New evidence from a recent study has revealed that there is a link between being overweight and depression risk. It also pointed out that this problem exists in men, whose weight doesn’t receive as much attention by the media as that of women.

The Link Between Being Overweight and Depression

A growing percentage of both adults and children in the developed world are either overweight or obese, to the point that many experts and organizations are beginning to call it epidemic. This could be a great deal more problematic than previously thought if the recent research is correct and it is linked to depression. This would suggest that obesity’s risks of harm are not purely physical.

The research team was led by Anne Turner from Deakin University in Australia. They may have identified one of the biological explanations that can cause overeating. Turner reported that some overweight and obese men experience cortisol secretion simply as a result of the act of eating. Cortisol is a hormone related to stress.

The data presented from the study was considerable. She stated that among men who were obese or overweight, there was a 51 percent elevation in salivary cortisol. Comparatively, there was a 5 percent increase in cortisol among men who were leaner.

Identifying the Connection

Turner explained that “If overweight/obese men have an elevated cortisol response every time they ingest food, they may be more susceptible to the development of stress-related disease.” This can be made worse by the fact that many people cope with stress by eating more. Many people seek the comfort in consuming foods that they like when their stress levels are high. For men who are obese or overweight, this could mean that they are caught in a vicious cycle of eating and building their stress levels and so on.

Cortisol increases are among the most common biological causes of anxiety that is connected with depression. This suggests that the continually heightened levels of cortisol in men who are obese and overweight, which are caused simply by eating food, could lead them to have a growing risk of depression.

Further research has shown that dieting – when done properly and in a way suited to men – can also help to keep spirits up. Though men don’t like diets where they continually weight themselves or have to count calories, they are often successful when they slightly reduce their intake overall and greatly reduce their intake on two days per week.

Breaking the Bond Between Being Overweight and Having Depression

As these two conditions are interlined and can heavily affect one another, it can feel as though once you are overweight and have depression, you’re trapped in an ever-worsening cycle that can never turn around.  This is far from the truth.  Yes, it feels that way, but the right strategies can help you to move away from that feeling.

To start, if you think you have depression, it is important to speak to a health care provider to help you to overcome this mental health condition.  This step can be a difficult one, but it is also a meaningful one and will help to place you on the road to feeling better and, ideally, recovering. This can be done in combination with the steps you can take to help control your weight as well.  In fact, making new food choices is often one of the steps recommended in some of the most effective therapies for depression, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Just as these two conditions can play into each other to make you feel worse, they can also often be resolved by gradually building the same healthy lifestyle habits such as a nutritious diet, regular physical activity, restful sleep and stress management practices.