Sunday, February 18, 2018
Features and More

Depression feeds weight problems

Being depressed can make any task more difficult. Dealing with weight issues while suffering from depression can be especially hard.

Some people lose weight when they are depressed, often because they lose interest in food.

But many people gain weight when they are depressed.

Then the excess pounds can add to the depression.

Here are some reasons why:

• Eating urges. Depressed people often report urges to eat compulsively, particularly sugary, starchy foods. Seeking comfort and distraction from painful feelings are common explanations for this.

• Medication side effects. Some antidepressants have been associated with weight gain.

• Sedentary behavior. Depressed people tend to be sedentary due to low energy and lack of interest in activities.

• Low nutrition. A depressed person may eat poorly because of problems with appetite or feelings of hopelessness and poor self-esteem. For some, poor nutrition means weight loss. For others, it means bingeing on low quality foods that add sugar, fat and calories, but not much else.

• Poor self-image. Depressed people tend to view themselves critically. If a person doesn't feel good about himself, he is not likely to take good care of himself.

• Other psychological problems. A depressed person may not realize she is using her weight as a shield against emotional issues she is afraid to face. Extra weight may be difficult, but not as painful to a depressed person as facing buried problems.

Losing weight and keeping it off requires a positive attitude and sensible approach. That's a tall order for somebody coping with depression, who will need extra help and compassion to shed the weight. Some tips:

• Get professional help for depression. Putting the priority on treating the depression will bring more success with managing weight in the long-run.

• Set smaller goals. Adjusting goals by making them smaller will make them more achievable. It's important to be happy with achieving smaller goals when going through a tough time.

• Increase activity. Exercise helps to alleviate depression as well as minimize weight gain. But that knowledge may not be enough to get a depressed person moving. Using a positive and kind approach eliminates the pressure that criticism and high expectations create. It's better to take things slowly rather than quit out of frustration.

• Eat more nutritiously. The body can be a friend during tough times if it's treated right. By focusing on high-quality, nutritious foods, the body will get what it needs to help fight both depression and overeating.

• Set realistic expectations. If trying to lose weight feels overwhelming, just focus on not gaining. Being stressed about losing weight can actually create weight gain. Just maintaining while you're depressed is an impressive achievement.

• Work on self-acceptance. If a person believes he is inadequate, it would be inconsistent for him to do things that show self-care, self-acceptance, and self-love. Bingeing may be destructive, but it's also logical for a person who dislikes himself. That's why working on self-esteem can help with weight management. Remember that we are all fallible. It's human to make mistakes and go through tough times. We're all in this together.

Depression should always be taken seriously and obtaining professional help for the depression is the best first step.

Weight then becomes a secondary issue to be dealt with in a way that won't produce undue stress.

Fortunately, many lifestyle changes that help with weight also help with depression, particularly eating nutritiously and exercising. The key is seeing these steps as a means to helping yourself, rather than focusing solely on weight.

Lavinia Rodriguez is a Tampa clinical psychologist who specializes in weight management. She can be reached through her website, fatmatters.com, or at (813) 240-9557.

Comments
Trumpeter is the highlight of a concert featuring ‘West Side Story’ themes

Trumpeter is the highlight of a concert featuring ‘West Side Story’ themes

TAMPA — Leonard Bernstein would have turned 100 this year. The Florida Orchestra performed two of his works Friday, the second of which paired the dances from West Side Story with the overture to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet.The orches...
Published: 02/17/18
Five things that make Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Volta’ different and fun

Five things that make Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Volta’ different and fun

TAMPA — Cirque du Soleil is back in town with a new show.The Montreal-based company always puts on an extravaganza, splashing around color with the abandon of a toddler playing with paint buckets and a storyline several layers deep, the artistic skel...
Published: 02/16/18
The Reading Room’s Lauren Macellaro and Columbia’s Richard Gonzmart are James Beard semifinalists

The Reading Room’s Lauren Macellaro and Columbia’s Richard Gonzmart are James Beard semifinalists

It’s almost a sick joke. On the morning after Valentine’s Day, the second-busiest restaurant day of the year, chefs all over the country are hauling themselves out of bed early to find out: Did I make it onto this year’s James Beard Foundation list o...
Published: 02/15/18
Put Alaskan king crab leg shells to work in a creamy, dreamy bisque

Put Alaskan king crab leg shells to work in a creamy, dreamy bisque

Nothing says indulgence like noshing on some seriously giant Alaskan king crab legs. They’re not just tasty, they’re a low-fat source of protein: One leg has about 25 grams of protein and a host of vitamins and minerals (including sodium, incidentall...
Published: 02/15/18
Avocado toast gets a persimmon twist

Avocado toast gets a persimmon twist

You’ve likely seen persimmon in the grocery store and then shied away from it, not quite sure what to do with it. The most common variety in the United States is the fuyu persimmon, also called Japanese persimmon, and it looks similar to a slightly f...
Published: 02/15/18
Bar review: Valenty’s Lounge, part of Pasadena Liquors in St. Pete — who knew?

Bar review: Valenty’s Lounge, part of Pasadena Liquors in St. Pete — who knew?

Once, if I’d received a recommendation to check out a lounge attached to a liquor store near the beach, I wouldn’t have been in much of a hurry to check it out. But I’ve learned that there’s frequently magic in these places. ...
Published: 02/15/18
Local craft beer of the week: Process IPA, Calusa Brewing

Local craft beer of the week: Process IPA, Calusa Brewing

Not long ago, it was all about the West Coast IPA. California breweries like Stone, Russian River and Bear Republic built empires on the style, favoring a dry IPA base and mountains of resiny, intensely bitter hops to craft aggressive brews that laug...
Published: 02/15/18
New CoffeeHouse and Eatery comes to South Tampa

New CoffeeHouse and Eatery comes to South Tampa

Daily Dose Coffeehouse & Eatery opened earlier this month and offers South Tampa unique smoked coffee and a number of fresh, homemade breakfast items.Located in Fair Oaks Plaza at 3324 W Gandy Blvd., Daily Dose serves a different chef special everyda...
Published: 02/15/18
Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar has opened at International Plaza

Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar has opened at International Plaza

INTERNATIONAL PLAZA—After a long wait, the highly anticipated Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila bar is finally open for business at International Plaza’s Bay Street on Monday (Feb 12).Originally expected to open last September, owner Rocco Mangel said they g...
Published: 02/15/18
I sat through Disney's Hall of Presidents five times. It says more about us than Trump.

I sat through Disney's Hall of Presidents five times. It says more about us than Trump.

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Next time you’re at the Magic Kingdom, walk up Main Street USA and hang a left at Cinderella’s castle. Enter the faux colonial Liberty Square, with its exact replica Liberty Bell and "liberty tree" adorned with 1...
Published: 02/15/18