Wednesday, January 30, 2019

First Mood, Then Weight (#BellLetsTalk)

(First posted in 2017)

People often come to me wanting to lose weight or improve their lifestyle, but their moods are anything but well.

Sometimes, when I ask them about it, they'll say that their weight is why they think they're struggling with depression or anxiety.

I always tell them the same thing.

Mood comes first.

Intentional weight loss requires the very things that mood disturbances often preclude - the ability to consistently, plan, organize, and motivate. Setting yourself up to struggle with weight loss by attempting to affect intentional changes when your mood is squarely in the way is not only unfair, it might make matters worse by giving you something to feel guilty about when you're understandably and realistically challenged. And it's also important to note that your mental health is far more important than your weight.

So regardless of your weight, whether its working with your family physician, your employee assistance program, reading books, talking to friends, or looking into community based counselling resources (many of which offer sliding scales for payment), mental health should be your first priority.

Sometimes I use a running analogy.

You can't start work on learning to run if your ankle's currently sprained.

First you work on your ankle. Then you learn to run.

Same here.

First mood. Then weight.

(And remember, for every #BellLetsTalk tweet, RT, and Facebook share today, Bell will donate a nickel towards mental health. And yes, it's marketing for them, but unlike hospitals raising money with cookies, telecommunication does not contribute to the burden of societal illness or promote an unhealthy lifestyle - so tweet and share away!)