Understanding the Psychological Factors That Lead to Weight Gain

The propensity to carry extra pounds can be laid at many feet: fast food, physical health problems, and psychological factors. In fact, the role that your mental state plays in your weight is one that we cannot underscore enough.

At the Weight Loss Institute of Arizona, we understand the enormous role that psychological factors can play in your overall health and wellness, especially when it comes to your weight. While we provide bariatric solutions that give you a leg up in your battle against extra weight, we feel it’s important that you understand and address the mental component for long-term success.

To that end, we’ve pulled together the following information to give you a better understanding of how psychological factors can lead to weight gain.

Eating to cope

One of the biggest drivers of weight gain is stress eating or eating as a coping mechanism. When you’re stressed, you look for ways to calm yourself, and food can often play that role. Perhaps you’ve had a bad day and you feel you deserve a reward, or you’re lonely and end up on the couch with a pizza and a bag of cookies.

Food can serve as a temporary comfort that satiates you in the short term but does far more harm than good, because eating to cope often leaves you feeling you far worse once the guilt sets in.

There are several ways that you can identify stress or emotional eating, which is different from physical hunger. These differences include:

When you’re physically hungry, most any food in a small amount is usually enough to quell the hunger. With hunger brought on by emotional stress, you tend to eat far too much of foods that aren’t good for you.

Self-esteem and your weight

Self-esteem plays a significant role in weight gain. If you’re already carrying extra pounds, your self-esteem may be low, which triggers an emotional response that sends you back to overeating time and again. 

Don’t underestimate the vicious cycle that poor self-esteem can create as your eating becomes more of an exercise in self-sabotage than satisfying hunger.

Depression and overeating

The link between depression and obesity is well-established — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 43% of adults with depression are obese, compared to 33% of adults who don’t suffer from depression. 

In an effort to fight off the effects of depression (and anxiety), many people turn to food. And if you suffer from depression, you may not be getting the exercise you need, which can also lead to weight gain.

Night eating and weight gain

Another major offender when it comes to weight gain is night eating, which is also tied to depression because many who suffer from depression have sleep issues. If you’re having problems sleeping and find yourself up at night, mindlessly eating in front of the TV, this is a clear recipe for weight gain.

Whatever drives your weight gain, rest assured that we’re here to help. We offer bariatric solutions as well as ongoing support to better help you take control of your life. Simply contact one of our six offices to get started.

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