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Depression, Obesity and Overeating: Breaking the Detrimental Cycle

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

“A big clue that you have low endorphins is that you really, really love the food you are craving – such as chocolate – and when you do indulge [it] provides pleasure, comfort or a numbing effect. These comfort foods are often addicting and provide short-term pleasure. However, they do lead to weight gain and cause nutrient depletions of zinc, magnesium and other minerals, leading to further indulgences and a vicious cycle.”

However, there are some ways you can combat these issues.

“The amino acid supplement DPA (d-phenylalanine) is very effective for raising endorphins and eliminating emotional eating so you won’t feel deprived and won’t have to use willpower,” Scott said.

“Moderate exercise also raises levels of endorphins, and therefore can help with sadness and comfort eating. Meditation and acupuncture can also help raise endorphin levels. Interestingly, acts of generosity, such [as] doing nice things for others, can also raise endorphin levels.”

There are many ways to combat the cycle of depression-obesity-overeating. Working on your exercise, sleep and diet routines seem to all impact mood and the development of some mental disorders like depression.

What are your suggestions?


ScienceDaily. Vicious Cycle of Over-Eating and Feeling Depressed Explained. Web. May 29, 2012.

Karst, Karlene. Email interview. May 29, 2012.

Scott, Trudy. Email interview. May 29, 2012. http://www.antianxietyfoodsolution.com

Kormeili, Elika. Email interview. May 29, 2012.

Reviewed May 30, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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.