Weight Loss And Depression: Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Medically reviewed by Maria Sarino, MD FACT CHECKED

You might assume that decreasing weight and improving your health would make you happier, but that’s not always true. Losing weight may increase your risk of developing depression.

People who deal with depression occasionally experience increased hunger, especially when they are going through a difficult moment, and engage in emotional eating.

While this is a typical occurrence, depression can also have the opposite effect, making a person feel satiated and not hungry.

Depression-related loss of appetite can ultimately lead to unintentional weight loss, commonly known as depression weight loss.

Some people might consider the weight loss associated with depression to be a positive side effect, but losing weight quickly or drastically could be harmful to your health.

In this article, we will be looking at all about weight loss and depression.

weight loss and depression

Depression is a mental illness that results in emotions of agitation, irritability, melancholy, thoughts of helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness, and disturbed sleeping and eating patterns. 

Well, depression frequently results in weight loss, not just for reasons related to dietary irregularities, but also for the following reasons:

The primary cause is the disruption in diet alone, as poor nutrition and an unbalanced diet can have an impact on one’s general health.

As sleep is crucial for the healthy operation of our brains and sleep deprivation can result in dramatic weight loss, disturbances in sleep can be regarded as the second cause of weight loss.

The third possible explanation for it is overthinking, which saps one’s vitality and causes exhaustion.

Serotonin and dopamine levels falling are also important contributors to weight reduction.

Along with weight loss, depression also causes a host of other negative side effects, such as-

  • Hair loss
  • Acne
  • Swollen glands
  • Dark circles
  • Changes in body odor
  • Bloated skin
  • Joint discomfort
  • Wrinkles
  • Gray hair.

As a result, it’s critical to look after one’s physical health when depressed.

Reasons Why People Lose Weight Due To Depression

Here are some reasons why depression can cause weight loss-

  • Affects Hunger And Digestion

    You might feel hungry very infrequently or not at all as a result of the dual hormonal impact on your body. Your vagus nerve, which controls GI tract peristalsis, is impacted by depression.

    In other words, this nerve facilitates the passage of food that has been digested through your digestive system.

    The vagus nerve also has an impact on food digestion and absorption in addition to this movement.

    Your digestive system may malfunction when you have depression causing GI irritation and symptoms like diarrhea.

  • Mood Swings

    Overwhelming moodiness, such as hopelessness, unexplainable sensations of loneliness and sadness, disinterest, and numbness are common symptoms of depression.

    These mood swings take the place of your typical range of emotions and drain your physical or mental energy.

    This makes it difficult to focus on routine everyday activities like getting dressed in the morning, working, cleaning, or even eating.

    Depression results in a loss of interest in activities that you would ordinarily find enjoyable, as well as exhaustion and difficulty making decisions.

  • Generates Stress Hormones

    When you are going through depression, your body is always prepared to fight. This implies that you constantly produce the stress chemicals adrenaline and cortisol.

    Your sleep, immunity, and digestion are all affected by these hormones. In addition to suppressing your hunger, adrenaline acts by preparing your body for strenuous physical exercise.

    Cortisol works by inhibiting bodily processes including immunity, digestion, and reproduction that are not necessary under stressful situations.

  • Increased metabolism

    Your metabolism quickens to meet your body’s demands when you are going through depression for an extended amount of time.

    If your metabolism picks up, you’ll require fewer calories to maintain your current weight. You might not be aware of your hunger, or if you are, you might feel full more quickly.

    When you’ve been incredibly anxious before, as before a job interview, the thought of eating a substantial meal immediately before it seems considerably less enticing.

How To Control Your Weight If you Have Depression?

Here are some ways to control weight if you have depression-

  • Get Enough Sleep

    It has been shown that obtaining enough sleep aids with weight management. The worst thing you can do to yourself is to not get enough sleep.

    After a full day of work, you sit down again at night to finish any unfinished business or additional tasks that you were unable to do during the day.

    Staying awake through the night makes you need sugar more, which leads to overindulging in desserts. Therefore, avoid staying up late at night.
  • Be Active

    The number of calories your body utilizes as fuel or expands through exercise can go up. Losing weight can be aided by cutting back on calories consumed and engaging in physical activity.

    Additionally, exercise increases endorphins, also known as the feel-good chemicals in the brain. Endorphins assist elicit pleasant emotions and reduce pain.

    Although exercise has numerous advantages, it can be challenging to maintain a low-calorie consumption. It’s possible to feel hungry after working out.

    Before working out, try eating a healthy snack like some oatmeal, a banana, or a handful of nuts to keep you fueled and prevent overeating afterward.

  • Avoid Binge Eating

    People with depression are often found to indulge in binge eating. You would likely continue to eat without even realizing that you were approaching the packet’s bottom.

    A packaged food item has a lot of calories and few micronutrients.

    As a result, it cannot keep you satisfied for very long, and you quickly become hungry again. Moreover, you consume empty calories. Your weight will start to fall if you manage your binging.

  • Control Your Stress

    You may not realize that you are overeating or not eating at all in depression. Learn how to manage your stress, especially if you work.

    When you have a task to perform and a deadline, the workload cannot be avoided.

    Stress causes similar problems. You must look after both your mental and physical health because they are related.

    You can’t put all your attention on your physical health while ignoring your mental health and vice versa.


It’s still unclear whether there’s a direct link between losing weight and developing depression and why it could be so.

So it stands to reason that going to extreme lengths to lose weight would make anyone feel inferior.

Consider losing weight as a lifestyle change for a more enduring and happier approach.

Swap out calorie-dense junk foods with those that are healthier and start including regular exercises you enjoy in your schedule.

Although using this strategy may not yield the quickest results, you’ll undoubtedly feel better along the road and discover that the weight you lose is probably more likely to remain off in the long run.

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