Keys to Success
Healthy Mind for a Healthy Weight

Having a healthy mind for a healthy weight requires managing stress, maintaining and developing personal relationships, having a positive body image, dealing with depression and exercising your mind.

Managing Stress
What causes us to become stressed can be subjective - what is for some people a "bad" event, may be neutral (or even positive) for others. "Stress is an individual's response to a stressor".

Stress can contribute to some people becoming overweight if it results in:


  • Increased nervous overeating
  • Increased alcohol (combined with fatty or sugary food) consumption
  • Decreased feelings of self-control
  • Decreased self-esteem
  • Unrestrained eating

Some symptoms of stress may include:


  • Decreased sense of humour
  • Increased susceptibility to common infections
  • Increased fatigue and tension
  • Social withdrawal
  • Not accomplishing
  • Emotional exhaustion
  • Impaired sleep
  • Short temper
  • Skipping meals or out-of-control eating

If you would normally turn to food or alcohol to deal with stressful situations, try some of the following positive stress management techniques, such as:-


  • Talking with friends or family
  • Walking / other exercise
  • Yoga classes
  • Meditation / breathing exercises
  • Dancing
  • Relaxation tapes / classes

If you find it difficult to manage your stress you should seek professional advice or referral from your doctor.

Maintaining and Developing Personal Relationships
A supportive family and social network can help you achieve your weight loss goals as they will be able to offer support and encouragement when you need it most. It takes effort to nurture and maintain relationships however the rewards are well worth it.

If you share your healthy weight plans and goals with your support network they may surprise you and join you on your weight management journey.

Body Image and Weight
Ideals of beauty have altered over time. They also vary within different cultures. Today, many cultures emphasise thinness as the vital ingredient for beauty - especially for females. Striving to attain the "ideal" as portrayed in fashion magazines, advertising and on TV has debilitating effects on a person's sense of self and can lead to body dissatisfaction and the worst case scenario of developing an eating disorder.

Not all bodies were created equal. Every woman was not meant to be a size 8 or 10 with small hips, thighs and bottom and every man was not meant to be broad shouldered with a taut stomach. We all want to look our best however our priority should be our health. If your weight falls into the normal healthy Body Mass Index range (BMI 18 to 25) and your waist circumference does not put you at greater risk of metabolic complications (not more that 100cm for men, or 88 cm for women), then you are a healthy weight and there is no medical reason why you should be slimmer. You should congratulate yourself on being a healthy weight, be positive about your body and aim to maintain your healthy weight for life.

If you do have kilos to shed, then you can certainly shed kilos! However you cannot alter your basic body shape. For example, if you tend to carry weight on your hips, thighs and bottom (the "pear" shape typical of many women) then as you lose weight your dimensions will decrease, but your shape will stay much the same. So try to be happy with the general shape of your body and enjoy the many health benefits of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

Depression and Weight
Depression expresses itself in different ways. A person with depression is usually in a persistent low mood, feeling hopeless, worthless or sad. Depression is one of the most common mental health problems. It can cause a variety of physical health effects, including sleep disturbance, fatigue and weight changes.
If you are experiencing persistent symptoms of depression or are concerned regarding your mental health it is essential that you seek help from your doctor.