Obese, Depressed and Addicted to Food


Dear Elsa,

I’m suffering so much inside, and I don’t know what to do, or what could be causing this. I am morbidly obese and have severe depression issues. I had a very trying young adulthood and now that I’m a mother and married, everything is just in shambles. My weight is holding me back from making friends and even looking for work. My depression is difficult to control. I’ve met with a therapist and psychiatrist who both feel I have mood problems, but no one really mentions depression.

I often wonder what I’d be good at or what direction I should look to in order to be able to control my food addiction. It’s like I know what’s best for myself, but I have hurdles I can’t seem to cross! What can I do?

Trapped and Restrained

Dear Restrained,

You’re doing the right thing, trying to get help and you need to just keep it up. Keep pounding. Keep chipping at it and sooner or later a piece is going to fall away, which will lead to another, then another, then another. Over time, you can solve your problems, okay? So don’t you give up.

I am not sure what your status is with the psychiatrist or the therapist. You say you “met” with them, but are you in treatment now? Is someone caring for you? Trying to diagnose you? If not, get back in there. And you don’t have to wait for them to figure out you’re depressed. Speak up. Tell them you need help and you need it now. If you have trouble verbalizing this, write down how you’re feeling and bring it to your appointment. Do whatever you have to do!

Now you may need medication, I don’t know. But if I were you, I would get to moving around. Walk! Just around the block. To the end of your street and back. Take this small step and force yourself to do it. You have to start somewhere. People can help, but you have got to help yourself too.

With Jupiter and Pisces strong in your chart, you’ve got a lot of imagination, so how about you use it. For example, if some obese guy can walk across the country, you can walk to the end of the block, you know? Allow yourself to be inspired. Think about transcending. Think about being an inspiration yourself.

There is hope, okay? There is always hope. Just keep doing what you are doing… sincerely asking for help and I am sure the universe will provide it.

Good luck.


10 thoughts on “Obese, Depressed and Addicted to Food”

  1. Hi Restrained,

    I can sympathize and empathize with where you’re coming from. I’ve spent most of my life struggling with weight issues and some level of depression.

    Have you been checked for Metabolic Syndrome–this is a medical condition that includes insulin resistance, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and a high cholesterol level. I ask because the symptoms for insulin resistance include depression and obesity. And because I have it.

    The only way to know if you have this is to see a doctor who’s familiar with it, which probably means an endocrinologist, unfortunately. I have it, and once I was put on medication to control my insulin level, I was able to lose weight (Weight Watchers. I’ve lost 110lbs. so far.) and the depression has all but disappeared.

    Please don’t give up, and don’t let the medical community’s bigotry against fat people keep you trapped. You’re paying for medical services. Demand that you be given the service you require.

    And if you don’t have insurance and can’t afford a doctor, I’d recommend Dr. Diana Schwarzbein’s books as a place to start learning what you need to know to take care of your own health and begin to get your insulin levels under control.

    And Elsa’s right about the walking, too, by the way.

    Don’t give up!

  2. (forgive my rambling on this but I felt inspired to give a “pep talk”)

    Yes indeed! You CAN do it. YOU CAN!

    I think that’s always in doubt in the mind of a person who is obese. I’m still technically considered obese, but I recently lost 50 lbs over the past (less than a year), and I have to be honest and say I didn’t truly believe that I could for many years and still have some doubts as to the future, but what I realized is that you can start doing things to change your lifestyle, bit by bit, and you don’t have to believe a thing. Your beliefs about yourself will change dramatically, almost automatically, as you go. It’s life affirming to do things.

    I am amazed at just in the past six months, how years of anxiety and depression (yes, severe) have diminished (not gone away–you still have to discover the source) and I can start to truly see a better path for myself. I know that you can, too. It’s not just something _I_ can do, because I am very Piscean and idealistic and delusional and I want everything to be easy! hehee.

    As far as a diagnosis or help is concerned, go with your gut and definitely ask questions and be your own advocate. You are in charge of making things happen in your life, and I am convinced that weight problems stem from a feeling of unworthiness, lack of control, or other self-depreciative attitude. Fear turned in on oneself. Pretty much everyone I have talked to (including myself) who have weight issues this is true for.

    Also, I realize that when you are in the thick of a dependency on food, it’s very hard to break free, so go easy on yourself, don’t fret about it. If you mess up, it’s OK. I found that when I started to let go of my judgements about myself, I started to simply just want to do better for myself. It’s funny that judging oneself can have the reverse effect that you want to have, which is to punish yourself, punish your body for overeating. I feel like this is very common. To say ‘I need to do better’, then doing the reverse, almost to punish yourself or to say ‘I can’t do this’. So I really really want to emphasize patience with yourself and a huge dose of self-love as much as you can muster. I am still working on self-confidence and I realize how important that is. It’s a huge deal for you to be working on this major issue so you deserve a lot of care and encouragement from yourself. Other people that support you are very good to have nearby, too.

    One last bit since this is running on. Recently I went to a plus-sized clothing store, looking at some skirts on sale. I picked up a size 18, thinking I could barely squeeze into it (although for me this is great! I was a size 24-26 before), and I tried on the size 18 skirt, and it was way too big. I was surprised, I thought it just ran large, so I went back to the rack and tried on a size 16…it was still too large. I was absolutely dumbfounded. I thought “I don’t get it”…then I went to find a size smaller and they didn’t have it in the skirt that I wanted! I had to laugh. I was so delighted.

    You will have these experiences and many more wonderful experiences with increased energy, understanding of your worth (despite size, even though it can feel like your entire worth hinges on your size when you’re overweight–I know that feeling) and a general freeing up of all of your great qualities as a person. The weight is just a symptom of a lack of self worth–it doesn’t define you. You are you, and realizing your utter importance and beauty is all important.


  3. oops 🙂 I forgot it doesn’t sign my name at the bottom.

    p.s. if you want to e-mail me, click on my name and it will give my e-mail, phone number, etc if you ever need to talk.

  4. trapped-as the previous commenter pointed out, it IS possible to lose large amounts of weight. it’s not always easy, i know. but it can be done. i’ve spent most of my life classified as “morbidly obese” too. i’m not anymore. and you know, it’s worth the effort to change, i promise you! it sounds like you’re quite unhappy about your weight and feel like it’s holding you back, which seems like an indication you want to look at this.

    but it’s important that you address the depression issues right now. my guess is that you use food to self-medicate the depression. carbs trigger seretonin release, which helps you feel better for a little while, before the cycle starts back up and you eat more to try and drown out the guilty feeling from what you just ate. it’s a vicious cycle.

    you may want to ask your doc if wellbutrin is an appropriate choice for you, as it addresses depression issues and is sometimes perscribed to help people lose weight (or quit smoking).

    exercise will also help with the mood management. and as far as dealing with food addiction issues, i personally believe low carb is a great choice. most people who follow a plan will find that within about a week, their appetite decreases and

    start small, but do something.don’t look at the issue as having X pounds to lose. start by taking a little better care of yourself right now, improve one habit at a time, and build on it.

    people so often think they will feel better and take better care of themselves when they lose weight. it’s actually the other way around. you’ll be able to lose weight when you start feeling better about yourself.

    good luck and peace out to you.

  5. This is a good book by an EXCELLENT author/scholar that you might find helpful, as it actually goes to the depths (IMO) of food/weight issues, rather than focusing on the whole tired out “self-esteem” trip:

    The Owl Was a Baker’s Daughter by Marion Woodman
    I highly recommend it.

  6. (this is a different Amber from above)
    I have been living in Italy for two years now, and I have been astonished at how skinny most Italians are, while they still eat a lot. I would say, focus on the food and the enjoyment it gives you. Really taste it (at set times), don’t just eat. And eat real fresh food – it gives far more satisfaction. Taste and enjoy and make food a source of joy again, and let feeding yourself literally become FEEDING yourself again. Losing weight is not about punishment. It’s about healing. You are worth it.

  7. I was also depressed and obese and unemployed. I still struggle with depression, I am working on my obesity and I am currently unemployed again. You are not alone. We are all here for you.


  8. I’m so impressed that you’ve gone to a therapist! I know from personal experience that the healthier you become mentally, emotionally, the more it shows on the outside! And really, you are loveable no matter where you feel you are on the outside. Anyone who doesn’t know that isn’t worth your time.

  9. Excercise is good, but it’s hard to get up and go when you’re depressed. Going to a therapist is good, but they just treat the emotions, not the secondary response to the emotions. I would also go to Overeaters Anonymous, because they teach you strategies and give support to overcome the food addiction (the hardest addiction to kick! You have to eat to live). You also get to meet ppl in the same situation as you. Good luck and remember that being fat doesn’t make you a bad person.

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