‘Friends’: Did Monica Develop OCD Traits After Losing Weight?

Monica Geller appeared to display obsessive tendencies during the duration of Friends. For 10 years, she was seen consistently cleaning and tidying up her spacious Manhattan apartment. Fans, however, noticed that Monica didn’t seem nearly as obsessive about organization during flashbacks when she was much heavier. A fan theory attempts to link Monica’s weight loss to her OCD traits, and while the theory is a little out there, it’s possible that the two issues were, in fact, related.

Monica before her weight loss and after her weight loss appear to be two different people

Before losing weight, Monica seemed to be a lot more laidback and relaxed. In flashback scenes, Monica is nowhere near as obsessive about keeping her space tidy and didn’t seem to be bothered by basic cleanliness issues. She also didn’t display a desperate need to control the people around her.  

When fans met Monica as a thin adult, she showed clear signs of anxiety and OCD. There are also several examples throughout the series of Monica struggling with compulsive behaviors. Since it’s made pretty clear that Monica dealt with binge eating in her past, some fans theorize that she swapped one compulsive behavior for another. Teenaged Monica was a binge eater, while adult Monica was compulsive about organization and cleanliness.

One fan suggests Monica took medication to lose the weight

One fan theory suggests an experimental drug aided Monica’s rapid weight loss. The fan argues that the unknown weight loss drug could have had a negative impact on Monica’s psyche, leading her to develop OCD as an adult.

The theory is certainly interesting, but Monica never mentioned taking any medication to aid in her weight loss. Instead, it’s strongly implied that Monica simply cut back on her food intake to rid herself of the extra weight. After Chandler Bing called her fat at Thanksgiving, she told Judy Geller that she wasn’t hungry when she’s asked to finish two pies the family didn’t have room for. Monica was seemingly triggered to lose weight naturally, but that doesn’t mean her weight loss wasn’t directly tied to her OCD tendencies later in life. In fact, it’s likely that the two are very much intertwined.

It seems more likely that Monica developed obsessions as a natural result of her weight loss

Monica did lose weight pretty quickly. Based on information from the show, Monica plummeted to her svelte figure in just one year. While the weight loss was rapid, it certainly could be achieved without the help of drugs. It would have, however, likely required a very strict diet and a fair bit of exercise. It is possible that Monica’s OCD tendencies were connected to her weight loss but in a much more organic way.

According to the International OCD Foundation, there is a strong connection between OCD and eating disorders. Research has found that people receiving treatment for eating disorders are more likely to exhibit OCD traits. The reverse is true, too, and it all comes down to anxiety. The thought of things not being perfectly tidy seemed to cause a great deal of anxiety for Monica, and her ritualistic compulsions were shown to help her feel in control. The theory that Monica swapped one compulsive behavior for another may hold water.