Fearing weight gain is tricky, it can interfere with pursuing food freedom and completely letting go of food rules. I feel you, I felt the same way 5 years ago. So, with this post, I’m telling you in 3 steps how you can stop fearing weight gain and confidently start working towards a life free of fad diets and body insecurity.
STEP #1: Ask yourself why you fear weight gain
In order to truly overcome the fear of weight gain, you have to understand why you fear it.
Typically, we tie our weight to something. We may feel that our weight determines our: worthiness, happiness, success, attractiveness etc? Identify your why and then, you need to check the accuracy of this thought. For example, if you found that you tie your fear to your happiness, is it true if you gain weight that you will be less happy? ‘’No. I was not happy when I had a smaller body (my body has never felt good ‘enough’) and my friend who lives in a bigger body is confident. Conclusion: Happiness comes in all shapes and sizes & is ALL about mindset!’’
STEP #2: Identify what the root cause is of this connection
Get to the bottom of your fear. Identify where this connection comes from so you can separate these two things. A common theme with my clients is: diet culture messaging. Fear of weight gain is not only reserved for people with restrictive eating disorders. Lots of people have it because we live in a culture that is biased towards thinness. We’ve been told that being thin will lead to love, success and acceptance.
STEP #3: Re-wire your brain
If you want to overcome the fear of weight gain, you have to rewire that fear response that has formed and consolidated over the years and teach your brain that it is no longer required. Only then can the uncomfortable emotions (like guilt, shame, regret and disgust) that arise as a reaction to fear of weight gain be replaced by joy, pleasure and enjoyment.
Trying to overcome this fear without neural rewiring is like trying to rid your garden of weeds by cutting them rather than pulling them out at the root – it’s a load of effort and the end result is still weeds!
Here’s an example. Say you think your fitness level is determined by keeping a lower weight. You can use the affirmation ‘Fitness is not determined by my weight, there are athletes with bigger bodies who are extremely fit.’ Or ‘My weight does not determine my fitness level, my thoughts do.’
Once you have established your affirmation, repetition is key. In the beginning, it may feel a bit weird and that makes sense because it’s a new concept for your brain and it needs to get used to it.
And very importantly, you can’t just convince your brain not to be afraid of something by only asking or telling it. You have to show it, over and over again. Talk is cheap and words don’t prove sh*t as far as your brain is concerned. The proof is in the doing. This means that you stop avoiding certain behaviours that reinforce the belief that weight gain is negative (restricting, avoiding certain foods that are high in fats or carbs and compensating etc). Every single time you push through your fear, you will give your brain a new data point that it can use to form a new pattern of thinking.
Those 3 steps combined are what helped me learn how to TRULY stop fearing weight gain. I’m not going to lie, but this stuff is TOUGH. You have to undo years of messaging around your body which is why I offer personalised 1:1 coaching. My coaching tailored framework has been proven to help people, just like you, in order to stop feeling scared of weight gain and finally start improving your relationship with food and live life without food rules. Learn more about my service here and book a FREE 20-min call today.
You got this!