel after indulging (for example “I now feel comforted”). I’m also a big fan of getting enough protein through the day an especially at breakfast. I also encourage the consumption of grass-fed red meat which has as much omega-3s as salmon, plus all the amino acids, zinc and iron needed for making our brain chemicals like serotonin and endorphins.
Trudy Scott, Food Mood Expert and Nutritionist, author The Antianxiety Food Solution

June 2, 2012 - 9:59am
EmpowHER Guest

Great tips, - and not only for women :) My husband has been struggling with his weight for years plus social anxiety and depression. His favorite method of dealing with both the food urges and bad feelings has been to go for walks, http://www.sociophobics.com/obesity-depression-anxiety/ - which seems to fit quite well with your recommendations, getting some 'feel-good' hormones circling around and taking just one day at a time.

May 30, 2012 - 1:13pm
EmpowHER Guest

Food addiction is related to Emotional. Over 1,000 people stopped a food addiction in Europe by addressing the root cause Click here http://foodaddictions.wordpress.com/food-addiction-help-food-addiction-help-on-your-own-in-private/

May 30, 2012 - 12:02pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.