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LeAnn Rimes on weight loss: Eating, workouts may be hiding dangerous disorder

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LeAnn Rimes has spent the last year defending her weight, but newly published photos of Rimes have critics arguing her body is more scary skinny than healthy. The country music star is being criticized for protruding bones and a skeletal frame, leaving onlookers shocked to discover LeAnn has traded curves for a visible rib cage and emaciated body.

REFERENCE TO "CURVIER" FRAME PUTS RIMES ON DEFENSE

Rimes is quick to address rumors surrounding possible eating disorders and insists she's not battling anorexia or bulimia. Instead, Rimes uses Twitter and the press for PR, claiming fast food chains McDonald's and Chick-fil-A are top spots. When E! Host Guilana Rancic said she preferred a "curvier" LeAnn Rimes, the defensive 29-year-old lashed out.

LEANN USES FOOD TO DISTRACT FROM BONY BODY

"@GiulianaRancic hey, we should go to dinner sometime," Rimes tweeted. "You get criticized all the time for how small you are. You can see just HOW much I eat and maybe put a stop to this crazy 'shrinking' once and for all.....oh, & then we should workout together!"

FITNESS TRAINER UNAWARE OF OVER-EXERCISING AT HOME

Rimes' fitness trainer, Tier III Equinox PT Michael Jackson, has barked back on more than one occasion, most recently last month. Despite what seems to look like Rimes wasting away, Jackson says his client is fine.

"She's very consistent and efficient on a daily basis...following a workout schedule of strength and conditioning, cardio and boxing 3-4 times per week."

LEANN RIMES WANTS TRACY ANDERSON'S BALLERINA BODY

What Jackson didn't say anything about is what Rimes does when she's not on his clock. While he alluded to a "very strict" show and appearance schedule, nothing from Jackson mentioned the hours Rimes claims she invests into running or working out at home with Pilates or via The Tracy Anderson Method, a controversial celeb trainer with a client list full of fellow celebs falling under fire for looking terribly thin.

OCD DIET, EXERCISE METLS AWAY 30 POUNDS

At 5-foot-5, LeAnn appears to weigh in at less than 100 pounds, making for a dramatic drop from 130 pounds before attributing her weight loss to a special diet and exercise regimen. Upping the intensity and defending her weight with workouts has put LeAnn on a downward media spiral since first flaunting her new body in red, string-bikini on the cover of Shape magazine (October 2010).

DEFENDING WEIGHT LOSS VIA EXERCISE SIGNALS SERIOUS PROBLEM

"People are calling me bulimic or anorexic," Rimes told People just months ago after beach photos surfaced . "And these are real, serious issues and diseases – that I don't have. For someone...who works hard for my body, it’s very frustrating."

WHY LEANN RIMES' DISORDER MAY BE ANOREXIA ATHLETICA

"I workout and take care of myself," has become her go-to defense in the weight debate, but her argument may very well be a source of her problem. Working out is positive for the body, but too much of a good thing is dangerous. It's called Anorexia Athletica, also known as Compulsive Exercise Disorder.

“It can become addictive and dangerous,” Every Day Health quotes expert Maria Rago, PhD as saying. "Some people use exercise as a way of purging their bodies after they have binged."

COMPULSIVE EXERCISE DISORDER AND COPING WITH PAIN

The behavior is often reinforced, says Rago, when the person feels they need to "work through pain," something that may have propelled Rimes into over-exercising shortly after her very public affair with now-husband Eddie Cibrian.

HOW ANOREXIA ATHLETICA GOES DANGEROUSLY UNDETECTED

“[They] tend to be trained to keep going,” she adds, suggesting that reinforcement and assurance from a fitness trainer may prompt them to over-exercise, inadvertently defending their own position as well. Like any eating disorder or addiction, the first step to bouncing back is recognizing there's a problem and Rago's laundry list of symptoms may be a more reasonable explanation for LeAnn Rimes' scary weight loss.

DOC: COMPULSIVE EXERCISE IS STILL AN ADDICTIVE DISORDER

While she's solicited the support and defense of Hollywood's top personal trainers, experts say that treating a compulsive exercise disorder in a celebrity is done the same way for everyone else - step by step.

"People who are compulsive exercisers need to seek professional help the same way," Rago says. "You need to be treated just like anyone with an obsessive compulsive disorder."

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