Do you have a fear of gaining weight while intuitively eating? If so, this article is for you.
A big fear we hear in our food freedom practice from potential and existing clients is the fear of weight gain on their intuitive eating journey.
Many people fear the idea of body changes, and this can often be something that deters people from intuitive eating. Intuitive eating takes weight out of the equation to focus more on your relationship with food and body.
Keep reading to learn more about intuitive eating and weight gain and how to release these preconceived perceptions to cultivate a better relationship with food and your body.
If you haven’t already, make sure to check out our article on how body image can affect a person’s health next. It is a must-read if you’re looking to improve your body image!
Will You Gain Weight While Intuitively Eating?
In our practice, and all practices that offer legitimate intuitive eating counseling, we have no idea what your body is going to do when getting to a place of comfort and peace with food.
Additionally, we do not know if you will experience weight loss, weight gain, or any change at all.
Weight science is extremely complex, and no provider can promise a specific, long-term outcome. (And side note: if they do, it’s a red flag!).
However, the fear of gaining weight is valid. In a society that places so much emphasis on physical appearance and where weight gain is largely frowned upon, it is only natural to have this concern.
Chronic Dieting and the Fear of Gaining Weight
If you are coming from a place of chronic dieting and/or disordered eating, it can also be intimidating to release control over your weight when you have spent so much time and energy trying to manipulate it.
It is okay to make space for all the emotions that may come up on this journey, and it is good for us to experience and process those feelings. It is also good for us to get curious about ourselves when it comes to our fears.
Do you have a fear of gaining weight? Take a moment to think about the following questions:
- If I gained weight, what am I afraid is going to happen?
- If my body changes, how will others respond?
- Why does weight gain scare me?
It’s important to note that the desire to be thin and in a body that is more “socially acceptable” can be deeply ingrained in us.
A Note About Weight Bias/Weight Stigma
We live in a society where fatphobic messages are prevalent, and weight bias/weight stigma are very real issues. Just living in this society can lead to internalized weight stigma, even if you aren’t totally aware of it.
Everyone wants to feel that they belong. In a world with weight bias and fatphobia, life can be more challenging for those living in fat bodies.
Activities like public transit, air travel, and dining out at restaurants can be made more difficult in a larger body where seats are only available in a specific size. Discrimination can also occur in healthcare, in the workplace, and even in dating. It is normal to want to fit into a world that seems only to deem a person worthy of participating if they’re a certain size.
These feelings are 100% valid, but they don’t indicate that YOU are the one who needs to change to conform. Unlearning what you’ve been previously taught about body size is difficult, but it is possible.
For many, the desire to be in a thin body is actually a desire for acceptance and respect. The beautiful truth is that you can give yourself those things without ever having to change your body.
You do not need to be at the mercy of other individuals or the world to give you the love and respect you desire. It would be a never-ending pursuit!
Fear of Gaining Weight and Intuitive Eating: The Takeaway
Bodies change many times throughout the course of a lifetime, and it doesn’t mean anything about you except you’re human.
Instead of worrying about whether your body is going to change on your intuitive eating journey, try to recognize that if your body changes as a result of being well-nourished and free around food, then perhaps it was meant to change.
And again, it does not mean anything negative about you. Your here-and-now body, the body you are currently in, deserves respect. It deserves to have its needs honored, regardless of what it looks like.
Here at Wholesome Chick Nutrition, we are a team of intuitive eating dietitians who offer weight-inclusive nutrition therapy services.
Do you not feel at peace with your body? Do you struggle with weight concerns, negative body image, and critical self-talk? If yes- then you’re exactly where you need to be! We are here for you to dive deeper into these fundamental concerns and help you cultivate a better relationship with food. Learn more about our 1:1 coaching services at this link.
Written by Emily Adkisson, RDN