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I saw a quote yesterday that holds lots of relevance to the weight control field:

Food is the most abused anxiety drug and exercise is the most unused antidepressant.”

I believe that all of us, at times, manifest feelings of anxiety and/or depression.  This does not imply that everyone of us have significant clinical depression or anxiety requiring prescription medications and/or professional help.  However, we all know what it feels like to be anxious and/or depressed at times.  Many of these episodes may be due to some environmental event such as death of a loved one, stressful events with our children, job demands, relationship issues etc.

When we feel anxious or depressed, we will often seek some sort of remedy for this.  Thoughts of waiting weeks to see a doctor and having prescription medications handed to you are not very palatable.  However, ingesting a high caloric food source or feeling the numbing impact of alcohol can be entertained as an immediate impact to the situation.  Of course, the “help” provided by these food/drink sources is only temporary in nature and can lead eventually to physical harm.

Exercise, for many, is a great stress reducer and the endorphins that are generated during exercise can heighten mood.  Unlike the “food and alcohol” treatment of mood disorders that can produce physical damage, exercise improves overall health as well.

Take a step back and analyze your use of food and exercise as approaches to mood swings you may experience. 

Try hard to maximize the exercise and minimize the food. 

By doing so, you will physically feel better and lessen overall stress.  The weight gain from using food as the treatment will ultimately produce more anxiety and depression.