Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is it dangerous to dip below my normal weight?"
Sometimes I get stressed and don't eat as much as I should and I lose weight. It's only for a week or so at a time. How dangerous is this?
Maintaining a healthy body weight is an important part of ensuring long-term health and well-being. You should discuss any concerns you have about your weight and eating patterns with your primary care doctor. He or she can talk with you about your overall health and could even refer you to a dietician or nutritionist if this would be helpful. It is very natural for you to eat less when you get stressed. Many people find that stress causes them to change their eating habits: some people eat more while others such as yourself eat less. If you eat less food than usual for long enough, you will lose weight. The health risks of weight fluctuations depend on what your 'normal' body weight is; how much weight you are losing; and whether or not you are gaining it back. The best way to identify a healthy weight range for yourself is to calculate your BMI (there are online calculators that can do this for you). A healthy BMI - i.e. a healthy weight range for your height--is between 19 and 25. As you can see, this means there is wide range of weights that could be okay for you, given your height. However, if you are routinely losing weight because of disordered eating, you should talk about this with your primary care physician to try and develop more optimal coping strategies to prevent problems in the future.
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