I just used the Healthy Body Calculator®. It was very helpful especially the breakdown of Nutrition Facts section. Unfortunately, it didn’t tell me much that I already did not know about myself. I should weigh 115 pounds but weigh about 170 instead. I have quite a bit of muscle under all my fat, so I’m not sure where that puts me for my ideal weight range. I don’t feel that I eat big meals, in fact I eat only toast and coffee for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and a small to moderate dinner (depending on how hungry I am). I don’t believe I binge or over indulge myself. Despite this, I still don’t lose the weight. My weight has never yo-yoed. I have always maintained a weight for two or more years at a time. My present weight has stayed the same, even after two pregnancies, for more than 4 years now. I tend to have a depressed attitude, even when I get to exercise or even go out into the sunshine (two methods that have been recommended for solving depression). I am not taking anti-depressant drugs, primarily due to my obesity. All these factors combine to make a constant struggle for me in my daily life and marriage. It is getting the better of me, I’m afraid. I would like to know if depression can be caused by poor diet habits. Also, can depression cause the body to store fat and slow metabolism? Can depression be prevented by diet changes? If I do decide to take an anti-depressant, how might I combat the weight-gain side effects of the drugs? I have tried many different diets. They do not work for me simply because everything I have tried so far could not be tailored so that my hungry husband and two young children would participate, too. Financially, I can’t make two different meals – one for me and one for my family at each meal time. I need something that would be friendly to them, as well. Maybe a plan that they can continue their own eating habits, while I cut back or something? Please help!

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    As you gain weight, your body adds muscle and fat to provide increased organ size and muscles to nourish larger demands and provide mobility for your increased weight. It would be like changing the body of your car to a Cadillac and keeping a Volkswagen engine. The smaller engine just couldn’t keep up with the larger body. So, organs and muscles increase in size due to the increased demand of body weight.

    There is no “ideal weight”. What is ideal when talking about an infinitely variable human being? Body weight depends on a lot of factors. Don’t beat yourself up over your weight. The Healthy Body Calculator® is an estimate of your healthy body weight using scientific formulas and criteria you enter.

    First thing I would suggest is exercise. Get moving. Exercise increases your metabolism for up to 15 hours afterwards and as you note helpful in reducing depression. Aim for 30 – 60 minutes of exercise 3 to 5 days a week. Get your kids and husband involved in your exercise routine as it provides quality time together and model for a healthy lifestyle for your children.

    Why are you opposed to anti-depressants? Perhaps you should visit a psychiatrist and talk about how you feel? I am not big on pushing pills either, but you may need something to get you over the slump you are in. A psychiatrist can prescribe anti-depressants, but only after talking to you. Most anti-depressants don’t cause weight gain. Lithium used in the treatment of bipolar disease (manic depression) can though.

    Depression is not caused by poor diet or even anything you eat. Carbohydrates can increase the endorphins (feel good chemicals) in the brain. So perhaps you feel better after eating carbos. At this time, we don’t know if certain foods can prevent depression other than the effect carbohydrates and chocolate have on increasing brain endorphins.

    Depression does not cause your body to store fat or effect your metabolism. However, some people eat more when depressed and that could contribute to weight gain. Also, some people have a difficult time getting out of bed or out of the house when depressed which would reduce exercise and result in weight gain.

    You are a good person who deserves a good life. Go talk to someone who can support you through this difficult time. No one expects you to do it alone and don’t take on too many things at once. First deal with your depression then with your weight.

    As to your diet, you should not have to make different meals for your family and yourself. You can eat anything in moderation. The obvious is to reduce fats and eliminate sweets or desserts. I would suggest you eat more at breakfast as I found in my practice, people who don’t eat breakfast eat more at night. Add protein like an egg or low-fat cheese to your breakfast. Also, your diet is low in fruits and vegetables based on your info below. Aim for 5 fruits and vegetables each day.