Obesophobia, also known as pocrescophobia, is an irrational fear of gaining weight. Men as well as women can suffer from it. However, adolescent females are the most likely to have it.
Obesophobia: the fear of weight gain, is a form of anxiety disorder, just like all other phobias.
An extreme and unreasonable fear of a particular thing, place, or circumstance characterizes phobias.

When you’re diagnosed with Obesophobia, you have heightened anxiety when discussing or thinking about weight gain. Additionally, you could feel crippling dread in environments connected to weight gain, such as when you’re next to a scale.

You might take extraordinary measures to prevent gaining weight when you’re terrified of it. It makes eating disorders more likely to occur or indicates that you may already have one.

Obesophobia: The Fear of Weight Gain, How Does It Start?

It is unclear what causes the phobia of obesity. Several causes, such as the following, are probably to blame:

 Obesophobia causes

Obesophobia causes

Body Shaming

Body shaming is the practice of condemning someone based solely on their weight. It plays a crucial part in modern Western culture, which typically places a high value on thinness.

Some people may also face weight stigma due to other contextual factors like parental expectations or peer pressure.

Considering the stigma attached to being overweight or obese, people frequently experience discrimination. As a result, it could cause some people to develop a dread of gaining weight.


In a society where being thin is idealized, gaining weight is seen as a weakness. Obesophobia may result from this, especially in people with a high need for perfection.

Perfectionism is just like body shaming, whether it’s initiated by family or friends. Another possibility is that certain people have a genetic propensity toward perfectionism.

Anxiety Disorders

Other anxiety disorders may also increase Obesophobia.

Obesophobia, for instance, may be caused by a social anxiety disorder characterized by a fear of being rejected by others. Because of how society views gaining weight, you could be afraid of doing so.

Personal Encounters

Your personal experiences may have caused your phobia of obesity. You can relate weight gain negatively with being judged if you’ve previously experienced bullying because of your weight or appearance. It might make you anxious about putting on weight.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms that Indicate Obesophobia?

Obesophobia is characterized by unpleasant feelings when contemplating or discussing weight gain. They may consist of the following:

– A deep, intense fear

– Anxiety

– Stress

– Panic disorders

– High blood pressure

– Dizziness

You may experience these emotions when you gain weight or are in circumstances you associate with gaining weight, such as social gatherings that involve eating.

You might act in the following ways to prevent gaining weight as a result of obesity phobia:

– Fasting

– Calorie counting incessantly

– Exercising excessively

– Dieting consistently

woman having stress about weight gain

woman having stress about weight gain

Obesophobia: The Fear of Weight Gain, Risks and Complications:

Obesityphobia’s main drawback is an unhealthy relationship with food and one’s body image. It raises the possibility of developing an eating disorder, a severe condition indicated by risky eating habits.

Obesophobia is a factor in several eating disorders. These consist of the following:

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexics fear gaining weight more than anything else. Even if they are exceptionally underweight, they might believe they are overweight.

Common signs of Obesophobia also include:

– Extreme thinness

– Distorted body image

– Obsessive concern with appearance

– Severe dieting

– Excessive exercise

– Misuse of diuretics or laxatives

– Being compelled to vomit or even bulimia

However, anorexia nervosa is more complex than just having an issue with eating or weight gain. Extreme diets and weight loss are strategies for people with this illness to address underlying emotional problems.

Anorexia nervosa can cause severe problems like muscle weakening and multi-organ failure because of extreme calorie restriction.

Bulimia Nervosa

The recurrent binging and purging characterize bulimia nervosa. In a binge, one consumes a large quantity of food quickly and frequently without restraint. When you purge, you engage in one or more harmful activities, such as:

– Forceful vomiting

– Overly active exercise

– Diuretics or laxatives misusage

– Fasting

These actions have an obesophobia connection. Other signs of bulimia include:

– Severe criticism of one’s size and appearance

– Extreme mood swings

– Storing food to binge on

– Food-related anxiety

– Avoiding social situations involving food

Bulimia can affect overweight or underweight individuals.

Purging Disorder

Purging disorder, which involves purging without binging, may result from obesity phobia. The frequent instances of purging could include:

– Being compelled to vomit

– Overly active exercise

– Employing diuretics or laxatives

– Fasting

People with a purging disorder frequently take these actions to regulate body weight and shape.

When to Consult a Doctor?

Speak with a doctor if your daily life is being affected by Obesophobia or if you experience any of the following signs:

– Anxiety attacks when considering gaining weight

– Weight loss obsession

– Dieting frequently

– Avoiding eating while socializing in public

– Poor perception of one’s body

Likewise, if any of the following apply to you:

– Limits on what you can eat

– Tracking calories erratically

– Excessive exercise

– Purposeful vomiting.

These signs might point to the development of an eating disorder from Obesophobia.


Authored by Afifa Maryam Siddiqui

Edited by Yara Fakhoury

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