It is especially common to gain or lose weight because of dietary and lifestyle changes. Many people go through bouts of sadness in their life. In some cases, it can even affect their weight drastically. Because of that, their mental health can suffer along with having severe negative body image issues.
When trying to adopt a weight management program, it’s important to consider if your mental health is a factor. People experiencing depression or anxiety may lose their appetite or use food as a coping mechanism.
Increased appetite and decreased physical activity are common symptoms of depression. This contributes to weight gain or loss and may have an undesired effect on their body and appearance. Some psychiatric drugs like antipsychotics also add to weight gain.
Life is indeed all about balance. Setting a healthy portion of food to consume and a healthy amount of exercise does wonders for your mental well-being and overall quality of life.
The goal of weight loss programs is to maintain a healthy weight while consuming fewer calories and increasing physical activity. It sounds straightforward; however, for most people, life gets in the way. There are many factors to consider when formulating a weight loss program for yourself. Thankfully, a weight management counselor can help you with that.
How Counseling Can Help With Weight Management
Weight management counselors are professionals who aim to improve your mental health and body image. They design individual programs that make changes in your lifestyle through diet and exercise.
Weight management counseling may involve some exercises to help cope with weight changes. Your counselor may help you achieve your health goals by understanding your relationship with food, diets, body image, etc. They may also take note of negative behaviors around food that don’t support your health goals, such as the following:
- Finishing your plate when you’re already full
- Eating out of boredom
- Eating a lot of processed food
- Skipping meals
Forcing yourself to eat even when you’re not hungry is just as bad as starving yourself because it can ruin your hunger cues. It’s important to listen to your body.
You can achieve your weight loss goals by setting personal milestones with yourself through the help of your counselor. Here are some programs that your counselor may share with you to help manage your weight.
Weight Management Program With Your Counselor
Your counselor will help you develop long-term solutions for managing your weight, such as adopting positive eating and exercising habits. These solutions may include meal plans and exercise programs. Working with your counselor can help you be motivated and further understand your relationship with food and exercise.
Self-monitoring your behavior with food also helps. When having your meals, it’s important to note your satiety levels and food that make you happy. This will help you figure out how much is an appropriate amount to eat for each meal. Being more mindful of what you consume is an effective plan to stop mindless eating.
Understanding food associations is also important in discovering your eating patterns. Most people associate food with stress and like to eat when they are feeling stressed. Some like to eat sweets and junk food when they watch TV shows. Every time they watch TV, they subconsciously desire to eat an unhealthy amount of chocolate or candy mindlessly.
Your counselor may ask you to keep a food diary to log your food and emotions consistently. Over time, you may see some improvements and gain a deeper understanding of your relationship with food.
A good tip for succeeding in your weight management program is to reinforce positive behavior when needed, like rewarding yourself once in a while.
How Exercise Helps
While this is a productive way to help manage your weight, research shows that incorporating frequent exercise in your lifestyle has significant improvements in mental health. People with depression and anxiety are often advised to add exercise and movement to their lifestyle.
Exercising naturally relieves stress and tension and can help you burn more calories. Incorporating exercise into your everyday life is proven to improve your mental health and self-esteem greatly.
Research shows that exercise is a natural endorphin booster that energizes you and triggers a positive feeling in your brain. You can start by doing low-intensity home exercises for just 30 minutes a day to increase your heart rate. That alone will be enough to make a change in your lifestyle.
Keeping A Balanced Diet
Proper nutrition and exercise will always aid in improving your mental health. After all, you are what you eat. So choose to be a happy and healthy person! A well-balanced nutritional diet consists of a proportional amount of protein, carbs, and fat in your meals.
You can start by making healthy swaps in your regular diet. Try swapping white rice with brown rice or white bread with whole wheat bread. If you haven’t been eating many vegetables, you could introduce them slowly to your diet.
It’s also time to cut off processed food from your diet and start stocking up on whole foods. Some studies indicate that preservatives, additives, and sugar can worsen depression in the long run.
If you have more dietary concerns, your weight management counselor should develop a proper meal plan that should work personally for you.
It’s important to watch your weight and diet while also taking care of your mental health. Looking after your body is also looking after your spirit. Setting frequent appointments with your counselor can help motivate you in the long run. It can also provide you with strategic and sustainable weight loss programs personally suited for your behavior and lifestyle.
Consistency is critical to improvement. Compounding small habits to include in your daily life can easily add up over time. Committing to a weight management program is for the long-term and must be sustainable. So it would help if you chose a lifestyle that works only for you.
Improving your mental health includes making healthy changes in your lifestyle, which also means taking better care of yourself. Treat yourself to eating the right amount of food you love and incorporating exercise that you enjoy in your life!