What Weight Loss Can Do For the Brain
By Jeremiah Bailleu
Weight loss changes more than just the numbers you see when you step on the scale. There are numerous mental and emotional benefits to weight loss besides just the physical changes you start to see in the mirror.
If you feel sluggish, lacking in confidence or just a little “off,” shedding even a few pounds of extra weight may be just what you need. Here are some of the mental and emotional benefits of exercise.
More energy — Carrying extra weight can cause shortness of breath and decreased oxygen efficiency. This is because the more pounds you are carrying, the more energy you use throughout the day. Increased energy is usually the first thing people notice once the weight starts falling off.
Fewer symptoms of depression — Can your weight really have an impact on your mood? According to Everyday Health, “obese people are about 25 percent more likely to experience a mood disorder like depression compared to those who are not obese.” People struggling with depression are also at an increased risk for obesity, they may feel a desire to eat to raise serotonin levels when feeling down. Weight loss can often improve depression by helping to boost self-esteem and self-image.
Boost in self-confidence — When you start to lose weight, it is normal to feel like you have gained a new sense of confidence. Achieving a goal you may have doubted was possible, such as losing weight, can give you the confidence to take on many things that you have had a hard time facing. When a goal is reached, you are feeding the self-confidence in your subconscious. You may feel as if you are now able to break out of your shell and face any challenge that comes your way.
Improved brain function — Obesity affects many different organs in the body and the brain is no exception. Time Magazine reports that “getting rid of excess fat actually improves brain function.” People struggling with obesity are 35 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s compared to people that have a normal BMI. It is believed that the increase in proteins in the brain for obese people can make them more vulnerable to various different problems. Improved cognitive function is a result of the brain’s ability to work less hard to produce the same results when you lose weight.
Mind-body confusion — One challenge people who experience extreme weight loss often encounter is mind-body confusion. After losing a large percentage of your excess weight, it may take your mind some time to catch up with the changes your body has made. People tend to still identify as a heavy person even after the weight is gone. This problem is more common when the weight is lost rapidly in a short period of time. It may take some time to get past your previous self-image, but with the right attitude your mind will begin to take ownership over your new physique.
Research shows that reaching your goal weight has more benefits than just what meets the eye. Losing weight has a countless number of benefits from an emotional, physical and mental standpoint. It can bring out the best in people and completely change their quality of life.
About the Author
Jeremiah is a Marketing/Advertising Coordinator at the Nicholson Clinic. He assists with patient support and customer care for Nicholson Clinic and ReLaunch Nutrition. Jeremiah started with Nicholson Clinic two years ago and recently received his degree in Marketing from the University of North Texas.