Overeating in Depression
Other people with depression will experience increased appetite and insatiable hunger. Along their way with depression, they learned through association that food makes them feel better. They discover that calorically dense and loaded with bad fats, sugars and carbohydrates boost their mood. The influx of wanted chemicals in their brain is a welcome reprieve from the constant depression.
Unfortunately, the improved mood is fleeting. It is followed by a crash in energy level and increased depressive symptoms. Rather than realize the error in this process, they choose to repeat the pattern, increasing the amounts of food as they go. Binging on ice cream, fast food, sugary drinks and potato chips becomes the norm.
This will result in added weight and reduced feelings of self-worth and self-esteem as they will no longer appreciated what they see in the mirror. Depression increases. This addictive cycle will also continue without end.
Improving Diet During Depression
Depression is comprised of many symptoms that the sufferer has little control over. It is extremely challenging to address mood, self-worth or feeling of pessimism directly. Because of this, spending more time, effort and energy working to improve eating habits is the most efficient use of limited resources. Do you want to eat better to feel better? Here’s how:
- Many times, the first step to resolving an issue is to understand and monitor the current state of it. You may not even fully grasp the level of malnutrition that you are enduring. If you do not feel good physically, your diet may be the culprit. It is possible that poor diet is disturbing your mood as much as your mood is upsetting your diet.
- After the acknowledgment, begin tracking your current status. What are you eating? When are you eating? How much are you eating? Knowing what you are putting into your body will provide an understanding of what your body is able to give in return. Find and utilize online nutrition tools to gain nutritional information of the food you are eating.
- Many people say things like “I really need to start eating better.” Some say, “Beginning tomorrow, I’m going to take better care of myself.” These are good starts, but unless there is a plan to supply guidance, little progress will be made. Talk to someone that understands the connection between food intake and mental health.
What and When
When building an eating plan, people often focus on what to cut out rather than what to add. This is like a parent telling a child “no.” It only serves to teach what not to do instead of the desired behaviors. Want to build a plan the focuses on what to eat and when to eat it? Here’s how:
- Eat more frequently – Whenever you go long periods of time between meals, you tend to eat more because you will feel hungrier. The longer you wait between eating, the lower your blood sugar will drop. Low blood sugar is related to feelings of irritability, anxiety and poor concentration. A large meal will send your blood sugar skyrocketing, which will leave you feeling uncomfortable, drowsy and unmotivated. Eating often will also lower adrenaline and cortisol, which lowers stress. Aim for five or six small meals per day.