Get Happy Lose Weight: The Mind-Body Link That Matters

I used to think that the secret to happiness was losing weight. It took me a long time to realize that I had it backwards. Now I know the secret to lasting weight loss is to get happy.

Your mental health and happiness are as important to your journey as what you put in your Tracker. It is much easier to lose weight when you are happy than when you are miserable.

When we’re happier, we tend to make healthier decisions, including those that lead to weight loss—such as eating better, moving more, and getting enough sleep.
Happy Smiling Woman Standing On Scale Showing Weight Loss

How Does Happiness Affect Weight Loss Exactly?

Whether you are stressed out about your finances or dealing with a devastating loss, there are real chemical processes taking place in your body that affect the way you reacts to temptations, from the donuts in the break room to the urge to hit the snooze alarm instead of heading out for your morning walk.

Any amount of depression, no matter how mild, can affect brain chemicals that regulate mood, thinking, appetite, and behavior, making you more likely to eat poorly, skip exercise, and gain weight.

Similarly, high stress levels cause your body to release the hormone cortisol, which causes us to crave energy and comfort food (often in the form of pizza and ice cream). Those extra calories then get stored as yep – excess fat.

I am not saying it’s easy to deal with life’s stressful ups and downs. But it is worth the effort to find healthy ways to battle anxiety, boost serotonin, and release endorphins, that can lead to a happier mood, healthier mind, and slimmer body.

Did you know that happy people tend to have more energy, better self-control and are less likely to turn to food in times of stress?

Who knew happiness could be such a powerful ally when trying to lose weight? But how can you “get happy,” exactly?

One proven way is to add more pleasure into your life. Engage in activities that bring you joy.
What makes you feel slim? Happy? Energized? Alive? Passionate? Excited? Give yourself permission to DO IT NOW.

Since we’re all different, there’s no one recipe for happiness that works for everyone. But there are a some common elements that can help.

A great Get Happy Lose Weight rule of thumb to live by is “Get happy, then eat.” Stop trying to eat your way to happiness!

By getting happy and diversifying your pleasure, there’s a good chance you’ll end up seeking solace in food less often, which will lead to eating less and losing weight 🙂 Makes sense, right?

Here are more ideas to help you get happy and lose weight…

Thirteen Ways to Increase Your Happiness Right Now

Pretty woman with long dark hair wearing light blue blouse sitting on sofa

Embrace Your Own Natural Beauty

Smile

Did you know that studies have shown smiling more often, whether you’re feeling happy or not, helps improve your mood, increases positive thoughts and can help your body deal with stressful situations more effectively, even lowering heart rate? So, if you’re having a bad day, try smiling anyway.

Count your blessings

People with a more grateful outlook on life tend to be happier, according to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Researchers concluded that: ‘Gratitude is linked with positive emotions including contentment, happiness and hope.’ At some point during the day – maybe before you go to bed each night – make simple list of at least 3 things you’re grateful for in your life.

Profile of woman wearing green blouse drinking glass of water

How to Drink More Water

Hydrate

If you’re dehydrated, you’re more likely to feel tired and stressed, and have less energy. So it’s important to stay hydrated with plenty of fresh water to so you have the energy you need to tackle the day’s challenges.

woman wearing purple sweat jacked and black yoga pants walking golden retriever

Seek nature

Find an activity gets you outside. A study published in BMC Public Health found that a 20-minute walk outside twice a week was more restorative than getting the same exercise indoors.

Help others

According to a study published in 2013, people who volunteer regularly have lower levels of depression, increased life satisfaction and enhanced wellbeing.

Unplug

A British study found that compulsively checking e-mails and texts can cause anxiety. Take 15-minute breaks every hour from your phone.

Squares of sees dark chocolate with label in background

Choose Mood Enhancing Foods

Include more of these foods on your menu to keep those happy chemicals high and the hunger ones low:

  • Walnuts can boost levels of serotonin, which helps put you in a good mood.
  • About 40 grams of dark chocolate made from 75 percent cocoa reduces levels of stress hormones.
  • Chickpeas contain folate, a B vitamin that’s needed to produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter that’s most associated with pleasure.
  • Avocados contain B vitamins, which help create that feel-good serotonin. They also have potassium that can help lower blood pressure.
  • Sunflower seeds have loads of magnesium. A deficiency of this nutrient can lower your dopamine levels, making you feel more stressed and anxious.
  • Fatty, cold-water fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines contain omega-3 fats, which can make you feel calmer. In one study, people who regularly ate foods high in omega-3s were 20 percent less anxious than those who don’t.

Two women walking along dock with water in background

Move It!

Countless studies have shown how exercise provides some serious mental health benefits. Moving more will not only help you burn more calories but also help boost feel-good endorphins and energy, which will greatly improve your mindset.

Do yoga

Physical activity always pays off as a mood booster, but for an extra shot of happiness, try yoga. Over time, it boosts levels of the neurotransmitter GABA, important because low levels of it have been linked to a bigger risk of low mood and even depression. Plus, practicing yoga regularly makes falling asleep easier and improves overall sleep quality.

Young women in colorful clothes having fun together

Get Social

A study conducted by renowned ‘happiness experts’ found that positive, high-quality relationships and a strong social support system increases levels of the ‘feel-good’ hormone oxytocin. So foster your marriage, friendships and family ties by spending as much time with them as you can.

woman in orange top breathing in essential oil

Inhale a Soothing Scent

Make sure to fill your life with uplifting fragrances to help soothe away stress. Scents that have been shown to create positive, calming feelings include lavender and orange.

Take a soak

Skip your shower and take a bath. Taking more time to let your body relax will make stress (and sore muscles) melt away.

woman in bikini floating in a pool

Schedule something fun

Looking forward to something fun – a lunch date, shopping trip, girlfriends getaway, vacation – can build excitement and make you feel happier. Try it and see!

If you liked Get Happy Lose Weight, you might also like:

Essential Weight Loss Ingredient
French Weight Loss Secrets
10 Secrets of the Naturally Slim

Originally published 9/2013; Updated with additional content and photographs 05/2018

The post Get Happy Lose Weight: The Mind-Body Link That Matters appeared first on Simple Nourished Living.

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