Losing weight can lead to greater happiness

Monday, 20 March, 2017

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Being overweight has a significant impact on mental wellbeing, new independent research has shown.

The research, which was commissioned by Cambridge Weight Plan, found that 59% of those surveyed suffered from low self-esteem and 61% said they lacked social confidence.

In addition, 47% feel depressed, 35% experience anxiety and 60% blame their hang-ups on their weight.

“Whilst it’s not a huge surprise that our hang-ups are weight related, the research findings are confronting,” said wellbeing expert Casey Beros.

“Certainly not everyone who struggles with mental health is overweight, and not everyone who’s overweight struggles with mental health, but the research shows there is absolutely a relationship between our weight and how we feel about ourselves — and with 2 in 3 Australians overweight or obese, that’s a huge amount of people who aren’t living healthy and, most importantly, happy lives.”

The research also found that losing some kilos can have a significant positive impact, with 53% who had already gone through a weight loss journey becoming more body confident and 51% living a much healthier lifestyle.

On the International Day of Happiness, experts are encouraging Australians to work on both their mind and body. Making just one healthy change can create a positive shift in momentum, influencing other areas of their lives and resulting in a general sense of happiness.

“When we feel good about ourselves physically, it can lead to us taking greater care of other areas in our life. As the research indicates, feeling depressed can impact the way we socialise, eat, exercise and our relationships. One of the biggest contributors to happiness is connection, and the research showed that not feeling good about ourselves impacts the way we interact with the people we love, whether that’s socialising with friends or spending time with family, which is a crying shame because this is something we can do something about,” said Beros.

The effect of weight loss also seems to have a much greater impact outside of how people feel about their appearance. According to the research, after weight loss 4% received a promotion at work, 12% found love and 36% started to enjoy exercise.

If you are struggling with low self-esteem, depression or anxiety, it is important to seek help — consult your GP or find specific information relating to mental health support at beyondblue.

Image credit: ©iStockphoto.com/airet

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