How to deal with the fear of weight gain

Do you want to accept your body and ditch diets?

BUT, you also have a fear of weight gain?

This is a concern so many clients face.

In this post, I’m sharing three strategies to help you ditch diets and the fear of weight gain.

Listen or read below:

What if I gain weight?

This is something that comes up all the time for clients when they’re working on body acceptance. They fear that if they embrace acceptance and ditch diets, it will result in weight gain.

If you’ve spent a lifetime dieting, there can be a lot of resistance to letting it go. 

It’s difficult to acknowledge that diets don’t work, and that changing your body isn’t the solution to feeling better about yourself.

It’s totally understandable to think that losing weight will help you feel happier or more confident, because that’s what we’re conditioned to believe. 

So, it’s not your fault if you think being thinner is the magic bullet to a better life.

And if you’ve invested a lot of time and energy in dieting, it’s hard to let it go, even if it hasn’t given you the results you wanted.

If you stop chasing a thinner body, there might be a voice saying, “If you stop dieting, you’ll gain weight.

How diets keep you hooked

I get it.  It’s hard not to believe that if you stop dieting and trust your body’s natural hunger and fullness signals, that your eating will be out of control.

And that’s how diets keep you hooked – by making you believe that you can’t trust your body.  So, when one diet doesn’t work, you find another one that you hope will be just right for you.

But after being in the diet cycle for long enough, you realise how dysfunctional your relationship with food and your body are – occupying every waking hour so you don’t have much head space for anything else.

How to deal with the fear of weight gain

So, when you want to accept your body and ditch the diet mentality, how do you deal with the fear of weight gain?

I’ve got three strategies for you:

Accept the fear of weight gain

Wanting to be thin is something we’ve all been programmed to want, so this desire won’t go away overnight.  Accept that the fear of weight gain might never go away, and that’s okay.

Just because you fear weight gain, it doesn’t mean you can’t work on accepting your body. 

As I say to clients, what have you got to lose by working on body acceptance?  If dieting has made you feel miserable, it’s time to try something else to feel better about yourself.

Explore your reality

When you’ve spent years trying to achieve and maintain a target weight, you can lose sight of the cost of dieting. 

Obsessing over your body can have a negative impact on your intimate relationship, social life, career, and your mental health.

To face the fear of weight gain, you need to get clear about how it’s impacting your life by asking a few questions:

  • What does the fear of weight gain cost me? 
  • What will happen if I don’t let go of this fear?
  • What will happen if I let go of this fear? 
  • What will that allow me to do?
  • What is more important to me than this fear?

Educate yourself about diets

Diet culture teaches you that you can be any weight you want if you just try hard enough.  But this just isn’t true.  It’s this belief that makes you fear weight gain.  If you believe it’s your fault you’re not thinner, you’re going to feel like a failure when you gain weight.

Sadly, there are many women trying to mould themselves into a size they were never biologically meant to be in. The saddest thing about dieting, is that yo-yo dieting results in weight gain in the long term (the opposite of what dieters want).

For those clients struggling with the fear of weight gain, I encourage them to educate themselves about the impact of diets on their body.  This helps them to understand that their weight is less within their control than they think.

If you want to learn how our bodies respond to diets and why they don’t work, check out How to stop wishing to be thin.

I hope you find these three strategies helpful. If you’re struggling with a fear of weight gain, please remember that it’s not your fault and you’re not alone. 

I’d love to hear from you if you’re experiencing this fear right now.  Please leave a comment below.

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