The Fear of Gaining Weight

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

I am going to be totally honest with all of you right now. I have a fear of gaining weight. I have been trying to lose weight since I was 11 years old so, this fear might not ever go away.

Ever since discovering Intuitive Eating a couple of years back my goal is not to lose weight now. The overall goal of Intuitive Eating is to establish a healthy relationship with food and not lose weight. When we are trying to embrace Intuitive Eating, weight loss must be put on the back burner. If that is still our main goal, then we will treat Intuitive Eating like just another diet. And I have been on my fair share of diets; so I'm all set.

What is behind my fear of gaining weight? Well, there are many factors. I think my biggest fear is that I will go back up to my highest weight that I was when I was younger. During that time years ago, I was out of control with food. I let food and the scale rule my life. I tried to diet, I would do good for a few days, then bam!!! I would fall off. Then I would beat myself up so bad, by saying such degrading and mean things to myself. I was also so depressed during that time.

My weight and my unhappiness with my body were like a dark cloud hanging over my head at all times. I was rarely happy unless I lost weight or in anticipation of my next diet. I remember the days leading up to my next weight loss attempt was filled with eating all of the foods that were not allowed on my new diet. I also was filled with hope that this new plan would work finally. I tried Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Overeaters Anonymous, a faith-based diet, and a teen diet, where I remember eating tons of turkey hot dogs on pita bread with mustard. There were 2 major weight loss episodes in my life. But of course, I gained all of the weight back and more.

I think one of my biggest fear of gaining weight is that no one will like me in my bigger body and I will not like myself. Society tells us that we have to live in a smaller body to be accepted, to be pretty, to be sexy, to find a soulmate, to have children, to be liked, to get a good job, and then we will live happily ever after in our thinner body.

But, you know what? to be honest I have gained weight on my Intuitive Eating journey. Some days I am nervous I will gain enormous amounts of weight. Some days I look in the mirror at my big belly and am not happy with what I see. Other days I look in the mirror and I can see why my belly may be bloated that day; maybe I ate a lot of salt or drank a lot of liquid. I look at my arms and can see how toned they are somedays and feel good about what I see.

Deep down I know that I am doing all I can to be the healthiest version of me right now. My weight will settle where it may and I do not have much say in the matter. I have actually never been so healthy despite my weight gain. I exercise more consistently than I ever have, I am less stressed about food, I do not base my sole happiness on the scale and my depression has improved so much since giving up dieting.

I have also learned that my outer appearance does not truly represent who I really am. My outer shell cannot tell the world that I am caring, hardworking, and love helping people, etc.

I can see my own fatphobia rearing its head when I have the above fears. I know that there are people living in much larger bodies than I am and they get severely judged and shamed just because of the size of their bodies. They are judged by the medical field as not healthy because of their weight. Many larger people do not want to go to the doctors in fear of being fat-shamed. That is such a tragedy to me. Larger-sized people do not want to go to the gym or a yoga studio because they feel like they won't fit and will be judged because of the size of their bodies. They do not have the access to so many of the opportunities for healthy behaviors that smaller people do.

Change begins with me and my view of my body I now know. The way I feel sometimes about my body is the exact way a fatphobic society wants me to feel. It wants me to shrink my body to conform to a certain look. It wants me to be afraid of gaining weight so I will buy the next diet fad, the next wellness plan, and keep me in my little shell.

I know how hard it is to accept sometimes; that my body size is not in my control and that I will never be thin. The only thing I can control is taking care of myself right now, by giving it foods that taste good and make my body feel good, by treating it with respect, by moving joyfully, by honoring my hunger and fullness signals, and by not obsessing over every little thing I put in my mouth.

When I first started my Intuitive Eating journey, I did go through a mourning period for sure. I mourned my imaginary thin beautiful body. But, I also know what I would be getting from Intuitive Eating: a healthy relationship with food, a stronger heart from moving in a joyful way, less stress about the number on the scale, an appreciation of what my body can do and not living my life to eat, just eating to live.

So, I would say that me gaining some weight is not all that of a big deal after all.

By looking now at what I am gaining besides weight.

I will admit that I may not ever totally love my body, after all, I have been trying to change it for most of my life. But, society slowly changes to a view that is more accepting of all body types and by treating everyone equally despite their body size. I am hoping to one day love what I see in the mirror. But for now, I can appreciate and respect my body for the shell that houses my beautiful soul and that is all I will ask for right now.

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