Being underweight increases anxiety and OCD

Emotionally when I was anorexic, I noticed myself becoming way more anxious and stressed out. I was constantly thinking about food,worrying about intake. I didn’t really measure my food, I just weirdly enjoyed the feeling of being empty inside and doing physical activity to the point of faintness. It made my head feel clearer.

I have high conscientiousness to the point of being OCD-like. When I was 17 this manifested in getting really particular about my food, and when I lost a ton of weight again at 20, I became even more obsessed with controlling all aspects of my food and exercise. I started weighing and measuring food down to the gram, which I now think is super harmful and I still get very concerned when I see conscientious people tracking food.

It’s significant to note that at this time I also started developing what I still have, which is chronic pain in my eyes due a condition known as “accommodative spasm.” It was really severe pain and I found that restricting food and feeling empty somehow forced me to focus more. I wanted to try anything, including cutting out carbs, to try to feel better.


When I had anorexia my thoughts were SO focused on food and exercise that I really crowded out my ability to learn things.

I was always SO anxious and irritable that I made people around me upset, and I upset myself so easily

That was my anorexic brain being on high alert always, and of course my hunger made me extra snappy at people. "Hangry."

Client: "I'm always anxious. A million things on my brain like when will I get my next walk, how many steps I have to do."

Me: This is your hyper-conscientious brain working against you. That can be a good quality, but only when applied to more productive things than this. This exercise compulsion (which is natural in underweight people since it’s the evolutionary instinct) is destructive, because we today are not in a famine.


Regaining weight made my anxiety and OCD go down significantly. I also learned tricks to use my OCD-like tendencies to my advantage. I have articles about both subjects on this website,