Your eating habits often suffer when you’re struggling with depression. Some people overeat and gain weight because they turn to food to lift their mood. Others find they’re too exhausted to prepare balanced meals or that they’ve lost their appetite completely.

The truth is that whether you're overeating or not eating enough, you may be using food to feel better or to cope with difficult feelings.

People become even more depressed when they feel trapped in a feeling of hopelessness about life and their poor eating habits. At this juncture, it’s important to connect with other people so you don't become too isolated. Talking with friends and a therapist can provide support to help you break out of that cycle.

These are ways depression affects your eating habit

1. Using Food for Comfort.

Many people with depression often use food to self-medicate. What they do is that they may eat to improve or avoid negative or uncomfortable feelings, like sadness, shame, and self-loathing.”

They usually crave carbohydrates or soothing comfort foods, such as ice cream and cake, when they’re depressed. One reason for this is that foods high in carbs and sugar increase levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that elevates mood.

According to Psychologists,in the short term, eating foods high in sugar and fat may make you feel calmer and cared for, but in the long term, a steady diet of 'comfort foods' can lead to weight gain and increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other serious health problems.

2. Eating Too Little(Not eating enough)
Stress can play a role in reducing your appetite. You may feel like you don’t have the motivation or energy to eat when you’re depressed. You may also feel like food isn’t as appealing when you’re anxious, worried, or feel hopeless.

In some cases, people end up unintentionally losing weight when their appetite decreases. They have less desire for food and they start skipping meals – often, they’re sleeping through meals. (Marjorie Nolan, MS, RD, a registered dietitian in New York and a national spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association)

But not eating enough can make you more irritable and sensitive, which can worsen your depression.

3. Eating Whatever Is Easily Available
Shopping for and preparing healthy meals can seem daunting when you’re depressed and lacking energy. As a result, you may reach for foods that are convenient but that aren’t particularly nutritious and you may not get enough variety in your diet.

Depressed people often wind up eating fast food or whatever they have on hand in their kitchen.

It’s also easy for people with depression to get into a rut of eating the same foods all the time. “It’s so hard for them to function that they’re looking for routine and structure. They may just go for ice cream an/or snacks every morning and never try anything different.

Another very important point is that depressed people often have difficulties with concentration, memory, and making decisions. This can make simple tasks seem overwhelming, so they might eat a bowl of eba, only eba for the whole day.

You need Help

It's important you should seek treatment for your depression before you try to change your eating habits. This is because attempting to go on a diet, for example, can be frustrating and counterproductive if the depression hasn’t been addressed first. The root cause of your depression must be addressed first.

If you’ve had depressive symptoms for more than two weeks and they’re interfering with your normal functioning, see your primary care doctor or a mental health professional. During the appointment, tell your doctor if there have been changes in your weight or appetite. The most effective treatment plan for depression typically includes therapy, antidepressant medication, or a combination of both(WebMD)

Once you start to feel better and the treatment kicks in, then you can work on the food choices you’re making and start changing your diet under the guidance of your doctor.

As your depression begins to improve, the following strategies can help you eat healthier and avoid food traps:

1. Find other ways to comfort your body besides food, such as taking a warm bath, wrapping yourself in a soft blanket, or sipping hot tea.

2. Seek activities that give you energy, such as going for a walk, playing with your dog, or listening to music. The truth is that when you do something that brightens your outlook and improves your mood, you’ll be less likely to overeat and make poor food choices.

3.When you think you feel hungry, pausing and asking yourself: am I really hungry or am I feeling something else? “You may find that what you’re really craving isn't a lap of chicken or a bag of snacks, but a heart-to-heart talk with a friend or a loved one.

4. Nutritional deficiencies can make depression worse. So focus on eating a variety of foods, including whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products. Consider meeting with a nutritionist who can create simple, balanced meal plans for you.

Please feel free to share this beautiful price with your family, loved ones, colleagues and well wishers. We should give them the opportunity to learn how much they are being trapped by bad or negative food or eating choices due to depression. This information is useful and impacting.

Thank you.