Are you obsessed with weight loss? Do you always have weight loss on the brain? Chances are that if you’re currently dieting or engaging in efforts to drop excess pounds, you likely think about your weight and your fat loss goals frequently.
While this is only natural, there is a difference between being dedicated to reaching your goal and being obsessed with weight loss. Sometimes, it can be difficult to know the difference between the two, especially if you’re committed to managing your weight for the long-term.
That being said, obsession isn’t healthy and it is important to be able to spot the signs to make sure you avoid following a path that could result in more harm than good.
Five Signs That You’re Thinking About Your Body and Dieting Too Much
- You weigh yourself several times a day – It’s normal to step on the scale once a day but if you’re weighing yourself after every meal or you’re adjusting how you stand on the scale to change the numbers, this is a compulsive behavior that will only grow if left unchecked. More importantly, it can strain you emotionally. In fact, a study from the University of Minnesota found that self-weighing behaviors is linked to poorer psychological well-being in young adults.
- You believe that losing weight will make you happy – Losing weight isn’t going to solve the vast majority of your problems. It’s not going to help improve your relationships, land you a job or even improve your self-worth. Thinking unrealistically about what you believe losing weight will do for you can set you up for failures in other areas of your life, preventing you from achieving the happiness you crave.
- You’re always counting every calorie – Tracking calories and keeping a food journal are both effective methods for losing weight by making sure you don’t blow your calorie limit and engage in mindless eating. However, there’s more too food than calories. Instead of focusing on only the calorie content of what you put into your body, pay attention to the nutritional value and enjoyment factor as well. It’s important to regulate your eating habits if you want to lose weight. However, experts warn that there is a fine line between being obsessed with weight loss and continually fretting over calories, and the thoughts, feelings and behaviors associated with eating disorders.
- You’re frequently skipping social functions involving food – Your friends ask you if you want to go out, but before you can say “yes,” you need to know exactly where you’re going. If it’s a restaurant, you want to know what they serve to make sure the restaurant offers something on the menu that you consider to be healthy. If there isn’t anything you deem healthy and you make up an excuse of why you can’t go, this could be a problem. Frequently withdrawing from social gatherings that involve food is a sign that your weight loss endeavors may have gone too far.
- You’re exercising too much – Exercising is very important to health and can definitely help speed up your weight loss efforts as well as tone your body. That being said, unless you’re a fitness trainer, professional athlete, bodybuilder or have a job that requires you to maintain a certain image, if you’re exercising several times a day, every day, this could mean that you have an unhealthy image of your body. Exercising is important but it shouldn’t take priority over social events or other responsibilities. If you’re spending more time exercising than anything else, it’s probably time to take it easy.
How to Stop Being Obsessed with Weight Loss
If any of the above signs are something you’ve experienced and you’re worried that you might have a weight loss obsession, don’t panic! The good news is that you can change your mindset and adopt a healthier perspective about your weight and your weight management goals.
The following are a few tips to keep in mind that you may be able to use to your advantage:
- Stop focusing on weight loss and focus on the actions you will take to get there – For instance, instead of telling yourself that you’ll lose X number of pounds in a week, decide how many times you will exercise in a week.
- Make your weight loss goals meaningful – You may want a flatter stomach, slimmer thighs and a trim butt. However, you need to ask yourself how much do these achievements actually mean to you and how you live and enjoy your life? Unless you’re a supermodel or a celebrity, chances are you don’t need to have these things to be good at what you do or to be truly happy or satisfied in life. Therefore, take the focus off shedding fat from your body and think about how eating better and exercising more can improve your life (e.g. having more energy, getting a better quality sleep every night, being more alert, keeping your body strong, reducing anxiety and stress, being a good role model for your family, etc.).
- Focus on creating functional goals – Change the way you look at your diet and exercise. Instead of thinking about how staying committed to a healthy diet and regular exercise will benefit you in the long run, think about the impact they are having on your life right now. For instance, after you finish a healthy snack or meal, focus on how you feel immediately after you eat it, such as the new energy you have or being in a better mood. Likewise, after you exercise, immediate benefits you might experience (depending on the exercise you do) could be relaxation, reduced stress, improved creativity, greater energy, decreased blood pressure, and so on.
Remember, at the end of one day, there is no change in the scale from consuming healthy meals or engaging in a workout. When your weight loss goals have more to do with what your doing and how these actions make you feel immediately afterword, you’re more likely to experience the type of success that can boost the confidence you need to continue your efforts.