In today’s world, we’re constantly faced with images of the “ideal” body on magazines, often without considering the health implications of achieving a lower weight.
The reality is that not everyone is the same body type. So losing a bunch of pounds to improve your self-image may be counterproductive. Instead, health experts tell us to focus more on feeling good and increasing energy rather than stringently controlling weight. Here are seven signs you’re weight obsessed…
1. Multiple Daily Weigh-Ins
Health.com notes that if you’re stepping on the scales more than once per day, you may be putting too much weight on your weight. The truth is your body weight will naturally fluctuate throughout the day and around mealtimes, so multiple weigh-ins will not provide an overall picture.
Health.com also notes that weighing yourself weekly is enough. When you start getting on the scale every couple of hours, or try to find ways to trick the scale into reading lower, you may develop low esteem issues. If you must weigh-in daily, do it before breakfast after using the bathroom.
2. Counting Calories
Diet Doctor goes as far as to call this behavior an “eating disorder”, which we usually associate with more serious problems such as bulimia (purging following eating). Calories count, but remember not all calories are the same (there are “empty” calories vs. good calories).
The online source stresses that being overweight for your body type is not the product of failing to count calories. It could be a disorder affecting your body’s natural regulatory systems. For instance, too much insulin in your body caused by eating too many sugary foods.
3. You Believe Weight = Quality of Life
As Health.com also points out, you may be under the false impression that hitting a target weight will magically make your relationships and career fall into place. However, this kind of thinking is especially misleading..
Why? If you think that weight will fix all your problems, then you won’t put the time into working on other areas of your life that actually need the attention, explains Health.com. Chances are, nobody’s going to show up at your door and offer you a dream job because you lost 10-pounds.
4. You’re Skipping Meals
You may think you’re beating the system by avoiding calories altogether, but Women’s Health magazine has a warning about the effect on your body from skipping meals.
Avoiding food will cause your blood sugar levels to drop, which will impact all of your organ functions as they rely on sugar for energy, notes the source. Also (and this is a biggie) your body detects a lack of calories coming in and shifts into “starvation mode”, which slows down how you metabolize food when you do decide to eat.
5. Exercise is Taking Over your Life
While getting regular exercise is a very healthy routine to get into, it can actually go too far, notes Livestrong. Just like counting calories and skipping meals, one can become obsessed with burning off calories in the form of high-impact workouts.
Livestrong says you may be exercise-obsessed if you start pushing your workout times much longer (beyond the 30 minutes a day to be healthy), which can also increase your chances of getting injured. Breaking social plans to hit the gym is another red flag.
6. You Think Building Mass is Important
This one is aimed mostly at the men out there, and it’s about the drive to build mass to meet an ideal male stereotype. The Guardian online featured a survey conducted by the YMCA and UWE Bristol, which stated men are actually more obsessed with how they look than women.
The survey found that 18-percent of male respondents reported being on a high-protein diet to increase muscle mass. This doesn’t include men who are using steroids and growth hormones (both of which can be harmful) to reach their ideal size and shape to be more appealing (in their minds, at least).
7. You Compare Yourself to Others
As Oprah.com explains, “life isn’t a beauty contest” although many treat it like one. That means you’re checking out everyone in your path (in a non-lusty manner) to see how his or her body differs from your own.
In particular, you may be looking at younger or thinner women and putting yourself down for not being the same, notes the website. You can be healthy and confident without looking like a typical model. Start looking outwards for beauty inspiration rather than always staring at yourself and picking out flaws.