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Weight loss can be addictive, and after experiencing the pleasure of losing a few pounds, you can crave the thrill of seeing a few more disappear off your weighing scales. You look thinner, fit into clothes better, and feel more in control of your life -- even if the only change in the past couple of months is your body weight.

You get so high from other people's compliments, that you don't notice that you are in danger of going from gorgeous to gaunt, because all you want to do is keep the weight coming off, and to keep being the thinnest that you can.

You sashay around thinking you look seriously sexy, yet all people are thinking is that you look scarily skinny. You totally miss the tell-tale signs that you are in danger of looking underweight, as outlined below by Dublin-based nutritionist Aveen Bannon.

The pressure of being in the public eye might explain why some of our favourite stars go from sexy to skinny seemingly overnight. It's possible that they haven't even noticed that they are beginning to look bony and underweight.

Recent photos of Katie Holmes and Sarah Jessica Parker have raised the question if whether, for some reason or another, they are now too skinny.

Working long hours in the entertainment industry can contribute to a celebrity looking scrawny. It may explain Scarlett Johansson's new narrow frame, where once there were curves.

Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, is a woman who has divided observers over whether or not she has lost too much weight.

Actress Kate Bosworth is another star who is looking questionably skinny, while at the same time, Jennifer Lopez continues to look sexy and also healthy.

Checking out celebrities is one thing, yet what if you suspect that you yourself are looking too skinny? What if you are worried that your diet is now in control of you, rather than the other way around?

"An easy way to find out if you are underweight is to check out your body mass index (BMI) by following calculation guidelines which are available online," says Aveen.

"It's so easy to do. Your BMI should be somewhere between 20 and 25, and the cut-off is usually 18.5. Anything under this is considered underweight," she says.

"Often a woman who is consuming too little food will have a psychological breakdown before a physical one. Ask yourself if you are feeling headachey, or if you are very tired and crabby, or not as energetic as you used to be," she suggests.

"A sign that you have become obsessive about weight loss is if you are counting calories all the time. If you are picking things up off supermarket shelves, and instead of thinking that you might enjoy them, are going straight to the back to see how many calories are in the products, for example."

Aveen goes on: "Also, you have become obsessive about how much you weigh if an invite out to dinner makes you panicky. If the thought of eating in someone else's house worries you because you won't be able to control what you eat, you have a problem.

"Physical signs to look out for are more obvious than the psychological ones. For example, sometimes you see a woman's spine jutting out when she bends over. This shouldn't happen," Aveen says.

"You should not be able to see your ribs either. A thing with teens these days is that they don't want the tops of their thighs touching. A perfect leg is supposed to touch in four places; thighs, knees, calves and ankles," she says.

Aveen, a consultant nutritionist with the Dublin Nutrition Centre, adds: "Skin needs to be nurtured, and the wrong diet results in skin not looking its best, and having more lines or looking gaunt. You won't look your best because of your lack of energy and the mood swings caused by a poor diet."

So what should you do if you think you've taken a diet too far?

Aveen advises: "Okay, you have worked hard to lose weight, and while you accept you've gone too far, you don't want to return to your original weight -- provided of course you were overweight to begin with.

"A healthy weight can be achieved by not reintroducing unhealthy foods back into your daily diet, such as cake and junk food and crisps and sweets. You might want to build up your strength and health by having an extra potato or some extra pasta. Take a look at the fruit and vegetables you are eating, and make sure you haven't sacrificed them from your diet in a bid to eat as few calories as possible.

"Eating a healthy diet will improve your health, weight, and also improve your appearance."


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