Losing weight is a good goal if you're overweight or obese, but it should be done safely and under the supervision of your doctor. When done right, weight loss is a fairly slow process that requires dietary and lifestyle changes, and it's possible to get obsessed with making these changes. If you notice yourself experiencing obsessive behaviors, make an appointment with your doctor right away. Obsessive weight loss can lead to serious health problems.
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One of the classic physical signs of obsessive weight loss is rapid weight loss or extreme weight loss that causes a person to become severely underweight. According to the CRC Health Group website, a person who worries obsessively about how many calories she's eating might also be obsessed with losing weight. Other signs associated with eating include avoiding social situations, such as dinner with friends, where food will be present or an obsessive preoccupation with physical appearance and weight. Constant dieting is another sign that a person might be obsessive about weight loss, as is taking diet pills or laxatives.
Eating disorders can occur as part of obsessive weight loss. Anorexia is perhaps one of the most well-known eating disorders and causes a person to strictly limit how much food she eats so she is barely eating enough to survive. The National Institute of Mental Health also notes that anorexia causes an irrational fear of gaining weight. Bulimia is often harder to recognize because many people with the eating disorder eat normal amounts of food, but then throw it up shortly after. One sign of bulimia is a person going to the restroom immediately after eating a meal.
Getting plenty of exercise is essential for good health, but it's possible to take it too far and become obsessive about working out to shed a lot of weight very quickly. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, individuals with a distorted body image might turn to obsessive exercise in an effort to meet societal ideals of beauty. Obsessive exercisers show certain signs such as the fear of missing a workout, exercise habits that interfere with normal daily activities, working out despite an injury or illness, and setting goals that are extremely difficult to achieve and then feeling bad.
Additional Signs and Suggestions
If you or someone you know seems obsessed with losing weight, seek medical attention right away. Many of the behaviors associated with obsessive weight loss, such as an eating disorder, can lead to serious health complications. For example, anorexia can cause the thinning of bones, low blood pressure, heart and brain damage and infertility, notes the National Institute of Mental Health. Bulimia can cause electrolyte imbalance and dangerous dehydration. Your doctor can refer you to a mental health counselor or dietitian who can work with you to overcome the underlying cause of your obsessiveness and help you safely reach your goal weight or improve your self-image.