May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so a lot of messages popping up on your radar probably have a lot to do with happiness. But did you know that mental health is actually super complex? So complex, in fact, that the state of your mental health also affects your weight.
Your Brain Affects Your Body
Despite beliefs among many, your brain and body are intricately connected. How can they not be? Think about a time you’ve ever felt extremely anxious. Did your stomach get upset? Did you feel tingling in your arms or legs? All day and every day, your brain sends signals to your body as the two function simultaneously. It’s no wonder, then, that your thoughts and feelings also influence your weight. And as you know, weight management is also highly complex.
Cortisol, a stress hormone that triggers appetite and metabolic changes, is one example. So is emotional eating, a condition that often translates to excess calorie consumption as a result of severe mental anguish. Many classified mental health disorders, such as chronic depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Bipolar Disorder, are strongly associated with overweight and obesity for a number of reasons including:
- Poor self image
- Physical inactivity
- Biological disruptions
- Social stigma
Mental Health Awareness Matters
Awareness campaigns like Mental Health Awareness Month are important because they teach us the value of things in our life, and society, that often go overlooked. A lot of stigma is attached to many mental health conditions, disorders and illnesses, making it hard for people to prioritize their mental state and get the help they need while receiving treatment if necessary.
In your own weight management journey, don’t forget that your brain is just as important as your body. Take steps to ensure you feel balanced, happy and healthy through all stages. Maybe that means more days dedicated to self-care. Maybe a certified counselor or psychologist can coach you through your challenges and help you overcome them successfully. Maybe you need to work on stress management or simplifying your daily routine.
Whatever mental health looks like for you, don’t let it fall by the wayside as you work hard at managing your weight. Remember that your brain and body are very closely connected.
Learn More about Mental Health and Weight Management at YWM2019, August 1-3
Wanting to learn more about mental health and its connection to weight management? Interested in learning mental tools to help you find success with weight-loss or weight maintenance? Check out the Obesity Action Coalition’s (OAC – Producer of the Your Weight Matters Campaign) Your Weight Matters Convention & EXPO, coming to Tampa August 1-3. At YWM2019, discover invigorating science-based weight management topics relating to this subject including:
- Understanding What Drives Hunger: The Connection between Your Brain and Appetite
- A Complete Look at Mental Health Obesity: Before, During and After Treatment
- Using Your Values to Empower Healthy Chance with Acceptance-based Therapy
- Creating a Place Called Happiness: Fixing Your Foundation in a Broken World