It is being constantly claimed, upheld and emphasized that being overweight or, even worse, obese, possesses many and severe health hazards. Overweight and obese people are being repeatedly urged to lose weight. That not losing excess weight is harmful for health seems certain.
However, there seems to be one more factor, which, admittedly, comes from my experience in the form of the observation of people surrounding me. Namely, I'd put a hypothesis that working to lose weight causes considerable strain on the psyche. I know a person who had been calm and happy… before she started dieting frantically to lose weight. She managed to lose most of her excess weight and works very hard to keep it that way, nonetheless seeing her as nervous and tired and humorless as she is now and comparing to how I remember her before makes me question if her efforts are worth it. Another example comes from a newspaper article (which, again, I can't now find to link it) about a talk-show host. The article snidely remarked that with her excess weight the host lost all of her funniness she had been esteemed for. Finally: I also read a newspaper article (which I, again, can't find now...) that seemed to confirm my anecdotal and intuitive observations: namely, it claimed that both hunger itself and conscious attempts to suppress hunger and restraining the urge to eat cause considerable stress and lower one's mood.
Still, in cases when both weight and stress are discussed together, it seems that it is usually in the context of excess weight causing stress because overweight people tend to have low self-esteem and they tend to be ostracized by their peers. I would, however, ask about this relationship from a different angle:
- Can working to lose weight, as opposed to neglecting this, cause considerable stress?
- Since chronic stress is also widely recognized to be a health hazard, can the costs of being more stressed outweigh the costs of not losing weight? Assume absence of other egregious lifestyle-related risks – that is, our overweight person does not smoke, has some moderate physical activity, is not being bullied for being overweight, does not mostly eat junk food, etc etc.