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Does obesity impact my mental health?

Mental Health and Obesity

Obesity can affect a person’s health far beyond just the physical manifestations and side effects associated with this disease. From 2014-15, 28% of Australian adults were classified as obese. An increase from 19% in 1995, equating to almost 2 in 3 adults classified as overweight or obese. [1]

Some of the physical effects associated with obesity like sleep apnoea, asthma, breathlessness and daytime fatigue, are all greatly increased. There is another side of obesity that may be ignored due to not being as visible. That is the mental impact of obesity on a person.

Self-Conscious

Most people living with obesity will have already been wandering down the path of being self-conscious for a while. From the moment they started noticing weight gain, and having it pointed out by others, they would have started to dress differently to hide it. Buying larger and bulkier clothing to hide the changes to their body.

At this stage the game will have changed and now be more of a mental taunting. The person will start telling themselves people are watching them and making comments. They become uncomfortable about eating out in public and imagine others making comments and talking about them.

Reclusive

Eventually, when the mental games become too much, a person living with obesity may just redraw from society completely. The imagined, or real, judgements from others become too much, but instead of starting down the lengthy journey of weight loss, they choose to redraw from society completely. They choose to take the easy road and only ever leave the house to attend to jobs. Their social life suffers, and so will their relationships, as friends and family continue their life as normal.

Depression

It is not something that can be easily identified by friend or family, let alone the individual suffering from it, as they can be too close to the problem to see it themselves.

The symptoms of depression can take many forms, and are different for everyone. While many will associate sadness with depression, other representations may be complaining about how they “can’t get moving”, or are feeling completely unmotivated to do anything – like getting dressed in the morning, or leaving the house to get the paper – the little things can seem like monumental tasks.

Depression doesn’t just last for hours or days, it lasts for weeks and months, interfering with a person’s work or school, their relationships with others and ability to enjoy life and just have fun. If that person is obese, these feelings can be greatly compounded by the physical restrictions of their condition.

How can they enjoy life or have fun when even the shortest of walks makes them short of breath, or just sitting in a restaurant chair is uncomfortable with the arms digging in to their body? Everything is a constant reminder and pushes them further down the well of depression.

Binge Eating

Binge eating and obesity can seem like a “chicken or the egg” scenario. Was it the cause of becoming obese, or has it developed due to a dramatic reduction in exercise and increased food consumption? Binge eating is not the same as regularly eating large quantities of food.

It is generally defined as: ‘eating an amount of food that is larger than what most people would eat and a sense of lacking any control over eating during the episode’. People who engage in binge eating are uncomfortable and distressed by their behaviour. For most people who binge eat, they do so at least once a week and usually tend to try and hide their behaviour from others.[2]

Essentially, binge eating can become a major part in a never-ending cycle.

Life Weight Loss Centre holds regular FREE weight loss surgery seminars, where people can meet our surgeon, Dr Durmush, and find out more information about weight loss surgical options, and meet like-minded people looking to change their lives for the better. Attendees can also speak with past patients, and find out how their lives have changed since seeking the help of Life Weight Loss Centre.

To book your spot at our next seminar, or to secure a consultation, please feel free to call us on 1300 669 259, or you can register your interest using our online registration form.


[1] https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-statistics/behaviours-risk-factors/overweight-obesity/overview

[2] https://psychcentral.com/disorders/eating-disorders/binge-eating/

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