Despite your best intentions of trying to diet and keep weight off, you’ve gained weight. Now what?
Gaining weight can feel terrifying.
We feel out of control and miserable. We’re afraid we’ll be judged, people will notice we’ve gained weight, and we’ll be known as the “fat” person.
We feel like our self-worth is diminished, we won’t be accepted, and others will think we’ve let ourselves go.
Weight gain is synonymous with misery and self-hate. We fight ourselves, kicking and screaming, desperately trying to claw our way back to the size we were before.
So let’s say you have gained weight. Or you aren’t at the size you were five years ago.
Let me ask you this…
So what if you gain weight?
I mean, really ask yourself this question. What happens if you gain weight? Will the people who love you stop loving you? Will you lose all that you worked to achieve? Will everyone you meet tell you that you’re fat? Will something actually happen out in the world because of your weight gain?
These questions might sound ridiculous, but when we’re trapped in our own minds, weight gain can feel like the most terrifying thing we’ve ever experienced. We live in fear of having to leave our house, wear clothes, and have people see us.
But when we begin to dig deeper and question our beliefs, these thoughts and feelings can shift.
So what if you showed up anyway? What if you still went out in the world regardless of what you thought people were thinking?
If it sounds horrifying, know that when we fear something, it is often what we most need to look at.
Fear, discomfort and uncertainty are our biggest catalysts for growth and change.
Weight gain is one of those times. It’s here to teach you something. It feels awful and soul-crushing. But instead of beating yourself up again and standing in front of the mirror hating your body, remember these three things:
1. Whatever you do, don’t go on another diet.
When we gain a few pounds, it can be terrifying. It feels like our world is falling apart and our default way to cope is to immediately “fix” it. We want to diet, to rigidly control our food, and exercise more.
But what if you didn’t jump right into that cycle again? What if you instead began to explore self-love and compassion? What if you work on acceptance and what beliefs are behind the gaining of weight? It’s the deeper work that creates the big shifts.
We’ve been starting over for as long as we can remember. So what about trying something new? Exploring what’s underneath the surface and digging into emotions and thoughts to explore where you’re stuck, what’s holding you back, how you’re dealing with emotions, and all of the other components that play into this whole “food thing”.
2. You won’t be at this (same) weight forever.
Boy did I have a hard time accepting this one. When I was super thin, I wanted to desperately hold on to that size and never have it change. (And that didn’t work out for me too well, as I had restricted and eaten nothing but veggies and salads for months and thus binged like 2 days later)
Your weight will change. Whether you’re at your thinnest or your heaviest, it’ll still change.
It’ll ebb and flow as you live your life. You get married and move in with someone and your eating habits shift. You get pregnant and can’t lose the baby weight. You have a crazy stressful period at work and you don’t have time to cook. A tragedy happens in your family and you emotionally eat.
Life will always be changing which can directly impact your weight. Plus, there are a million factors that affect your weight: hormones, stress, seasonal fluctuations, life situations, job changes, genes, happiness, etc.
When you can understand that this weight gain may actually be benefiting you in the long run (i.e. you are normalizing your body, learning how to get out of the diet cycle for good and not starting over every Monday), you can begin to be more trusting of the process.
We desperately want to get to our goal weight and then stay there forever. But that doesn’t happen. Sure, you can have a healthy weight range (and not be in the lose 10 pounds, gain 15 cycle forever), but life is always happening and your weight will fluctuate.
3. The more you can accept where you are today, the more you’ll treat yourself with kindness and care.
Kindness begets kindness. You don’t hate yourself at the weight you are now, then magically accept yourself in two months. Even if you do lose the weight and feel more comfortable in your body, you still find flaws, imperfections, and parts to despise.
But when you can learn to value yourself regardless of what you weigh and see the “you” underneath your physical body, you’ll find more acceptance.
When you love and appreciate something, you WANT to take care of it. You want to make sure it’s nourished and satisfied. And so it is with your body. When you call truce with your body and give up the battle, you actually want to treat it better.
Trust me, I know how frustrating weight gain can be. I had adrenal fatigue last year and gained some weight. It was devastating to me. I thought I was “done” with this whole body acceptance thing. Was it hard? Holy crap, yes. But it drove me deeper to look at my beliefs around my own acceptability and size. It forced me to confront some judgments I had about my body. And it taught me some really valuable lessons.
Things happen on this journey so you can heal them, work through them, and move on to a deeper level. Remember that as you navigate through the waters of this path 🙂