Mental Health And Weight Loss: How They Correlate

August 12, 2022
mental health and weight loss

When I first started my weight loss journey, I had no idea how much my mindset would play into the successes, and the failures, of this challenge. I know that the official percentage in weight loss is 80% what you eat and 20% exercise, but I think that there is more to it. This obviously isn’t official, but I’d say it’s more like 45% what you eat, 40% mindset, and 15% exercise. 

That’s one of the many reasons why I talk about personal development, weight loss, AND mental health here on Budding Joy. Your mind affects it all. I’ve been paying particular attention to the correlation between my mental health and weight loss. I wanted to share that with you today. Maybe you’ll notice that the same is true for you. At the very least you’ll be more mindful about how powerful your mind is in every aspect of your life.

The Danger Zone: Failing at my weight loss journey and extremely depressed/anxious

I call this the danger zone because it is the worst place to be. The times in my life where I have been here have been some of the worst in my life. All of the progress I’ve made crumbles away, and most of the time when I’m in this mindset, I don’t care. It’s almost like I’ve given up hope that I’ll ever reach my goals. I’ve been stuck in this area for most of the year, unfortunately. Keep reading to see how I’m trying to get past it. 

When I’m in a depressive episode, or sometimes just having a bad day, I’m more likely to grab something that isn’t as nutritious as I should get, and I continually eat stuff like that. One of two things can happen here. I either feel nothing at all, or I feel ashamed/guilty. The latter leads to more negative self-talk and pretty soon I’ll feel worse than I already do.

The Hopeful Zone: Failing at my weight loss journey but in good spirits

Then there are times where I may not be doing too well with weight loss, but my mental health is in a good place. I keep at it even if I fail because I have hope that it will get better. This is where I have spent probably about 80% of my weight loss journey since I started in 2017. At this stage you can really see the effect mental health plays in weight loss. Without the hopeful mindset I wouldn’t keep going after a few bad days of eating junk or not working out. Then I would slip into the previous stage. 

Progress isn’t linear. No matter what your goal is, you are going to have ups and downs. When I’m in this mindset I know that more than ever. So a slip up here and there doesn’t bother me… too much. I just refocus, create a plan, and get after it again.

The Fired Up Zone: Making progress in my weight loss journey and feeling great 

This is the place I want to be. I’ve experienced it a few times over the years, especially in 2018. In this area my mindset is great and I’m making weight loss progress. It could be just a pound or two lost in a week,  I’m feeling stronger in my workouts, or that I meal prepped two weeks in a row. It’s my favorite stage and the one I hope to return to. This is where I have been the happiest, strongest, and healthiest version of myself.

A lot of my depression and anxiety stem from feeling stuck and unaccomplished. So you can imagine how I feel when I start noticing progress in my weight loss journey, both on the scale and off. I only wish this feeling lasted a little longer in the past. I know I’ll get back here someday though.

Very Well Fit has a great article about the different barriers our mental health can put up when it comes to your health/weight loss journey. Some of these include body image and stress, to name a few. My challenge to you, if you are on a journey similar to mine, is to dig deep and determine which of these barriers are blocking you. Once you are aware of it you can work to break down those barriers.

In this next section I’ll be sharing how I’m going to try and break down my barriers. Feel free to use some of these ideas for yourself.

The Same Old Cycle – and How I’m Trying To Break Away From It

I’m more than ready to get rid of this cycle I keep going through and trade it for more long-lasting progress. This is going to take working equally on my mental health and weight loss. I know that now. With that in mind, here is my plan.

  • Reading Inspirational Books: If you’ve been a reader here for a while, you know personal growth books are my favorite. To get myself back into the mindset I need to start making progress with my mental health and weight loss again, I’m focusing on certain types of books. I’m about to start a food and fitness devotional called Faith, Food & Fitness. It’s 40 days long, which should be plenty of time to get focused again. I also want to read books about habits, other people’s weight loss journeys, and books about creating a healthy relationship with food. 
  • Video Diary & Journaling: When I first started this journey to getting healthy I documented everything and put them into three month check in videos. I want to start these up again. I’ll also be journaling everyday to help work on my mental health.
  • Saying/Writing Affirmations: The trick for affirmations is to say them as if they have already happened. So some of mine might look like these statements below.
    • I have reached my goal weight and I feel great
    • I have been meal prepping every week and it has helped me eat healthier.
    • I completed a workout challenge and I’m so proud of my progress.
  • Getting A Better Why: I thought my why was strong, but with my mental health not being so great lately it has clouded up how I feel about my why. I want to have a why that will stand firm, no matter how I’m feeling.
  • Reminding Myself It Isn’t Supposed To Be Easy: As I mentioned before, progress isn’t linear. Even though my head knows this, my heart needs a little reminding sometimes.
  • Getting Back To Healthy Habits One By One: One of the things that I believe helped my weight loss progress was my morning routine. It’s been so long since I’ve actually done my morning routine. Now I’m planning to reconstruct my morning routine to help both my mental health and weight loss. I’m doing this by mastering one habit at a time. For example, I’m going to start with journaling everyday. Then the next week I’ll add working out, you see where I’m going here.
  • Accountability: This will look a few different ways. I’ll be writing about it here obviously, but I also plan on joining a DietBet, and getting support from friends and family. Then of course my Video Diary will give me accountability too.

Some Final Encouragement From Me To You – and Me To Me

Whatever goal you have given up on – it’s time to get back to it. When you look back on your life later, do you want to be wondering, “what if I gave it one more shot?”, or do you want to say, “I’m glad I kept trying to achieve my goal.” You got this, I believe in you!

That wraps up this post about mental health and weight loss, and how they relate. What are your thoughts? Do you agree or do you have a different experience? Let me know in the comments.

Comments (1)

  • Lesha H.

    August 21, 2022 at 5:47 am

    I enjoyed reading your post. I totally agree with you. I have recently discovered this concept of using my mental health to aid in weight loss. I have been developing my thoughts with my best friend as we have this plan in mind. I have seen so many of my friends go at weight loss wanting to lose weight but without a strong mental health base. It is important that we focus on mental toughness so that we can push through the tough times we face along our journey. I would love to connect with you.

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