Is Depression Making You Gain Weight -- or Vice Versa?

Mood, weight, food, comfort eating, and depression are linked in complex ways

If you’re struggling with depression, keeping your weight in check can be quite a challenge. To maintain control, it’s important to focus on factors you can control: lifestyle habits like healthier eating, increased physical activity and effective stress management. These all help support successful weight control when you’re recovering from depression.

Getting the right kind of support (talk therapy, medications or a combination of these) supports the mental focus needed to stay on track with a healthy lifestyle. Small daily changes pay off. Stick with lean protein, colorful fruits and vegetables, and whole grains, and aim for 30 minutes of daily walking. If your doctor recommends medication, ask about medicines not associated with excessive weight gain. And remember that a realistic and reasonable goal can also be “not gaining” -- simply remaining weight stable can be a health plus. Losing weight is not always the goal.

Treatment itself can also affect your size. Weight gain during the treatment for depression is a common side effect when certain prescription medications are used. Some antidepressants cause weight gain by stimulating appetite, reducing metabolic rate or some combination of the two. The number one reason for medication noncompliance in the treatment of depression is unwanted, excessive weight gain. If medication is part of your treatment, talk to your doctor about your weight concerns and discuss selecting an effective medication without the side effect of weight gain.

Related links
-- 9 Ways to Break the Cycle of Comfort Eating
-- Depression Spotlight
-- iVillage contributor Madelyn Fernstrom

Next... Weight and Depression: 9 Must-Know Facts

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