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It is likely too hard to tell if your mental health indirectly caused weight gain, or weight gain affects your mental health.

Obesity can have a significant impact on a person’s mental wellbeing, adults with excess weight have a much higher risk of developing depression compared to people that do not struggle with their weight. Below is a look at how obesity can affect mental health and vice versa:

  1. Low self-esteem: Obesity is often associated with societal stigma, body shaming, and negative stereotypes. People with weight issues may experience low self-esteem and poor body image, which can lead to feelings of shame, guilt, and self-blame. This negative self-perception can impact overall mental well-being.
  2. Depression and anxiety: Obesity has been linked to higher rates of depression and anxiety. The social isolation, discrimination, and negative body image associated with obesity can contribute to these mental health conditions. Additionally, hormonal imbalances and inflammation associated with obesity may directly affect brain chemistry and contribute to the development of these disorders.
  3. Eating disorders: While obesity and eating disorders may seem contradictory, they can be interconnected. Some individuals with obesity may develop binge eating disorder, which involves consuming large amounts of food in a short period and feeling a loss of control. This can further contribute to weight gain and negatively impact mental health.
  4. Poor quality of life: Obesity can limit physical mobility and decrease overall quality of life. Difficulties in performing daily activities, such as exercise or even simple tasks, can lead to frustration, decreased self-worth, and feelings of helplessness, which can affect mental well-being.
  5. Social withdrawal and isolation: People with obesity may face discrimination and social stigma, which can lead to social withdrawal and isolation. This lack of social support and meaningful connections can contribute to feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety.
  6. Cognitive function: Some research suggests that obesity may have negative effects on cognitive function and increase the risk of conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This can further impact mental health by causing cognitive decline and emotional distress.

It is important to note that the relationship between obesity and mental health is complex, and individual experiences may vary. Seeking professional help from healthcare providers, such as therapists, counselors, or registered dietitians, can be beneficial in addressing both physical and mental health concerns associated with obesity.


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We asked our experts for advice about ways to minimize stress and help everyone in the family feel as good as possible about this unusual holiday season.

1. Don’t wait to make plans

Give everyone time to make good decisions and get comfortable with them, especially if they represent a big change in family traditions.

2. Discuss house rules in advance

You need clear communication, maybe with everybody getting on a call beforehand and laying out who’s comfortable with what.

3. Stay the course

It can be helpful have a script to use if someone isn’t respecting the rules: “My mom says I’m not allowed to give you a hug this year but we can wave!”

4. Give the kids a voice

What would they like to cook?
What games do they want to play?
Do they want to set aside time for favorite movies or listen to special music?

Being part of that decision-making process helps offset some of those negative feelings.

5. Create a safe space to express disappointment

Things will be different this year, family and friends of all ages have expectations for the holiday, many of which will not happen and so create disappointments. Keeping everyone, including your kids in the conversation and letting them know they are heard, can help them feel respected even in situations that don’t go the way they want.