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MENTAL HEALTH AND WEIGHT LOSS: WHAT’S THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BOTH?

Updated: Aug 25, 2022


People make many mistakes just before they start their weight loss journey. One of these mistakes is setting a target number of pounds to shed off. There’s no greater impediment to weight loss than this. Most times, people aim at a specific number of pounds to shed instead of increasing their level of physical activity and fitness. And for the records, physical activity is more beneficial to one’s overall health.

At the beginning of the New Year especially, people create lots of weight loss goals. The euphoria of the New Year is so great that we all begin to make resolutions. Many people sign up at the gyms – not bad though.

But here’s the thing – there’s nothing bad about setting resolutions regarding your physical health. After all, there’s a close association between physical and mental health. Increasing your physical activity level can give your mood a boost, and also reduce anxiety. On the other hand, focusing so much on weight loss puts a lot of pressure on your mental health.

The weight scale will get you confused. When you mount a scale, it won’t tell you what percentage is a muscle, and which is fat. It won’t tell you if you are fit or healthy. The figure you see on the scale has no link to your self-worth whatsoever! The “thin ideal internalization” and negative self-esteem trigger eating disorders which are injurious to your health. And even if you don’t experience any eating disorders, poor body image, and low self-esteem on its own does have disastrous consequences.

Instead of giving yourself a target figure, you should be more concerned about getting stronger, being more flexible, staying happier, and being less anxious. If you are bothered about your weight, you can measure it – but the figures? Take them with a grain of salt. You are better off taking before and after photos of yourself from different angles. Take the photos in your bathing suit or workout gear as this will make the visuals better, and you’ll be able to see how well you have progressed. You can also track other markers of progress, like the duration it took you to run a mile before a certain period of training, and after that.

One other thing you should consider is the disappointment that accompanies weight loss. The main cause of this disappointment is the unrealistic goals that we set for ourselves. The disappointment may also come from meeting a goal and still not looking as fit as you imagined you’d be.

Instead of setting unrealistic resolutions for yourself, why not try better ideas that will benefit your physical and mental health?

These include:

  • Exercise because you want to feel well, and not just because you want to lose weight.

  • Love and accept your body, including what you consider as flaws.

  • Appreciate your body for the fun and amazing things it is capable of

  • Eat well and fortify your body with nutrients

  • Work actively on improving your body image.

  • Exercise at least 4 times weekly.

  • Use the gym not only for exercise and workouts but also as a place to socialize.

  • Try a sport that you’ve always avoided.



By Christian Frazier Certified Life, Health & Nutrition Coach




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