Stress, Depression & Dieting


Stress, depression, or just being sad over circumstances, can all be tough when you’re dieting. The first instinct is to just throw in the towel and give in to the chaos around you… and spiral downward right along with it.

lowcarbtravelerThere are two things I’ve learned in five years of dieting, or eating low carb I should say. I hope these two things prove useful to you, too.

1. When there are things in your life outside your control, or that feel overwhelming, eating healthy and taking care of YOU is the ONE thing you CAN control.

It actually feels good to have a point of strength, a point of control, something you have a good handle on – when everything else feels like it’s spinning completely out of control.

Make your health, and yourself, your focal point. Trust me, it helps. A lot.

2. You’ll do MUCH better at powering through some of life’s chaos if you FEEL strong.

When you’re in control of at least one thing that’s important to you (like your health, or your weight loss goals), you’ll approach stress and circumstances differently. You’ll deal with it as it comes at you, instead of letting it suck you in. You’ll feel strong and in control of the situation, instead of weak and victim to it.

Maybe your best friend doesn’t want to be friends with you anymore, and you don’t know why. Maybe the only man showing any real interest in you is leading you on and letting you down over and over. Maybe one of your dogs died, and your heart still aches so hard. Maybe you don’t have as close a relationship with your other dog, so on top of grief you are full of guilt.

Maybe you’re lonesome to the core. Maybe you still can’t understand why the greatest love of your life doesn’t want to be with you anymore. Maybe you canceled the last two places you were supposed to be because you don’t want to be around people right now. Maybe one of those places included people that used to be your friends, and one person that lied to you in a way you can’t get over.

Maybe you owe the IRS so much money it scares you. Maybe you wonder if you’ll EVER reach your goals. Maybe you look in the mirror every day, and feel disgusted with yourself. Maybe your mother hates you so bad she won’t even speak to you, or your children. Maybe you’re so much like your mother that you hate parts of you too.

Maybe your children grew up and left home, and your house feels so empty and quiet that you run fans and play music to fill the empty void that aches in your ears. Maybe you don’t know when you became an emotional overeater, but you really do – and it’s too painful to think about. Maybe your father is dying and you know you should go see him, but you haven’t spoke to him in a decade and don’t even know how to start.

Maybe you don’t even know why you want to lose weight, look better and feel better and you’re losing sight of any real motivation. Or losing hope in anyone ever caring, or wanting to hold you. Maybe you had so much you wanted to accomplish by now, and you haven’t. Maybe you have so much on your plate at work that it feels impossible, and probably is. Maybe you feel exhausted with pushing yourself so hard, when it feels like you’re just standing still.

Maybe you miss love so bad it’s hard to breathe, and you don’t know whether to try to date again… or get a new puppy. So you do neither, and just live in the emptiness. Maybe you totally failed on a HUGE project and you don’t know how to recover.

Maybe you smile anyway, and just push yourself harder. Maybe nobody really knows how much you hurt, or what all you’re going through.

Maybe any one of those things. Or maybe all of them, for some.

We all have our own unique set of circumstances in this crazy ride called Life.

If life has thrown you off track, and you don’t know how to recover… read this: How To Get Your Diet Back On Track

My advice:

Take up a new hobby.

Make new friends.

Get out more.

Pound it out on the pavement.

Work out hard and sweat it out.

Get a pet.

Above all, accept what IS. Realize that the only thing under the sun you can truly control is yourself, your choices, how you respond to life. Choose you. Love yourself. Be strong. Play your favorite music and dance a little – it’s good for the soul. πŸ™‚

There’s no excuse for getting fat, making yourself sick, or being unhealthy. No amount of BS life can throw at you is a good reason not to take care of YOU. It’s a choice.

I’ve made bad choices and let life suck me in and pull me down with it. We all have, I bet. But that was my CHOICE, and I realize and accept that. Now I choose to be in control. When everything else sucks… that feels GOOD.

Yes it’s true that stress and depression can affect your weight loss. So what. Eat healthy anyway. Exercise anyway. A healthy diet and exercise are good for both. Ignore the scales and focus on your health.

Lynn Terry,
aka @LowCarbTraveler



About Lynn Terry

I love making the low carb diet EASY for people with a busy lifestyle (like me!) with my KISS / Keep It Simple method. :) About Lynn Terry: Host of the Low Carb Challenge
This entry was posted in Weight Loss. Bookmark the permalink.


48 Responses to Stress, Depression & Dieting

  1. Sue Starkey says:

    Stress and depression does play a big role in my life and many others. I think you just need to totally comit to this WOE rather than thinking hour dieting, it’s a new, healthy lifestyle. I do ignore the scales and just keep going on with my new lifestyle.

    • Lynn Terry says:

      That’s great advice, Sue – and I agree. It’s a lifestyle and a way of eating. Getting out of the dieting mindset is key, as you can do your body more harm than good “dieting.”

  2. Christy says:

    Thank you for saying that. It really spoke volumes to me. I’m 640 lbs and from January 4 til January 28 I had lost 31 pounds then I got sick and still recovering. Now April 6 my ex husband which is my daughters dad passed away. It has been rough and his wife keeps calling me and I Dont want to talk about what happen but anyway I started again today and going back and reading the things you wrote. Thanks again for sharing.

    • Lynn Terry says:

      I’m so glad you started back at eating low carb today, Christy. It’s the best thing you can do for yourself. It also gives you something positive to focus on, and of course the better we take care of ourselves… the better we can take care of those we love (like your daughter). *hugs* It sounds like a tough time. My heart goes out to you.

  3. Lisa says:

    My heart goes out to you Lynn. Any ONE of those things could be fuel for sabotaging your weight loss goals and discipline with your healthy diet. Good for you for catching yourself, and for putting it all out there, because I can so relate.

    I too, have all kinds of weird sh#t going on in my life. Lately the stress has been so bad I sometimes wonder if it will ever end, or if I’ll ever have a “good night’s sleep” again…

    Like you I know in times of stress, I need to be even more diligent with self care, and not wallow in self pity and despair. For me that meant getting my butt to the gym for a 7:30 spin class.

    Hugs to you xx

    • Lynn Terry says:

      Thank you Lisa. πŸ™‚ Exercise really does help, A LOT. When it gets completely overwhelming I grab the leash and walk as hard and fast as I can. Poor Slim does his best to keep up, lol.

  4. Tammie says:

    Thanks so much, I needed to hear this today. I have been so depressed today but, I have let it bring me down. I’m stressed also but, I just keep pushing forward.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Tammie says:

      That was supposed to say I haven’t let it bring me down.

    • Lynn Terry says:

      I’m glad to hear that. It’s tough to power through sometimes. It’s even harder when you feel alone in it all. I’m really glad we all have each other to talk it out, and realize we’re not alone. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes… everywhere. πŸ˜‰

  5. Joyce Lilleboe says:

    Lynn I don’t feel Iam doing this rite yet, I am def. staying low or no carb but I don’t understand how you do the %. I too am under alot of stress, I take care of my mother who is 83 years old with alzhiemers , and my sig other who has heart trouble and copd. along with a 30 acre farm and animals. and a 40 year old neice who is retarted. But this is my life. I started the challenge on April 4th and have lost 2 lbs. Is there anything I can do to swing it faster. I have ate no veggies but tons of protein

    • Lynn Terry says:

      Hi Joyce,

      See: That explains what to track and why – and how. You want to get at least 70% of your daily calories from healthy fats.

      I took care of my grandmother her last two years (dementia) so I understand how much work that is, and how stressful it can be. You have a lot on your plate. Kudos for taking control of your health! πŸ™‚

      • Joyce Lilleboe says:

        Lynn tell me please , my fitness pal is 66% fat 0 carb, and 78% protein and I still have lost only 2 lbs since the 5th I drink lots of liquid , what am I doing wrong? yes I am under alot of stress. but now I am getting worried as I have high cholestoral, and small vessel disease the small vessels in my heart are totally blocked Iam getting worried if I am causing more harm, Please guide me to what I should do.

  6. Jeannine Jonsson says:

    Thank you! Just what I needed to read today!

  7. Winnie says:

    Lynn, bless you for being here for us and sharing the good, the bad and the ugly. I lost my husband of 48 years two years ago. Hate being a widow. There were just the two of us. Among his multiple serious health problems he had a brain tumor. When he died everything and our livelihood became my responsibility. Total frustration doesn’t begin to describe how I felt. Last year I existed in shock, reality hit me hard this year . Your newsletter was timely and hit the nail on the head for me. Finally I see where it is time for me to live again and to get rid of this weight to halt health issues. After basically hibernating all winter I am ready to start walking, going out to lunch and dinner with friends. The ocean is just three miles away and is calling my name. My husband would be sad if he knew how depressed I have been as he urged me to travel , etc. His brother and family are 3 hours away. My brother and family are 16 hours away. I have 1 nephew near but try not to lean on them as they have young children. I miss the love and affection my husband showered on me but am fearful of dating. All I can do is ask God to place some good man in my life if that’s what is in store for me. But for now I am ready to take better care of myself. Thanks for all you do for each of us. Sorry, I didn’t mean to write all woes but the words just flowed out.

    • Lynn Terry says:

      I’m glad the words flowed, Winnie. I think sometimes writing it out, and saying it out loud, really helps. I wish I could give you a big long hug. I can’t even imagine the loss you feel after 48 years together. He sounds like a wonderful man and husband. πŸ™‚ Here’s to living in a way that makes him smile down at you! *cheers*

      • Winnie says:

        Thanks. I feel your hug! I have been told by friends they like how I have honored being his wife as so many widows today kinda change their whole lifestyle.

        • Lynn Terry says:

          I think it’s a beautiful thing. πŸ™‚ I can see both sides – needing change, and not. Sometimes the reminders are too much. Sometimes they are comforting. To each their own, and sometimes each moment is different… *cheers*

  8. Amy says:

    Thank you Lynn for all you do for this group. This really hit home to me today. I have a friend who I care about deeply but no matter how hard I try she isn’t very kind to me. I have been focusing so much on trying to make things better with her but I think I need to put that strength and effort into myself instead. Sometimes I think we focus so much on trying to make others happy when we should focus on making ourselves happy first and foremost. Thank you again and I hope you have a great rest of the day!

    • Lynn Terry says:

      I understand how hard that can be, Amy. I think we’ve all dealt with toxic relationships at one point or another. I know I’ve had my share. πŸ˜› And sometimes it’s just a matter of misunderstandings, or having no idea what the other person really wants or needs. That can be frustrating, maddening even.

      Definitely take care of YOU first. There’s no shame in that. It makes you a better person for everyone you’re around, and that you love. πŸ™‚

  9. Justine says:

    Let me just first say that Lynn, you are an inspiration to me every day. When I first started following your blog I would open my email every day in lieu of a post from you. This reason is because you’re a real person with real issues and on a journey to make yourself the healthiest you could be. I’ve seen you have good days and I’ve seen you have bad days but no matter what you bounce right back and get on track and that inspires me. I’m the “always start, never finish” kinda person. I use every happy moment, sad moment, stressed moment, or celebratory moment as an excuse to eat. And I’m always on and off this diet but never follow through. Well dang it I’m ready to finish something…for once. Seeing you push yourself and share every bit of your journey makes me want to be the absolute best I can be. So thank you for being brave enough to share all of you with us. And remember we are walking this journey with you just as you are with us. Thank you Lynn for being my inspiration!

    • Lynn Terry says:

      Thank you so much, Justine. That means more than you can imagine. πŸ™‚ It’s tough sometimes, pushing myself so hard. It’s been 5 years now and I STILL haven’t reached my goals – lol. Rah! I don’t know what else to do but keep going though. The only alternative is to get unhappier and more stressed and disappointed. πŸ˜› I definitely don’t want that. πŸ™‚

      I keep imagining what it’s going to FEEL like to look in the mirror and LOVE what I see. And what it will FEEL like to be in amazing shape, to be strong. I have that vision so firmly in my mind, and it makes me get off my ### even when I don’t feel like it. πŸ˜‰

  10. Justine says:

    I agree 100%. I keep imagining how nice it’ll be to go outside on a hot summer day and actually be comfortable in shorts and a tank top without constantly tugging or pulling on my clothes. Just being confident in myself will be amazing.

    • Lynn Terry says:

      I know that feeling so well. πŸ˜› Being self conscious makes me fidgety! Not to mention clothes are just plain uncomfortable when you’re overweight, lol. That’s what I really loved about the Spanx. It was the first time I ever felt comfortable and confident (and not fidgety) and it felt SO great!!

      I wore them under my leggings last week. πŸ™‚ lol – I’m addicted! I can’t wait to feel that way *without* shapewear!

      • Justine says:

        Oh spanx, lol…I bought a cheapy pair and it looked like I had rolls on my rolls. Lol. I am saving to get a better quality pair. I’m sure once I do I’ll be wearing them under my leggings too, hell I’ll probably wear them under my pjs too lol

        • Lynn Terry says:

          lol Justine – that’s exactly how I feel, I could wear them every day now! πŸ™‚ haha. I really love the model I got. It’s not available on their website though, and a lot of them LOOK the same. This is the one I got that has the great compression but is actually comfortable to wear:

  11. Jennifer says:

    I have found that keeping everything simple helps from being overwhelmed and giving up, which then would always add to my anxiety and foolish pursuit for perfection. That is another reason your account is so great Lynn, because you never over complicate things. πŸ™‚ I have also learned not to compare my loss, or lack of, to others. I once read a quote that said “Comparison is the Thief of Joy” and it is sooooo true. There are very few times you feel good when comparing yourself to others. I don’t have and “end” date anymore either and I am getting better at rolling w/the punches. πŸ™‚ #lifelessons

    • Lynn Terry says:

      Thank you Jennifer. πŸ™‚

      I agree, keeping it simple is best. And comparisons, yes – they can really mess up your mindset! As for life, I am also keeping THAT simple – with the decision not to get a new puppy right now. It’s hard adjusting to such a quiet life after having such a FULL life before. It’s downright hard some days, but I’m doing my best to pare down in all areas of my life – work & personal relationships that aren’t beneficial or positive included.

  12. Angela Wills says:

    Oh Lynn as Lisa already said just one of those things could make a person stressed and depressed! Thank you so much for always being so open and real.

    I’ve been struggling since October bad and have gained back all but about 8 lbs of the 21 I lost. I’m hoping spring and walking in nice weather will get me motivated again. I don’t even have any big reasons why I’m so off track, other then just regular stress and overwhelm from being a mom, partner, business owner, homemaker , etc all at the same time and never feeling like I have enough time to do anything well.

    Anyway … appreciate you. Hugs!!!

  13. Bonnie whitworth says:

    2003 was my top weight 195 (maybe more). But that is what I put in my journal. I was spiraling down as life gave me more than I could handle. Other than being over weight I smiled and took even more on. I was fortunate as I have a loving husband, loving kids lovely life and lovely home. But ladies if it was not for my pen in hand every day I wrote in my journal and followed Oprah Winfey in her fight to regain herself on TV. I wish she had you Lynn years ago. I went on to where I am 135 and it may of taken me a few years to reach my goal (as life keeps throwing you things to deal with) but I kept my journal and was honest. It will help you when you stall in weight because you can read what you did to cause the stall. Sometimes it is too much cheese. Too much wine. Too much life. But ladies I can only tell you it is great to be free under your clothes. So go for it. And Lynn you are beautiful and every new picture I see you more confident. You can do it darling!❀️

    • Lynn Terry says:

      Thank you, Bonnie. πŸ™‚ I find journaling to be incredibly helpful. I keep my food journal of course, to track any potential culprits there – and to always be improving. But I also keep a personal journal to deal with the thoughts, stress, events, and just keep my mind clear and my life moving in the right direction. πŸ˜‰

      Congrats on reaching your goal!! That has to be an amazing feeling. πŸ™‚

  14. Pam Brown says:

    Thank you, Lynn, for what you wrote here. I have been struggling to get back on track and have enjoyed your e-mails detailing what you are eating and doing. In fact, i love the breakfast of cottage cheese, pecans, and berries (I like to use blueberries and alternate with strawberries). And I add cinnamon because it’s supposed to be good for you! You have been a real inspiration for me, and hopefully I can get back on track with journaling, both food and thoughts. I think that helps more than anything. Exercise also is one of the things that helps me the most if I can get motivated enough to follow through with it. Thanks again for being there and letting us come along on your journey!

    • Lynn Terry says:

      Thank you, Pam. πŸ™‚ When I look back on when I am the happiest, it’s when I’m walking my dane and exercising, and focused on being healthy. That’s always good motivation to get back on track! *cheers*

  15. Sandi Paulk says:

    Lynn, Thank you so much for all your advise you have helped so many of us. In the last 2 years of doing this lifestyle I flipped flopped around to start with because I had excuses for my health issues , oh i can’t lose weight and do this taking all these meds …or this is just to much to do at one time. But I got my butty in gear and looked at the WHOLE picture . Off all the Meds except for 1/2 of a bp pill and as soon as I lose more weight I will be off that also. This girl is turning back I will keep on keeping on because I see where I was and where I am at today. The best advise I ever got was from you . KEEP IT SIMPLE. and thats what I do. Thank you again for all your time and help!!

    • Lynn Terry says:

      Thank you, Sandi – your note really made my day. πŸ™‚ I do love the “keep it simple” concept. That has helped me SO much. It’s way too easy to over-complicate things! Kudos for taking CONTROL of your health!! πŸ™‚ *cheers*

  16. Pingback: If At First You Don’t Succeed… Give Up? Heck No! | Low Carb Diet Tips for Busy People

  17. Jeri Sinicki says:

    Just wanted to let you know that you are a blessing and inspiration to me and so many others. You are my rock. We are only human and many have issues or situations that cause bumps in the road. What ever life throws your way know that we are all here to hold each other up. Thank you for being you!

  18. Connie says:

    Thank you Lynn, I NEEDED this article. Since hubby’s diagnosis I’ve been cheating at least once a day and feel like crap. I am saving this to read and re read daily or more.

    • Lynn Terry says:

      I’m so sorry Connie, I know that’s been really stressful for you. But you’re right – adding more stress, and not feeling your BEST, is not ideal at this time. You need at least ONE thing in your life that you CAN control… and you also need to be at your strongest to get through this better. *hugs*

      ~ Just remember each time you feel tempted… that the food you’re reaching for is not actually helping anything at all, and certainly not making you feel any better in any way. πŸ˜‰

  19. Beautiful post, Lynn! Coming from a strong woman who has been through a lot in life, which is why it resonates with me on such a deep level.

    I won’t go into my life story here, but I have had my own share of troubles and hardship. It’s life. Sometimes in moments of weakness I think: “What am I doing this for? Who cares?”, and then it occurs to me that I am doing it for me, because if I don’t love and take care of myself, who will?

    I want to keep my health as long as I live, and avoid hospitals and medicines at all cost. Although I am not moving as fast with with the low carb lifestyle as I want to and am stumbling a lot, I am still on my way to better health. And slowly but surely I’ll get there. I know this. Thank you for being such an inspiration!

    • Lynn Terry says:

      Thank you, Galina. πŸ™‚ Yes – life can be tough, REALLY tough sometimes, for all of us. Knowing your WHY does make a big difference. I find it really helps me to know why *I* want something, or what keeps ME going (for me), and to get really grounded in that – as a focus for moving forward. πŸ˜‰

  20. I saw this blog post again this morning and it really is just what I need, so thank you for reposting it.

    I feel like since August my life has been spiraling into chaos again, nothing new for me it seems but what is new (since my low carb journey began) and terrible is that I haven’t been staying in control of my health, and my emotions.

    I NEED to get back on taking care of me first even though so much of my life is about taking care of others. I will not allow myself to slide back into that ugly place where I was a few short years ago.

    Thanks Lynn – you always post things just at the perfect time lol.

  21. Deborah says:

    Lynne, I LOVE this! Thanks so much. Changing my relationship with food is a very key element for me at this point. I refuse to settle or compromise my goal of losing the last 20-25 pounds and it doesn’t matter anyway because this isn’t just my current but also my woe for life. Thanks again!

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