Weight loss comes with some obvious physical changes – our blood pressure decreases, breathing becomes easier, and our joints are under less stress. However, weight control can often benefit our mental health. Improvements in our body image can lead to higher self-esteem, positive thinking, and more confidence. So, what are exactly the psychological benefits of weight loss?
Health-related Quality of Life
Health related quality of life (HRQoL) is your perception of your own psychological, physical, and even social well-being. Research shows that weight loss can greatly affect our perception of our own health. A study by the University of Belgrade, Serbia found that a 10% decrease in body weight can lead to a 5% increase in health-related quality of life, after one year of diet therapy. The HRQoL was expressed through five fields – self-esteem, physical function, sexual life, work, and public distress.
One of the most obvious psychological benefits of weight loss is improved self-esteem. Some studies even found that the effect of weight loss on self-esteem is more evident if the weight is lost by a change in behavior, rather than with medication or surgery.
This shows that lifestyle changes and a healthy diet induce a feeling of responsibility and achievement, making us feel in control of our weight, and increasing our self-esteem.
A Stanford study found that weight control, especially in men, can be used to treat depression-like symptoms. The researchers studied the effects of a one-year weight loss program on 264 overweight adults. It concluded that weight loss may reduce anxiety, depression, hunger, and body dissatisfaction.
The psychological benefits of weight loss are important. Regular physical activity, combined with a healthy diet, can help us manage our weight, reduce the risk of depression, and improve our quality of life. Start a workout regimen and track your calories – you’ll see your mood change for the better in no time.