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When You Want to Give Up Dieting & Feeling Controlled by Food BUT You’re Afraid of Gaining Weight…

As women, we’re taught or rather conditioned to believe that being smaller is better.

That the smaller we are, the happier and more fulfilled our lives will be.

But when you begin to peel back the layers, I mean really peel back, the above ideal is something to question.

Is the size of your body – something that is literally designed to change as you age and move through different stages of life – really going to determine your happiness?

And if that’s the case, are the controlling, obsessive food thoughts and behaviors, in an effort to get to this “goal,” making you happy now?

You see, one of the biggest fears my food and body image coaching clients have when they want to get off the diet roller coaster is…

  • What happens if I gain weight when I let go of my disordered eating or constant need to control food & exercise?
  • If my body changes when I begin practicing intuitive eating?
  • If I let go and surrender and decide to have the donut (and then lots of donuts) and become out of control? What happens then?!

 

All of the above? I hear you. It’s a scary place to be.

The truth is, the road to food freedom and body trust isn’t an easy one, but in my personal experience and watching the recovery of clients, I can tell you that it’s a road that’s worth fighting for. Plus, it’s the only road with light at the end of the tunnel.

If you’re struggling with wanting to leave the food rules and obsessive food thoughts behind, but you’re afraid of your body changing or gaining weight, I highly recommend you make some time and read the below (broken down into 2 parts) to help you begin seeing things another way and heal your relationship with food and your body…

That is, if you’re open to it.


PART 1: CREATING CLARITY – WHEN YOU WANT TO LEAVE THE DIETING, RESTRICTING WORLD BEHIND BUT YOU’RE AFRAID OF GAINING WEIGHT OR YOUR BODY CHANGING

What are you really afraid of?

This is such an important question to ask yourself. And – I know – it’s a BIG question. So allow yourself time to process it. Grab a notebook and write at the top of the page, What I’m really afraid of if my body changes? Below that, write out – 10 times – I’m really afraid of _____________. Then, allow yourself to fill in the blanks.

By the time you get to your last few points here, you’ll have a better understanding of what you’re really afraid of. And it’s in this understanding that you’ll gain clarity and a better understanding if your fears are just fears, or if they’re actuality.

For example, in the old days, I was really afraid that if my body changed, my boyfriend at the time, wouldn’t love me anymore and that other people would judge me. When I went to dissect this, I realized my boyfriend loved me for being much more than just a body (because we are ALL so much more than just a body) and if he didn’t, then that is not the type of man I wanted to be with.

When it came to other people judging me, I had this major ah-ha moment of Who cares!? Those aren’t the kind of people I want in my life anyway. That coupled with the fact that people are usually too obsessed with their own lives to spend countless minutes focusing on mine, had me refocus to stay in my own lane and internalize  that what other people think of me is none of business – FREEing stuff.

Be honest with yourself – Are the dieting, restricting, controlling, and constant food thoughts making you feel good?

This is one of the biggest wake-up moments you can have. THIS being that in an effort to get to this “body ideal,” you’re unhappy, disconnected, and constantly don’t feel good enough. These feelings – the “I’m not enough ones” – are the very feelings that diet culture thrives off of because quite simply it keeps you coming back for more and the beauty and diet industry makes a lot of money off of making us feel like we need to look a certain way. Not to mention that…

Our bodies are meant to change

Trying to control our bodies – something that we don’t have control over is a sure-fire way to make anyone feel crazy. What I mean by this is that we each have a unique physical frame, our own skeletal structure, with different genetics, and if we constantly try to control something that already has its own happy setpoint, we’re destined to feel like failures. And again, our bodies are meant to change as we move through different stages and ages in life.

To bring this point to reality, if my 32-year-old body looks like my 80-year-old body, I’m going to be quite disturbed. And if my postpartum body looks like my 16-year-old body, I’m also going to be disturbed. Internalizing that bodies change and it’s OK is key to healing your relationship with your body.

Weight gain can happen.

The reality is weight gain may or may not happen when you begin falling in rhythm and working with your body instead of against it. This is something that you’ll really need to take in, internalize, maybe grieve, and when you’re ready, in your own time (and sometimes with support), accept.

But the thing is that when you truly begin caring for and listening to your body, your body ends up right where it’s naturally supposed to be and that’s a beautiful thing. More importantly, it’s incredibly freeing.

And, can I tell you something? Anyone who promises you that your body has no possibility of changing, doesn’t get it and isn’t in the line of healing work. Our bodies aren’t mathematical equations and it’s not as simple as calories in or calories out AND no one can predict what will happen to your body, including you.

BUT, I promise you one thing – when you make the conscious choice to begin caring for your body and listening to it, instead of bashing it and endlessly trying to control it, you will feel relief and a newfound sense of peace. Not at first, of course. At first, it feels strange. But the more you practice it, the more you will feel liberated.



PART 2: CHANGING THE CONVERSATION – PERSPECTIVE SHIFTS TO HELP YOU HEAL YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD & YOUR BODY

What would you do in your life if weight or your body wasn’t an issue?

This is a simple question, but one of the most profound questions you can ask yourself.

So let me ask you – what would you do or how would things be different for you, if your weight or body or food wasn’t an issue? Would you be able to go to dinner with friends and NOT feel panicky or consumed with thoughts about what you “should” or “shouldn’t” eat? Would you be able to be more present in your life? Would your mental wellbeing improve because the obsessive food thoughts would stop?

Think about it – what would be different for you if you took your weight and body size off the table?

What positive changes have already occurred since letting go of the diet mentality?

This in-between stage of breaking free from the dieting world and entering the world of intuitive eating, mindfulness and self-compassion can be a scary, uncomfortable one and that is something to truly recognize and honor. Partially why it’s so scary is because it’s a major transition. And transitions in our lives, bring up a LOT of stuff and the unknown, which we humans aren’t fans of.

So if you feel like you’re stuck and you’re panicking and uncomfortable, please know that’s totally normal.

Also know that you got this. You can do this.

You can.

Take a deep breathe, regroup, and recall all of the positive changes you’ve made already – I don’t care how small they are and breathe. Give yourself some credit.

Who are you as a person?

When our worlds shrink, and we get so consumed with food and body image thoughts, we lose sight of who we are as human beings, NOT just a physical being and body. Begin shifting this by thinking about what are your core values? What’s important to you as a person?

Do this for the key people in your life too. What you’ll remember is that you don’t love or value anyone for their biceps, thighs or stomach… You value them for their compassion, empathy, dedication, or whatever else that comes up for you.

Focus on health behaviors that you actually have say over

Weight is not a health outcome that you, I, or anyone has control over. Sure, we can try to manipulate it for awhile, but then the food obsession, food distractibility, weird food rules, social isolation and relationships falling apart happen. This – to me – isn’t a way to live and for sure is NOT a definition of health.

Not focusing on weight isn’t easy and it’s a weird concept we’re not used to in the dieting culture we live in, but shifting the focus from weight to taking care of yourself and getting to know yourself and your body and what you truly need is the one practice that I’ve truly seen change lives … and yoga.

So instead of focusing on a number on a scale or your body size, focus on things you actually have “control” over, like the people you surround yourself with, the foods you decide to put into your body, the messages you let into your world, the words and stories you tell yourself, the way you choose to move (or not move) your body, how much rest you get, how to observe and not judge yourself and the inner-work you decide to do or not do… I promise it’s life-changing. And in essence, this is the Health at Every Size (HAES) approach.



Redefine what healthy means to you

This is such a crucial step to breaking free from the dieting world. I highly encourage you to get out a piece of paper and write out your new definition of health. Begin thinking for yourself – How do you want to feel in your body? How do you want your kids (or future kids) to be when it comes to food? What type of relationship do you want them to have with food? What type of relationship do YOU want to have with food?

What does health mean to you on a mental, physical, spiritual, and soulful level?

I bet you’ll discover it’s a lot more than a jean size…

Mantra it up

As you’re beginning to cultivate trust in yourself and your body, experiment with using mantras {super important} that feel right to you. In the beginning, you may find yourself using these many, many times throughout the day and that’s OK.

Some of my favorites include:

  • I heal easily and quickly.
  • I am so much more than just a body.
  • My worth is not determined by my weight.
  • Even though I feel scared, I’m choosing to move forward.
  • I am worthy of kindness and love.
  • I am worthy of healing.

 

Form a list of reasons why healing your relationship with food & your body is important to you

You’re going to need this. Sit down and list out all the reasons why breaking free from body bashing, food rules and obsessive food thoughts is important to you. And keep this list handy and ready to view every morning or evening.

As you move forward in your journey, you’ll find that you’ll still have hard moments – totally normal, that means you’re a human being living on planet Earth. BUT your dark moments will become less frequent and much shorter and your light moments will become more frequent and longer… AND that, to me, is healing.

Show yourself compassion

This work is a practice. You’ll have some better body image days and some not-so-better body image days, and it’s all OK. Remind yourself of everything you’ve done already. Just reading this is a big step, seriously. And give yourself a break. Practice treating and talking to yourself just like you would a friend… AND see how you shift.

P.S. Please know that wherever you’re at in your healing journey, change is possible for you. You just need a different way of doing this whole food & body image thing. You can check out my food and body image coaching information here and schedule your free consult today. It’s never too late to change. I promise.

BIG love,

Corinne