Excess weight has well-known physical consequences, including osteoarthritis, heart issues, diabetes, gallbladder disease, and hypertension. Unfortunately, not much attention is given to its impact on mental health, which can accelerate weight gain if left unchecked.
In fact, adults with excess weight have a 55% higher risk of experiencing depression due to weight bias, low-self esteem, and impacted quality of life. Suffering from both conditions worsens the adverse effects on each spectrum, potentially impacting motivation, contributing to a more sedentary lifestyle, overeating as a means of mood management, and resulting in weight gain.
As such, patients benefit from addressing the psychological effects of weight during their weight loss journey in order to stay committed to their goals and improve their quality of life, body, and mind. Medical providers can partner with their patients to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health concerns.
Impact of Mental Health on Weight Loss
Losing weight can be difficult for most people — about 71% claim they experience challenges inhibiting their weight loss efforts. People suffering with depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns may have even more difficulty shedding excess pounds.
Psychological concerns can impact, mood, motivation, energy, attention, and sense of self-worth. Hence, it is not uncommon for individuals to utilize food as a means of coping and comfort.
Additionally, ultra-processed foods, like fast foods and snacks, are created to trigger the dopamine receptors in our brain, temporarily lifting a depressed mood but can lead to worsening weight problems over time.
Unfortunately, the relief that emotional eating brings is short-lived, increasing the vulnerability to weight gain. If relied upon, emotional eating behavior can promote a vicious cycle that may lead to increased cravings, binge eating behaviors, and dysregulation of physical hunger cues.
Additionally, anxiety and depression impact the confidence and self-esteem of those with weight issues. They’re likely to withdraw from social and public activities. People struggling with low moods also find it difficult to follow traditional weight loss methods like exercise and diet plans.
Benefits of Weight Loss on Mental Health
Eating a more balanced diet, engaging in physical activity, and associated weight loss can improve cognitive functioning, self-efficacy, self-confidence, increased social engagement, improved sleep, augmented energy levels, and a reduction in depressive and anxious symptoms.
Additionally, a reduction in weight can reduce the lived experience of weight bias and stigma. Research shows that losing even as little as 5-10% of weight can significantly improve physical and mental well-being.
Weight loss also allows patients to fight obesity-related health factors that impact mental health, including poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle. These factors increase a patient’s inflammatory markers, reducing the immune system and increasing the risk of depression.
Obesity impacts patients’ physical, psychological, and occupational functioning due to weight problems and chronic diseases. On average, people with obesity are usually absent from work for 3 days a year, and their medical costs are 30 to 40% more than those of healthy people.
How Enara Health Weight Loss Management Supports Patients’ Mental Health
Enara Health offers a holistic approach to weight loss, allowing patients to lose weight at their own pace through a personalized weight loss program. The program integrates behavioral health, lifestyle changes, medication, and exercises paired with the support of a team of expert obesity medicine professionals to provide a comprehensive, personalized solution which includes metabolic and hormonal testing conducted early in the program, to better understand how each patients body process different types of nutrients and respond to exercise in order to develop the most informed treatment plan.
Enara Health’s distinctive multidisciplinary approach offers an unparalleled patient journey. By having a network of clinics made up of medical providers, nutrition specialists, exercise physiologists, and clinical psychologists, a one-of-a-kind, collaborative experience is curated to support each patient’s unique journey.
The Enara platform empowers doctors to leverage technology to support patients with weight loss challenges. Once you refer a patient, they can access an online account and mobile app to monitor their progress, interact with professionals through chat and submission of food pictures, receive constructive feedback, and get prescriptions. As their referring physician, you will also receive updates about your patient’s progress within the Enara program.
Patients receive customized plans based on their weight loss goals and presenting medical and psychological concerns. In addition to a thorough medical intake, patients complete a mental health assessment to better understand the impact of their emotional functioning on their weight and weight loss efforts.
The comprehensive Enara weight loss program has built-in support for patients with presenting mental health concerns. Enara offers online modules and psychologist-developed evidence-based health behavior change classes on a variety of topics such as emotional eating, mood management, stress and anxiety, and body image, among others.
Manage Mental Health Problems with Weight Loss
Research points to higher levels of depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns among individuals with obesity. The symptoms can manifest in many ways, including decreased mood, motivation, social engagement, disrupted sleep, and emotional eating.
Enara Health’s multidisciplinary program can not only help patients address their weight via personalized medication, nutrition, and exercise intervention but also by providing psychoeducation and support to learn adaptive means of managing psychological symptoms. Please know that obesity care is available for your patients with co-morbid mental health concerns.
Our holistic approach allows Enara Health to make sustainable weight loss possible and improve a patient’s physical and emotional well-being. Get in touch with us and discover how our program can help you offer weight loss management to your patients.