Can Losing Weight Boost Your Mood?

April 14, 2011

mood and weightA new study that examined the connection between weight loss and mood discovered that when people were following a program where they were eating right and getting more exercise, they reported that they felt better, too.

The results don???t surprise me ??? it???s something I???ve seen in my patients time and again. As the excess pounds start to come off, they walk into my office with a renewed spring in their step and a big smile on their face.

I think the connection between mood and weight goes far beyond a cosmetic ???looking good means feeling good??? phenomenon. It gets right to the root of living a balanced life.

Instead of a diet of processed junk food, people on a healthy meal plan are finally getting the nutrition their bodies need. Regular physical activity helps fight stress and provides the daily movement our bodies (and minds) also crave. Interestingly, the study also found that the improved mood wasn???t linked to losing a lot of weight, or something that didn???t happen until one met his or her weight goal. The happier outlook began almost immediately!

A perfect example of this is a female patient in her late 30s who came to me when she just couldn???t seem to shake the excess baby weight she???d gained during her pregnancies. The obesity was weighing on her both physically and mentally.

A few weeks into the program she came into my office beaming from ear to ear. ???Guess what???? she asked. And before I could even reply she burst out, ???I got a promotion at work!???

The joy and confidence she was feeling was clearly visible, and I believe it was that renewed zest for life that led to the promotion and improved mood rather than the modest amount of weight she had dropped at that point.

Today she???s reached her goal weight and her sunny outlook on life remains. She says she feels better, moves easier, has more energy, sleeps better, and even has more patience as a parent.

Taking care of oneself and one???s body is fundamental to so many aspects of life, not just physical appearance. So while obtaining a certain dress size or looking better in a swimsuit may be an initial motivator to start a weight loss program, in the end many people find those things end up just being icing on the cake. The real reward is in feeling great and enjoying a life well lived.

Dr. Michael Kaplan

Founder and Chief Medical Officer

The Center for Medical Weight Loss

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