Is Sara Ali Khan Right? Can Weight Impact Mental Well Being?


Weight loss is more than just fitting into smaller-sized clothes and looking lean, and Sara Ali Khan, in a recent interview underlined how being heavy and carrying excess weight affected her mentally. At one point of time, Sara Ali Khan weighed over 96 kgs and had to lose almost 50 kgs before making her Bollywood debut! She recalls that at that stage, she thought to herself that since there wouldn’t be a better tomorrow, she could eat whatever she wanted! But is Sara Ali Khan right? Can excess weight impact your mental well being and can losing weight promote a feeling of overall well being? Also, does weight loss is more than just a leaner frame? Let’s find out:

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There’s no sugar coating the fact that carrying a lot of excess weight can sometimes give rise to issues like social awkwardness, negative body image, low self esteem, isolation, anxiety, stress, insomnia and sometimes even depression. Obesity has also been found to cause sleep disturbances, and poor sleep, as we all know, can affect mood a great deal the next day. Also, the stress hormone, cortisol, can shoot up the next day, leading to fatigue, irritability, exaggerated changes in mood; you may even experience a sharp dip in energy levels.

So, when people lose excess weight – all the above factors improve. They can sleep better, even snoring improves! With increased energy levels associated with weight loss, one can increase physical activity like walking, which is a great stress reliver, so are other forms of exercises! Also, when an individual loses a significant amount of weight, it establishes a sense of achievement and acts as a confidence builder. A majority of people who have successfully reached their weight loss goal report greater self esteem, improved confidence, with renewed energy to do more things. They also say that they feel more confident in social gatherings, feeling more healthier and fit.

But the important thing to note here is that you can reap benefits of weight loss only if has been achieved through a healthy diet and exercise routine. Make no mistake, you wouldn’t get the above-mentioned perks with crash dieting or following fad diets where you are depriving your body and mind of food and nutrients that it requires to survive and thrive! Not to mention, matter can worsen further with pills, potions, and fat cutters that list “mood disorders” as a potential side effect!

So, here’s how nutrient-dense food can help you – Experts say that an optimum amount of protein intake not only accelerates weight loss, but when protein breaks down into amino acids, it benefits brain functioning and improves mental health, as many of the brain’s neurotransmitters are derived from the amino acids found in protein. For example, dopamine is made from the amino acid tyrosine and tryptophan is the precursor for making serotonin (associated with feelings of happiness and calm). There are several studies that show that amino acids like tryptophan, tyrosine, phenylalanine, are helpful in treating a lot of mood disorders including depression.

EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexanoic acid) are omega-3 fatty acids found in seaweed, algal oil, algae, and fish oil, have been found to have anti-depressant effects. Likewise, vitamin B12 and minerals like folate, magnesium, calcium, chromium, iodine, iron, zinc, selenium, etc., are noted to have a positive impact on mood and mental health. Often patients who have issues affecting their mental health are deficient in many of these nutrients.  So, you need everything from protein, healthy fats, to trace minerals, and even complex carbs to boost your mental health, and you need to be on a healthy and balanced diet to get these nutrients, even when trying to lose weight. Crash dieting and fad diets would never get you the actual benefits associated with weight loss. Also read: “10 Foods with Healthy Fats That Help with Weight Loss.”

Poor food choices and the wrong selection of food also contribute mental health issues. Delving into it further, most of the food products these days are ultra-processed, high in empty calories, and lacking nutrients. These can give rise to several nutrient deficiencies, which impact hormones that have a big say in mental health. We need food rich in several nutrients to run the body and the brain, which these ultra-processed foods lack.

Likewise, a diet high in sugar and hyperpalatable food (highly processed food that is intentionally designed to be extremely addictive, often leading to overconsumption) can affect the reward center of the brain! Don’t be surprised if we tell you that nowadays, food is engineered in laboratories to keep people in a loop of craving! No wonder, you never feel full even with a big packet of potato chips!

These ultra-processed foods also have the power to alter gut microbiome, directly impacting our mental health since there’s a direct connection between the gut and the brain. Do you know more than 95% serotonin (the “feel-good” neurotransmitter, which regulates your mood, keeps you focussed, emotionally stable, and happier) is made in the brain! In short, a robust gut means a happier you! Also, your gut microbiome can also either help or resist weight loss.

So, Sara Ali Khan is indeed correct that the weight factor does count for mental well being. Also read: “Sara Ali Khan Says Losing 40 kgs Helped Her Mental Health.” So, you need to not only eliminate ultra-processed foods, you also need to eat nutrient-dense food to lose weight and improve overall well being. Paying attention to how you feel when you eat and after you eat is also extremely important. Now that we know that eating the right kind of food and being on a healthy diet has so many amazing benefits, you need diet plans like Rati Beauty diet that can not only help you to lose weight but to correct eating habits. Also, learn about mindful eating through our diet plans. Subscribe to the Rati Beauty app to access all our weight loss diet plans.