Depression and anxiety symptoms often improve with exercise
As a mental health therapist, I know there is a connection between exercise and your mental health. Obesity is now recognized as the most pressing health concern. The increase of Weight gain in the United States impacts every part of our health – from increased rates of disease to greater incidence of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and addiction. Exercise helps prevent and improve a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis. Studies show that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can also help improve mood and reduce anxiety. Out of my own experience, I know that eating healthy and staying active is good for the mind, body, and soul.
I have always eaten a healthy diet and taken daily walks as a form of exercise. While this worked for a while, it got to a point where this routine did not cut it anymore for my mental health. I was under a lot of stress, my heart was racing constantly, and my anxiety spiked where I was experiencing shortness of breath. At that point, I knew I had to practice what I preached! I decided to prioritize my health by joining a gym. I know the importance of having a good support system, which is why I built mine at the gym! Weird, yes I know, and it wasn’t easy! There are also other ways to build a support system, like weight loss counseling.
PsycHealth Services can help you set your goals in a clear, measurable, and timely manner
As counselors, we know the importance behind having a support system and being held accountable. When we put ourselves on the line, exposing our intentions in the public eye, the shame of failing will help us overcome any resistance we have towards exercise. Some fitness experts even suggest taking public accountability a step further by joining a weight loss group where we choose a sponsor. A sponsor is someone who will personally hold us accountable, hence your therapist.
I am here to tell you that there is a way to overcome the challenges you are facing. Whether that means working out more, developing better eating habits, or reducing stress from your everyday life. I can help you understand why it is so hard for most of us to lose weight. There are many factors that affect healthy weight management, some are stress, sleep, food, self-care, and exercise. As you can see, mental and physical health are connected.
Exercising regularly can help improve your mental health by kicking those happy hormones into action and sweating out the stress hormone. Most people join gyms to lose weight, and focus mostly on the physical aspect of it, but did you know that losing weight consists of 80% diet and 20% exercise? So why is it so hard for people to maintain or lose weight?
Weight loss now comes in any flavor you like
Weight loss is a game we keep playing the same way – even when we are not winning. We continue to diet, purchase gym memberships, go on crash diets, and buy weight loss supplements. No weight loss program will work if we cannot get ourselves to actually do it but more importantly, we need to understand how your mental health affects your physical health.
Studies show that most dieters will gain back more weight than they originally lost. Yet for fitness experts who work with dieters this is not surprising, most people focus almost entirely on the physical aspects of weight loss, like diet and exercise. But here’s the secret… there is an emotional component to food that most people simply overlook, and it can quickly sabotage their efforts.
What we ignore is that while weight loss is regulated by what we eat – those choices are regulated by something much larger, and more powerful. For example, consider the emotional attachment we have to certain foods.
We are conditioned to use food not only for nourishment, but also for comfort
Most people think that lack of exercise is the biggest barrier to weight loss. In reality, we overestimate our ability to make the kinds of choices that lead to weight loss; this may also explain why so many of us struggle. To lose weight and keep it off long term, we need to do more than just think about what we eat, we need to understand why we are eating.
Counseling for weight loss and healthy lifestyle changes can help you develop a healthier way to manage your commitments and achieve your goals. The truth of the matter is that counseling can help you better organize your life so you can make time for yourself and the events in life that mean the most to you. It is not selfish to change your health to reevaluate your stress levels, time at work, family commitments, etc. Working on yourself is the best investment you can make.
What are the mental health benefits of exercise?
- Help you sleep better at night
- Relieves stress
- Can help relieve depression symptoms
- Can help relieve anxiety symptoms
- Exercising releases endorphins, which are powerful chemicals in your brain that energize your spirits and make you feel good
- Relaxes your muscles
- Relieves tension in your body
- Improves concentration, motivation, memory, and mood
- More energy throughout the day
- Gain confidence
Build your support system at PsycHealth Services
As a therapist, I know the importance behind having a support system. I knew that in order to succeed and achieve my goals I needed to have one. I built my support system by introducing myself to the fitness instructors and my group exercise classmates. This led to us connecting on social media and holding us all accountable if one of us started missing classes. I have to admit, this happened to me a few times because I was either intimidated, uncomfortable, or just feeling lazy. Some days I could not deal with the pain that comes after a day of physical exercise. It takes time for your body to get used to the change, and you have to be consistent. It’s easy to give up, but making friends at the gym held me accountable, and gave me the motivation I needed to stay on track and be consistent.
Reduce your depression and anxiety symptoms with counseling
In counseling, you will be provided with the tools you need to reach your fitness goals. We can discuss getting your health in order. We will practice psychoeducation so you can understand how different body types are affected by weight loss. You will learn what is best for your body. We may discuss topics such as impulse control. This is important because some people struggle to know when to stop eating or stress eat.
We will discuss the mechanisms behind this and how to overcome it. While we are not nutritionists or dieticians, what we can do is talk about researched tips, techniques, and guidelines behind how you can eat and develop a well-balanced diet that works for your time and interests.
Lifestyle changes do not happen overnight. Whether that means reducing your stress levels, losing weight, eating healthier, or developing a better work/life balance you must understand that it takes time. You may be thinking “I just don’t have the time to wait” but that is why our therapists are here to help you. We are your guides. We can help you make the changes that are appropriate for you and your goals. Counseling can help reduce your depression and anxiety symptoms.
What is stopping you from reaching your health and fitness goals?
Naturally knowing all these facts, I do tell my clients to take on some form of exercise and there is usually some resistance that comes with that.
The most common things I hear are:
1) they all have perfect bodies, and I don’t
2) they all know what they are doing, and I don’t
3) it is so intimidating, and I am afraid I will make a fool of myself.
There it is, I guess the fear of embarrassment and failure is so strong that it prevents us from starting an exercise program in the first place! However, I can guarantee that after a week or two in the gym, you will realize that everyone there is looking for the same thing. These people just want to stay healthy, both mentally and physically. You have choices: you can try what I did and make friends at the gym, or you can try weight loss counseling. It’s important to have accountability partners who will challenge you into action whenever it’s hard to stick to your fitness plan.
At PsycHealth Services, we can be your support system and help you stay on track with your mental and physical health
Trust me, I know some days you will be too tired to get out of bed; let alone have the energy to work out in the gym. This is why accountability and having a support system is so important. We will challenge you to push your body and stay focused so that you can achieve your goals at the end of the day.
I have never felt better in my entire life; exercising daily made me feel strong and healthy. I also found that we all have similar fears about being exposed and judged. After a few times going to the gym and attending fitness classes the feeling of awkwardness and uneasiness began melting away. I started having fun!
Remember that change is uncomfortable and sometimes painful. With dedication, you can kill two birds with one stone- achieve your physical health goals while ensuring that your mental health is in tip top shape.
Begin Therapy for Weight Loss in Riverside, IL
Healthy lifestyle counseling can help you lose weight, eat healthier, reduce stress, and improve negative health patterns. Our therapy office in Riverside, IL has skilled healthy-lifestyle therapists who specialize in health, wellness, and sports psychology. To start your counseling journey, follow these simple steps:
Other Therapy services at PsycHealth Services
At PsycHealth Inc, we offer online therapy and in-person therapy, and we offer a wide range of services that help couples, parents, teens, and those looking to get control over mental health disorders that are holding them back. If you are interested in getting support with anxiety, weight loss, depression, trauma, and substance abuse help, then you’re in the right place. Additional services we can support you with include therapy for teens, counseling for parents, Therapy for weight management, anxiety treatment, and depression counseling, stress therapy, and postpartum depression treatment.