Weightloss: 8 Ways to Stop Obsessing About Weight (cont.)

Another reason not to ban food groups altogether, like carbohydrates, is the very real health benefits a balanced diet offers. If you are obsessing over your carbohydrate intake, for example, you might be missing important nutrients that only fruits and vegetables can provide. The added bonus? "Because they are high in fiber and water and low in calories, you can eat a lot more of them and still lose weight," says Mitchell. You'll also feel more satisfied and full after a large salad or bowl of veggies, helping to keep you away from that bag of chips or chocolates hiding not so subtly in your cupboard.

Get a Hobby

The most obvious sign that you or someone you love is obsessed with weight loss is if all you do is talk about it, despite the bored and appalled faces of your friends, family, and co-workers. An obsession isn't a passing thought that you have now and then, Beckman tells WebMD. "It really is an all-day thing." Any obsession can interrupt your life and take you away from more important things that should take precedent. "If your body is your main project, that's obsessive," Beckman says. Try channeling your energy and time into other things that are also as important and fulfilling.

Stop Watching What Other People Eat

It's natural to notice what other people eat, especially your children. But there is a big difference between noticing what someone else eats and dwelling on it, says Beckman. You also want to avoid basing your own dietary decisions on what someone else eats. "It's not about noticing what other people eat; it's about whether or not it is troubling to you."

Don't Take Fitness Too Far

You can have too much of a good thing, even something as healthy as exercise. Beckman says if you hit the gym a few times a week for 30 minutes to an hour or so, you're right on track. But if you find yourself working out two hours a day at the gym, and jogging at night because you need to burn off a dessert you didn't have preapproved in your food diary, you might be in trouble. "If you're exercising because you're worried about cardiovascular risk in your family, that's a rational, healthy decision," says Beckman. Exercising based on your food intake is not healthy. "Working out to burn off a meal is obsessive."

Recognize When You Need Help

Don't try to manage your weight alone if you think you've developed an eating disorder or are struggling with obsessive thinking and behavior. Beckman recommends that you enlist the help of a therapist, doctor, and nutritionist. Luckily there is a broad spectrum of treatment available, both inpatient and outpatient programs, depending on the severity of your condition. If you think you're on your way to developing an eating disorder or are already in the grips of one, don't put off getting help. And if you're just trying to get rid of some extra weight, take these tips to heart. Try keeping your fitness and eating plan healthy and balanced in the New Year. You might even ditch fad diets or weight loss schemes for good. Now that's a resolution worth keeping.

Published Jan. 3, 2005.

SOURCES: Olivia H. Beckman, MD, medical director, Walden Behavioral Care, Waltham, Mass. Susan Mitchell, PhD, RD, FADA, consultant to the 5 A Day the Color Way program, Orlando, Fla.

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Last Editorial Review: 1/31/2005 9:13:56 AM