Beyond affecting you physically, shedding excess weight has a profound emotional impact. In fact, a study published on the journal Obesity found that obese and overweight individuals showed a greater discontent with their body size compared to individuals with normal weight. Unfortunately, being obese and overweight often lead to depression and a distorted perception of the self. Worse, overweight individuals are often discriminated upon and this increases the fear of social stigma.
So how does shedding a lot of weight affect your emotional well-being? Let’s take a look:
1. Positive Body Image
According to a study published in the “Journal of Health Psychology,” overall, weight loss can improve a person’s negative perceptions about physical appearance. The fact is, negative self-image is borne out of negative reactions from other people. When you elicit negative reactions because of your weight, you start having negative observations about yourself. And when this happens, you develop a distorted sense of self.
When you lose a lot of weight, you feel better, more confident. You start being comfortable in your skin. You are no longer as self-conscious because you are no longer eliciting negative reactions from other people because of your weight.
2. Promotes Self-Healing and Self-Discovery
Most obese individuals turn to food for comfort, to alleviate stress or overcome trauma. This is not a proactive way of dealing with behavioral or psychological issues. A study published on the “Physiology and Behavior” journal found that using food to cope trigger the reward center of the brain, flooding the system with dopamine. And when you habitually eat to feel better, you gain more weight.
Losing weight doesn’t just change you physically; it also strengthens your willpower. When you lose weight, the body starts healing itself. This causes a domino effect of restoring and making peace with various aspects of your life. You literally liberate yourself from weight gain, indulgence and cycle of guilt.
3. Develop a Healthy Body
It’s no secret that obesity leads to various diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. When you lose weight, you cut the risk of developing a vast number of chronic diseases. And when you learn to deal with stress the right way, you feel better about yourself. You are able to handle a high-stress situation in a healthy, guilt-free way.
4. A Sense of Belonging
Unfortunately, obese people tend to generate a lot of negative reactions from people. And a lot of them are unable to deal with the trauma of being singled out for their weight. A study published in the journal “American Journal of Public Health” found that weight-related stigmatization and damaging stereotypes are most common in the North American culture. Obesity causes discrimination, creating tension in the workplace, at home and in health care settings. Losing the excess weight can help end discrimination and false perceptions. This allows a person to be comfortable in his own skin and explore his individuality.
5. Freedom from Food
Let’s face it; most obese individuals are dependent on food. They are addicted to the positive feelings they get when they indulge on their favorites treats. In essence, food turns into an emotional crutch, which is not the right way to handle emotional issues. When you lose weight, you start having more control over your weight and your emotions. Eventually, you start weaning yourself off your food addiction, becoming more of the person that you are without needing food to feel validated.