Feature Archive

8 Ways to Stop Obsessing About Weight Loss

Throw your scale away and learn how to lose weight and get in shape without driving yourself crazy.

By Sarah Albert
WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario

As another year comes to a close, lots of promises to get in shape and lose weight remain unfulfilled. Let's face it, most of us have the same resolution over and over again, like vowing to give up junk food and start exercising on New Year's Day only to find ourselves on the sofa enjoying a bag of chips within a few days. While lots of folks will abandon their efforts in just a few days or weeks on the treadmill, others may find themselves obsessed with finally trimming the fat for good.

But how do you know when you've taken things too far? Is ordering your dressing on the side or having a daily weigh-in a sign of obsession, or are these just examples of some of the small ways you can help achieve your weight loss goals? We asked two experts to weigh in on some of the warning signs that you've taken your fitness or diet routine too far, and they offered tips for preventing obsessive thoughts and behavior.

Remember the Weight of Water

You might want to try scaling back when it comes to weighing yourself. In fact, you might want to skip the scale all together, says Olivia H. Beckman, MD, who is the medical director of the eating disorders program at Walden Behavioral Care. The only reason to have a scale, she says, is to monitor your weight for medical reasons. Otherwise you can leave it to your health care provider to monitor your weight even if you're trying to lose a significant amount. After all, it's natural for our weight to fluctuate by a few pounds on a monthly, even daily basis, especially for women. Beckman says if you find yourself basing your daily fitness and diet on what the scale says in the morning, you're likely to make unhealthy and unnecessary decisions, namely skipping meals or working out excessively. The solution to scale obsession might be as simple as throwing it away, and instead using how your clothing fits -- and how you look and feel physically -- as a weight barometer or guide.

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