An obsession with weight loss is a very destructive pathology. It is often subtle and insidious, weaving its way into a person's daily thoughts and life. It can slowly and surely destroy their confidence, self-image, relationships and health.

If it reaches a severe enough state, it can even lead to death. It is important to understand how to help prevent and cure eating disorders in yourself or your loved ones before they cause irreparable damage.

Ditch the Numbers

Numbers are easy. They can be quickly acquired, tracked, recorded and understood. Weight seems to lend itself naturally to numbers. The problem is that focusing on the numbers is often extremely misleading and practically useless from a health standpoint.

One of the best things you can do, according to a Huffington Post article, is to stop counting. The truth is that body weight is constantly in flux, mostly due to gains or losses of water, and changes of a few pounds may not be as serious as it seems.

The same goes for calories. The idea that only focusing on cutting calories regardless of the types of calories you ingest is an oversimplified approach. What is more important is the quality of the food eaten and the nutrition it gives to the body. Focusing on healthy foods instead of just the amount of food will lead to better health and natural weight loss.

Understand the Signs of an Eating Disorder

Like many psychological conditions, eating disorders, which can include obsessive dieting, anorexia or bulimia, are often only noticeable in the advanced stages when a huge toll has already been exacted on the body and mind.

Researchers at UCLA published an article about the signs of eating disorders. They encourage everyone to look for and understand these signs, such as distorted body image, unusual eating behavior and secrecy, so that a disorder can be caught early on or stopped before it becomes pathological.

Focus on Friendships

Those struggling with eating disorders often tend to be filled with an obsession with comparison. They are constantly comparing themselves to others around them in a distorted and unhealthy way. This can greatly interfere with friendships and possible supportive others.

The best way to combat this is with redirection. Instead of focusing on the superficial, focus on the deeper characteristics of friendship and on being a good friend. Think about how you can help and support your friends and do things together and take your mind off body image and food.

Get Professional Help

Treating any eating disorder often requires some level of professional help and counseling. This can often be done with a simple outpatient program from places like Center for Change that links individuals in need with therapists and dieticians that can set them on the right track and keep them there.

As long as there is motivation and outside support, these programs can be very effective. They give individuals the skills and tools they need to work through their eating disorder and identify and correct whatever underlying issues may have led to it.

Compulsive dieting and other eating disorders must be taken seriously. They are real and destructive mental health conditions that people of any age or gender could suffer from. By understanding both the issue and ways to address it, a person can help themselves or a loved one before the condition reaches a critical state.

Author's Bio: 

Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she's used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.