"I struggle with eating healthy because I'm depressed."


I’m going to get back to being active on my blog, now that I’m offering coaching services, and I asked my audience what challenges they’re struggling with to give me some ideas of what may be helpful to readers. I received a LOT of comments, and I plan on doing quite a few posts offering suggestions based on different topics, so make sure you stay tuned.


This first one caught my eye because it’s definitely something that I’ve struggled with in the past, and I know it’s something others struggle with as well.


“I struggle with eating healthy because I’m depressed.”


This is extremely common. One of the primary symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder is losing an excessive amount of weight or gaining an excessive amount. For some people, it’s a complete loss of appetite, so they don’t eat. For others, it can come in the form of not eating healthy and gaining weight for a variety of reasons.


One of the reasons is simply not caring. When we get depressed, we stop taking care of ourselves. We can get apathetic and feel like nothing matters. Not only can it be difficult to get out of bed, shower and take care of other household duties, we can also stop taking care of our bodies. The mind can go to places thinking, “What’s the point anyways?”, and this turns into an unhealthy cycle.


The other primary reason people struggle with unhealthy eating while they aren’t depressed is because sugar and carbs trigger the pleasure center of the brain. That’s right, it can spark neurotransmitters in the brain in the same way that some drugs do. As someone who worked in a drug rehab, I can tell you that many people eat junk food when they get clean because it can is one of best ways to get pleasure once the substances are taken away.


Unfortunately, as with most vices, this is a short-term solution to a long-term problem. Sometimes we self-medicate with junk food and all it does is make us feel worse. This can send us into a downward spiral because one of the other symptoms of depression is negative self-talk. We may begin beating ourselves up for the fact that we’re not eating right and putting on weight. Because of this, we may turn to more junk food to self-medicate even more, and the cycle continues.


The Solution


The first step towards solving any problem is acknowledging that there is a problem. So, if you’re reading this, and thinking, “That sounds like me”, you’re already in a great position. Many people struggle with self-awareness in situations like this and don’t even recognize the problem. Now, it’s time to take steps to move forward.


Here are a few suggestions that may help:


  1. Try eating one healthy meal a day, and if that seems like a struggle, try doing it a few times a week. Set goals for yourself and increase it as time goes on. One of the best ways to begin getting serotonin and other neurotransmitters in a healthy way is to set goals and accomplish them.


  2. Speaking of goals, you can also begin trying to get some more physical activity. One of the best things you can do is start going for walks outside. This has a variety of benefits because exercise helps with serotonin, endorphins, dopamine and more. If you go for a walk in the day time, you’ll also get melatonin flowing through your system, which will help with sleep, and lack of sleep can be a major cause of depression.


  3. One of the best things you can do is have someone help you with accountability as well. When we’re trying to reach new goals, sometimes we struggle with holding ourselves accountable, so it can be helpful to let someone else know about our goal that we’re trying to achieve.  


Just remember, when struggling with depression, it’s about taking baby steps. You don’t have to do everything, you just need to do something. Over time, as you begin to develop positive habits, it doesn’t feel as difficult to accomplish what you set out to do. As you continue moving forward, don’t forget to give yourself credit where credit’s due. We must celebrate our small successes because it encourages is to stay on the right path and live the life that we deserve.

If you’re struggling with overcoming challenges in your life, give life coaching a try by clicking here.

Chris Boutte