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Obesity and Depression

Did you know that Obesity and Depression are linked? No one is certain which comes first… if Obesity causes Depression or if Depression causes Obesity… or if there is some common factor that can cause both. Whatever the cause, it's important to recognize this correlation.

The good news is that most people are feeling much better within one month of working with us! Tune into today's podcast to learn why, and what you can do to feel better soon!

Episode Highlights:

01:14 I want everyone listening to this podcast to know that there is definitely a correlation between obesity and depression.

14:20 As you stop, over-stimulating your dopamine receptors with toxic food products, and toxic addictive beverages, your dopamine receptors are going to start to regenerate. This Is the beauty of it. If you've got dopamine down regulation, you will get more dopamine receptors. And this can take a few weeks, but eventually you do start to feel better.

18:45 If you are struggling with depression, you need to be eating your vegetables, because they have micronutrients in them. They have the precursors for your brain to make the neurochemicals and the neurotransmitters that you need, like dopamine and serotonin and oxytocin and other ones.

--- Full Raw Transcription Below ---

Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:27):
Welcome to today's podcast, everyone. Hey, Marchelle, how are you doing?

Marchelle (00:32):
Good. Hey everybody.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:34):
Yay. Well today I have another topic for you. Last week. We talked about insulin resistance. So today I want to talk about obesity and depression. And, you know, I did a preventive medicine residency at Loma Linda down in California back, I don't know it was 2005, 2006, long, long time ago. I did my final research project was on this topic, obesity and depression. And you know, of course now that research is pretty old and I've gotten a lot more experience in obesity medicine since then, too. So I'm going to update everybody. I want everyone listening to this podcast to know that there is definitely a correlation between obesity and depression. So the latest research that was published by the CDC was on data that was gathered between 2005 and 2010.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (01:35):
And it showed that 43% of adults with depression had obesity. And adults with depression were more likely to have obesity than adults without depression. It also showed that in every age group, women with depression were more likely to have obesity than women without depression. It showed that the proportion of adults with obesity rose as the severity of depressive symptoms increased. So what that means is the more severe your depressive symptoms, the more likely you were to have obesity. Okay. So there is definitely a correlation going on here. Noone is sure what comes first, whether obesity causes depression or depression causes obesity. My educated guess is that it goes both ways. So obesity can cause depression for sure and depression can create a situation where people are more prone to use sugar to help themselves feel better and have issues with obesity. So I think it probably goes both ways. Definitely it's a complex relationship, but there is this correlation. You know, and I would say, correct me if I'm wrong, Marchalle, I would say that most people who come into our clinic for weight loss are already on some sort of antidepressant when they come in. Would you agree with me on that,

Marchelle (03:16):
Right? Yeah. That is true actually. Now that we're talking about it.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (03:20):
Yeah. yeah, either some, some sort of medication for depression or anxiety or both usually, so.

Marchelle (03:29):
Right. And I don't think people that are very overweight or very happy people anyway, because you just feel like crap.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (03:36):
Yeah, yeah. For a lot of reasons. Right. We're going to talk about that. So, right. All right. So we always have a, our patients do a depression screen when they come in and if they're showing signs of depression, we, I talk about it with them. Now here's the good news. Most of the time when we repeat the depression screen, just one month later, they're back to normal. That's pretty cool. Can you believe that?

Marchelle (04:03):
Yeah. Can I ask you a quick question? So one thing that I've been told maybe clarify this for me. Is it true that a lot of the antidepressive medications cause weight gain,

Dr. Angela Zechmann (04:16):
There are some antidepressant medications, medications that are used to treat depression that can cause weight gain. There's one that is actually a weight loss medication it's called Bupropion or Wellbutrin and right. It's in one of the latest weight loss medications. Generally speaking the really common ones, the SSRIs and drugs like Citalopram and Lare not Lare Pam, the PAMs and

Marchelle (04:47):
Like Sertraline.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (04:49):
Sertraline is, Zoloft, Fluoxetine, those ones don't, I mean, any drug can cause any side effect in anyone, but they're not typically associated with lots of weight gain, so.

Marchelle (05:01):
Okay. Yeah. Cause just, I mean, I just had heard that through the grapevine. I think, I can't really remember, you know, where, where exactly that information came from. But I have been told that quite a bit,

Dr. Angela Zechmann (05:11):
There are some that, that are associated with weight gain. So you just want to be super, super careful. So.

Marchelle (05:18):
Yeah. Right.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (05:21):
But I think it's awesome that, you know, all it takes is one month of working with us. And if you were kind of struggling with depressive symptoms, like 99% of the time they're gone. I think that's really remarkable. And I have definite opinions about why that happens. So, so that's like kind of what I want to talk about. So the first thing that I want to talk about are the psychological effects of having the disease of obesity. Most people who struggle with obesity have tried a lot of things to get this under control; lots of different diets, lots of exercise programs, surgery sometimes. Did you know Marchelle that the average American woman starts eight diets a year?

Marchelle (06:07):

Dr. Angela Zechmann (06:08):
That's a lot of focus on this.

Marchelle (06:09):
I believe it. Yeah. I could believe it though, because yeah, I, I did that for years.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (06:14):
Yeah. And you know, when you are struggling like this, most people have the tendency to criticize themselves a lot. So what's going, the self-talk that's running through their brains all day are words of judgment of being inadequate of not being good enough worrying about what other people are thinking. And that just tends to wear us down and that can be associated with depression.

Marchelle (06:40):
Right. I just, I remember I was severely depressed when I was when I used to be really overweight. And I just remember waking up in the morning, you try to get some clothes that, you know, there aren't too tight and just, yeah. It causes so much depression just having to look yourself in the mirror, not even wanting to be in your own skin. And that's how I used to feel.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (07:01):
Yeah. So yeah. It's just, it's so hard. Yeah. It's really hard. So just want you guys to know we get this right. Now. The other thing is that oftentimes there's chronic pain that goes along with obesity, joint pain or stomach acid or abdominal bloating or cramping and chronic pain can cause depression. So right. Be aware of that. Oftentimes there's undiagnosed sleep apnea that is a complication of obesity and that creates, that wreaks havoc on you. And that creates a lot of fatigue and depression just from sleep apnea. Many people find that they're no longer able to do activities that they used to enjoy and that make them happy. So for example, they'll shy away from hiking because they're afraid they can't keep up. They don't necessarily want to be with other people because they're embarrassed about their weight or people will get discouraged because as you were kind of mentioning the clothes that used to fit well, just don't look good anymore. So they stopped participating in their lives. And, you know, I was reading through some of the things that our patients write. When they first come to our clinic, one woman described it like this. She said, as I got bigger, my world got smaller.

Marchelle (08:20):

Dr. Angela Zechmann (08:21):
Isn't Isn't that…

Marchelle (08:22):
That's perfect.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (08:24):
I like, wow. You know, that's poetic almost.

Marchelle (08:26):
Definitely. But that's I remember avoiding, yeah. I, sorry. I was going to jump in quick. Go ahead. I remember avoiding like certain vacation spots because I didn't want oh, really bathing suit.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (08:36):
Ah, Yeah.

Marchelle (08:37):
I would never go to Hawaii. Yeah. And so that that's like on my bucket list. I, I want to go to Hawaii just because I remember like avoiding it for so many years because I didn't want to wear a bathing suit and now I feel so much more confident. Yeah. And yeah, so I, I'm going to reward myself sometime with that.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (08:55):
That'll be great. Yeah. Highly recommended. Yeah. Having just been there. Yeah,

Marchelle (09:02):
I Know.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (09:03):
Yeah. Well I just, I just, you know, want us all to recognize that I can see the correlation between obesity and depression very, very easily. So there's a myriad of totally understandable psychological reasons for depression when you have this disease. There are also things that are going on from a biochemical perspective when you have obesity. So for example, there can be something called dopamine down regulation. Do you remember what that is? Marchelle? I've talked about it it before, but it might be something that….

Marchelle (09:37):
Kinda, yeah, I, I do remember this. That is, yeah. Okay. So this has to do, you know, with when you eat sugar and you get a, a dopamine hit, is that what we're talking about?

Dr. Angela Zechmann (09:48):
Exactly. Yes.

Marchelle (09:49):
And then yeah. Okay. So….

New Speaker (09:52):
Yeah. So, so you get the dopamine hit from and flower, flower does it too. You get a huge dopamine hit and our brain pathways, the dopamine pathways in the brain get constantly over stimulated with all of those hits of sugar and flour. And so those dopamine pathways are the reward pathways, right? And when they get over stimulated, the dopamine receptors down regulate what that means is there are fewer of them. So there are not as many dopamine receptors and that can lead to depression. When you don't have enough sugar on board, you get cravings and anxiety because the dopamine receptors that are there are just screaming for more all the time. So dopamine down regulation could definitely cause depression. There's also evidence that the inflammation that occurs in obesity disrupts the normal functioning of the brain and that can be associated with depression. And there's emerging evidence that the gut microbiome, now what's the gut microbiome. Those are all the bacteria in our gut. They're different in people who have obesity than people who don't have obesity. And the, a healthy gut microbiome is important for good brain health and emotional regulation. So that's a whole emerging field of research. So I just want our listeners to know that there is a lot going on here. And there are a lot of reasons, both psychological and biochemical for why obesity and depression are related. Is that making any sense?

Marchelle (11:31):
Yeah. And it's just, you know, what's so sad is that what we tend to do is instead of really dealing with the culprit, which would be getting you know, the sugar and the flour out of your system, we, we just put a pill on it and we, you know, we start taking these antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications instead of getting to the real you know, the real problem. So basically, you know, you're just putting a bandaid on it. And I think it's because a lot of people really just don't know this information.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (12:00):
Yeah. Well, and there's the other piece of it is that if you were to stop doing sugar and flour, like things are going to get worse before they get better,

Marchelle (12:11):
They will. They do amazing. Not like it's not like you, I don't know, maybe some people really have a hard time physically getting off of sugar and flour because I, I have seen it in the clinic. Yeah. But when I did it, I mean, I remember going through like a lot of emotional, I don't know, yeah, just because I was, you know, it was like, I was grieving. Yeah. Sugar. Huh. You know, I was breathing this dopamine hits.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (12:36):

Marchelle (12:37):
And then I became resentful.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (12:39):

Marchelle (12:40):
Like everything I just want, why does life have to be so hard? You know, but yeah,

Dr. Angela Zechmann (12:44):

Marchelle (12:45):
Then but then afterwards you feel so much better that it's totally worth it.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (12:52):
Totally worth it. Yeah. Yes. Yes. And that's what I want everybody to know is like, there's hope for this.

Marchelle (12:58):

Dr. Angela Zechmann (12:59):
So remember I said, you know, the majority of the time that people who come in with positive scores on their depression screen are normal after just one or two months. Well, how does that happen? That's what I want to help you understand. When you stop eating processed food and start eating real whole food the body goes through a lot of awesome, awesome changes. And like we were talking about the first week or two is really hard. There can be some pretty severe withdrawal symptoms, like major fatigue, irritability, resentment, worsening of the depression, headaches, and you might like not be motivated to do anything other than just take some Tylenol and go to bed. Which is fine. Just do that. Just take some Tylenol and go to bed. Just keep nourishing your body with good whole food, adequate protein. So good protein, lots of vegetables and healthy fats.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (13:59):
And what you're doing is you're bringing your insulin levels down. Remember we talked about that last week. You're going to bring your insulin levels down and you're detoxing off of sugar. It's going to feel worse before it gets better. So be prepared for that. And we'll put a link to our five day sugar detox menu in the show notes. So you can download that if you're actually ready to get started right now. But as you stop, over-stimulating your dopamine receptors with toxic food products and toxic addictive beverages, your dopamine receptors are going to start to regenerate. This Is the beauty of it. If you've got dopamine down regulation, you will get more dopamine receptors. And this can take a few weeks, but eventually you do start to feel better. Your head starts to clear up. It's like you've been in the, I can always relate it to the Pacific Northwest rain.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (14:54):
You know how it is all winter long. Yeah. And spring starts to hit and the sun comes out and like all of a sudden I can see clearly now the rain is gone. You remember that old song from the seventies, you know, I'm dating myself, but that's kind of what it feels like. And everything like seems to have new life and starts to look more beautiful. And after a while the cravings are gone and you feel mentally more stable. You just feel more even keyed. It's like, you've got your feet on the ground and you're feeling the wind blowing around you. The wind used to kind of blow you over, but now it doesn't, you're not blown over. You're just standing there, even keeled feeling the wind. And you have a sense of stability. That's what it feels like when you are regularly nourishing your body with whole delicious whole foods and not processed food all the time. And that's what I like best about getting the nutrition straightened out. There's this sense of mental clarity and stability that you get once you're nourishing your body really well. Does that making sense?

Marchelle (16:01):
I Remember. Yeah. Do you remember when I did that? Like, when I first started to realize, you know, that, okay, I had detoxed and like I said, it was a lot of emotional stuff for me. Mostly I didn't get any headaches or anything like that. Or maybe one day, no, that, that is, I think it was like the first day. Maybe, maybe the second.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (16:20):
I remember you had headaches one day.

Marchelle (16:22):
Did I? Yeah. Did I have a headache one day? Yeah.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (16:24):
Okay. It was like day four or five. It was surprising.

Marchelle (16:26):
Was it? Okay, Maybe

Marchelle (16:28):
Hard. See, it was, I just don't even remember it because.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (16:30):

Marchelle (16:31):
Wasn't that big a deal. Well,

Dr. Angela Zechmann (16:33):
We were videotaping it and I remember editing the video, so.

Marchelle (16:37):
Okay. Yeah.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (16:37):
That's how I can remember.

Marchelle (16:39):
It's strange. I don't remember that as much as I do remember how clearheaded I became. Yeah. And then remember, like I started getting like a really inspired and, and I had so much more energy, not like caffeinated energy that I used to used to be living on, you know, caffeine. Yeah. And so I mean, it's just, I felt so, like I just had this mental clarity and it was amazing. I just felt so much better. And I love that's like the best part of my job working with Angela is being able to see people through the other side. Yeah. And after when they come in for their one month follow up and they have huge smiles on their face. Cause when they first come in, you know, they've really come in with their tail between their legs. Cause they've tried everything. Yeah. And they don't know what else to do. And they failed and they feel like they failed. They feel like they're broken. But you give 'em, you know, one month and they get off the sugar and flour, which is what, which is what Angela are here for. This is what we do. Yeah. And and then they're so happy when they come in and they feel so much better. Like why, why didn't I think of just doing this?

Dr. Angela Zechmann (17:51):
Yeah. And you know, those of you who don't live in Olympia, Washington, if you want in, on this, all you have to do is do the 30 Day Done With Dieting Bootcamp. Yes. Which is just go to and just get on there and it's not expensive or anything. And you just, I send you a video every day for 30 day and then you can…

Marchelle (18:09):

Dr. Angela Zechmann (18:10):
And then you can get off sugar and flour too. And you can, you can have a major transformation in just 30 days. It's remarkable what you can do. So yeah,

Marchelle (18:18):
Because we all need help. We need help. I knew that to be true because yeah. I needed help with it. And and yeah, the program is, is awesome. You guys, yeah. Do yourself favor. Yeah.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (18:32):
Now I do want to mention one other thing here. And that is a lot of people get off sugar and flour, but they forget to eat their vegetables.

Marchelle (18:43):
Oh yeah, it is true.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (18:45):
So I think that if you are struggling with depression, you need to be eating your vegetables. And let me explain why they have micronutrients in them. They have the precursors for your brain to make the neurochemicals, the neurotransmitters that you need, like dopamine and serotonin and oxytocin and other ones without the raw materials, is your brain supposed to be normal. So that would be my recommendation. I try to eat 20 ounces of vegetables a day. Like I will weigh it out sometimes too, just to make sure that you're getting the vegetables that you need in order for your brain to have the raw materials that it needs to make the neurotransmitters, that are going to keep your brain healthy. It's awesome. It's really awesome. You know, I used to have serious struggles with depression myself in the past, and I spent years taking antidepressants. And this was when I was really struggling with my sugar addiction.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (19:46):
And what I discovered was that getting off sugar and flour products was a huge first step in healing, my depression. But I was also focusing on meditating every day and I was doing all sorts of other things to help evolve myself and it's all stuff that I teach now, you know, so no no problem with that, but I don't struggle with depression anymore. And I'm off all the antidepressants. So I want all of our listeners to know just how important good nutrition is for both your physical health and your mental health. Now, I would never suggest that any of our listeners go off their antidepressants without, you know, first talking to their doctor about it and being very carefully, medically supervised, because that could be a recipe for disaster. So please don't do that, but I do want you to know just how much better you can feel when you get off junk food and start eating whole foods, eat lots of vegetables, eat good protein, healthy fats. And again, if you're ready to get started, just go download the sugar detox menu, or you could even join us in the Done With Dieting Bootcamp. So just go to and click on the 30 day bootcamp tab and then, and get started. How's that sound?

Marchelle (21:09):
Perfect. Mo say vegetables. We don't mean corn. No

Dr. Angela Zechmann (21:13):
Vegetable. Corn is not a vegetable. My mother always thought, said that corn was a vegetable. Corn is not a vegetable. Corn is a starch.

Marchelle (21:20):
I mean, I joke with my, with my son. Cause he, cause he, he says that corn's a vegetable. We, we laugh about it. Yeah,

Dr. Angela Zechmann (21:27):
Yeah, yeah. Popcorn is not a healthy snack by the way, either. So right. Just FYI, even though it's natural, it's pretty high in carbs and it's going to stimulate a lot of insulin, so.

Marchelle (21:38):
Right, right. Yeah.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (21:40):
So anyway yeah, I think that, I hope that helps anybody who has been struggling with depression and obesity to kind of just get a sense of how important it is to take care of your physical and your mental health and make sure you're getting,

Marchelle (21:56):
You're not alone.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (21:57):
You're not alone. Definitely not. All right, everybody take care and we will see you next week. Bye now,

--- End of Transcription ---

Dr. Angela



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