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

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.

If you need a little motivation for giving up your scale, keep in mind that often minor weight fluctuations aren't as real as the numbers would have you believe. "Quick weight loss is rarely fat loss that stays off but rather a loss that is a mixture of water weight, lean protein mass, and some fat," says Susan Mitchell, PhD, a registered dietitian working with a program to help promote the dietary intake of fruits and vegetables.

Eat Based on Nutritional Value Instead of Calories

"Portion size determines total calorie intake, but if all the calories are from marshmallow peeps, your body will not run like the fine-tuned machine it is designed to be," says Mitchell. "You may lose weight but you may also lose hair, have dry skin, awful nails, and that's just what you see on the outside." Mitchell says you can also lose muscle and bone mass from vitamin and mineral deficiencies, which can lead to osteoporosis.

Stop Playing Survivor at Home

If you're trying to lose weight, especially a significant amount of weight, do it gradually. Remember, slow and steady wins the race. In fact, starvation or rapid weight loss can actually trigger weight obsession, says Beckman. Long-lasting weight loss takes time, so planning to lose weight for a party or wedding or prior to a life change like starting college can also trigger obsession and lead to an eating disorder.

Beckman says if you're starving yourself or not eating enough you're also more likely to trigger binges. Instead, try having smaller meals more frequently or three meals a day, with snacks in between. "The metabolism does better and actually speeds up if you eat regularly," says Beckman. If you're struggling with an eating disorder or obsessive dieting, you should make sure you eat even more regularly to avoid an intense and sudden urge to eat large amounts of food. Try focusing on making smaller, more long-lasting, and less extreme changes. Just make sure that those small changes are in balance with the rest of your life instead of your primary focus.


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