But there are also times when trying to lose weight can be unhealthy and even harmful to you — both emotionally, and physically.
1. You're hungry AF all the time.
2. You think you will only be happy once you hit your weight loss goal.
3. You decide to stuff yourself one more time, promising to start back up on your diet tomorrow. (Over and over.)
4. You have a lot rules about food.
5. You're binge eating or constantly fighting the urge to binge.
6. You're irritiable and moody.
7. You stopped getting your period.
8. You're not really that hungry at all and your appetite seems to have gone on vacation.
So, you had a light breakfast and a small lunch and had a pretty intense workout this morning. Now it's almost dinner time and you realize that even though you haven't eaten in hours you're not even a little hungry. If you've restricted calories for long enough that you've gotten used to ignoring hunger cues, chances are your body will stop sending them, says Flores.
9. You're depressed and/or anxious.
10. You think of dieting and/or exercise as punishments.
11. You're really tired always.
Being exhausted all the time is a sign that you're not eating enough and your body wants more energy than you're giving it. "That's a clear sign your body is telling you 'I need a break,'" Flores says.
12. You don't really enjoy eating.
13. You're planning your life around your diet.
14. Your self-esteem ebbs and flows according to what the scale says.
15. You're just fucking sick of dieting.
BTW if you decide it might be time to rethink your relationship to weight loss, body image, or food, there are tons of resources that can help, starting with what Pritchard recommends here.
• Retrain your mind to love your body right now.
Pritchard recommends the book Madly in Love with ME: The Daring Adventure of Becoming Your Own Best Friend. She also tells her own patients to follow Operation Beautiful's example and start a "personal love campaign." Write sticky notes with inspirational messages and put them everywhere. Pritchard says that if you can't look in the mirror without thinking something terrible about your weight, cover your mirror in inspirational stickies.
• Learn about the relationship between body image, standards of beauty, and self-esteem.
Pritchard explains that for many people the motivation to lose weight comes from trying to attain the standards of beauty we see in media. She recommends educating yourself on how advertising and media impacts our self-esteem with the documentaries Killing Us Softly by Jean Kilbourne and America The Beautiful.
• Seek counseling.
There are therapists trained to help people deal with body image issues, disordered relationships with food, and self-esteem problems. You can find them by searching Psychology Today.