The Link Between the Restrict-Binge Cycle and Depression & Anxiety

In my experience, the longer I dieted, the more depressed I became. My anxiety was at an all time high when I reached my lowest weight. The more I tried to control my diet and body, I dug myself further and further into a deep dark hole. I began isolating myself, crying myself to sleep and not wanting to get out of bed in the morning. Yet, I continued to diet, because I thought that the leaner I could become, the happier I would feel. But, it was in fact, the exact opposite.

Now that I am in a much healthier and happier place, mind and body, I am diving much deeper into the link between dieting and depression.

Does restrictive dieting cause depression? Does binge eating cause an increase in anxiety?

I’ve done a lot of reading and researching which seems to prove that restrictive dieting can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Nutrient deficiencies can cause an increase in anxiety and depression.

Cutting food groups or eating very small portion sizes for a long period of time, causing a caloric deficit to lose weight, can cause a weakened immune system, vitamin deficiencies, anemia, fatigue, depression and anxiety. A deficiency in Vitamin B12, which is important for brain and nervous system function has been linked to increased stress, fatigue and weakness.  Low fat diets can lead to a weakened immune system, poor brain function, and hormonal imbalances. Mineral deficiencies have also been linked to anxiety and depression symptoms. Some studies have shown that a deficiency in Iron can increase the risk of postpartum depression. A Zinc deficiency can lead to increased anxiety and emotional instability. The risks of restrictive dieting for long periods of time, which cause these nutrient deficiencies, puts you at a much higher risk of depression. Further proving that losing weight, won’t make you feel happier.

Then, there’s the opposite side; binge-eating on foods high in sugar and processed foods, which also adds fuel to the fire, increasing depression. Sugary foods causes a temporary spike in mood by releasing feel-good hormones, but then you crash hours later, which can lead to headaches, moodiness, fatigue and anxiety. Guilt, shame and sadness follows.

With this vicious restrict-binge cycle, it wouldn’t be surprising if you are suffering from depression and anxiety, as your body and mind are being put in very compromising states constantly.

Your body needs to be fed healthy nutrient-dense foods consistently in order to function at it’s best. With restriction and binging, you are essentially starving your body and then stuffing your body, which both have an extremely negative impact on your health and well-being.

In my experience, as I stopped dieting and began eating adequately, which lessoned the urges to binge-eat, the less anxious and depressed I felt. It is not the cure, but it definitely helps to fuel my body with proper nutrients to help boost my mood and make me feel healthier and more energized.

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If you’ve been yo-yo dieting, binge eating and restricting and feeling hopeless, anxious, sad, and depressed, there is support out there for you.

To learn more about the MakingMyMiracle FREE Support group, where I share insight and tips on overcoming food obsession, over-eating, and self-sabotaging behaviors, please reach out to me. You are not alone and don’t have to continue suffering. YOU deserve to feel HAPPY, HOPEFUL, and ENERGETIC. Contact: makingmymiracle@gmail.com

XO Stephanie

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