The fear of gaining weight can be all-consuming, especially if you’re battling disordered eating or body image issues. It might feel like this fear takes precedence over everything else in your life, making it your top priority, even at the cost of your overall health and happiness. But the good news is that you can overcome this fear, and you don’t have to gain weight to do it. Just as you don’t have to survive a plane crash to conquer the fear of flying, you can free yourself from the shackles of the fear of weight gain.
The Truth About Weight Gain
Let’s start by clearing up a few things. First and foremost, gaining weight is not a prerequisite for conquering the fear of weight gain. It’s essential to recognize that everyone’s situation is unique, and gaining weight may or may not be a part of your journey toward health. Consult your doctor for guidance on what’s best for your well-being.
Another crucial point to grasp is that you’re not afraid of gaining weight itself. Instead, you’re afraid of what you’ve linked to that weight. If you’ve spent months or years tying your worth to your weight, it’s natural to fear gaining weight because you believe it would make you somehow less amazing. But here’s the truth: Your worth is not determined by your weight. Once you truly accept this, the fear of weight gain loses its power over you.
Three Steps to Overcoming the Fear of Weight Gain
In this blog, I’ll walk you through three vital steps to help you conquer this fear and find food freedom.
1. Identify the source of the fear.
To overcome the fear of weight gain, you must understand where it originates. At some point in your life, you likely decided that gaining weight, even if it’s healthy, was something to fear. Eating disorders, like anorexia, often come with an irrational fear of gaining weight, even if it would make you healthier and happier.
To tackle this fear head-on, you need to identify its source. Ask yourself: What do you fear will happen if you gain weight? Do you believe your worth will change, or that others will perceive you differently? Do you see weight gain as a sign of failure or a lack of self-control? Exploring the root of this fear is essential, and activities like journaling or talking to a trusted friend or therapist can help you uncover the underlying causes.
2. Challenge the fear.
The rational part of your brain may understand that gaining weight won’t diminish the love and support from the important people in your life. It may also recognize that gaining weight can improve your overall health if you’re underweight. However, the part of your brain consumed by the fear of weight gain might push back hard against this knowledge, making it challenging to confront the fear.
To counter this, you need to remember times when you’ve overcome other uncomfortable feelings. For instance, if you fear being judged for weight gain, recall a time when you were judged for something else and managed to overcome it. Think about how it felt to conquer that judgment and apply the same resilience to your fear of weight gain. Similarly, if you view weight gain as a failure, think back to a time when you failed at something and successfully moved on. Remembering instances of your strength can prepare you to confront the feelings associated with this fear.
3. Think about what you can gain from letting go of the fear.
If the fear of weight gain dominates your thoughts, you might feel trapped in a never-ending cycle of terror and exhaustion. To overcome this fear, you must want to be free from it. Consider what you can regain by relinquishing this fear.
Ask yourself: What has the fear of weight gain taken from you? Has it stolen your peace, your freedom, or your ability to enjoy meals with friends? Imagine how regaining these aspects of your life by letting go of this fear would feel.
Consider the broader implications of freeing yourself from this fear. You could gain self-compassion, confidence in yourself as a person, and the freedom to enjoy food without constant overthinking.
By envisioning a life free from this fear, along with all the positive changes that would accompany it, you can motivate yourself to take the steps needed to overcome it.
As long as the fear of weight gain controls your thoughts and actions, it will maintain its power over you. Trying to control or restrict yourself to avoid weight gain only leads to feelings of helplessness and frustration. Finding food freedom entails letting go of these fears and releasing the desire for total control. In this journey, remember that we can’t control everything in life, and attempting to do so can leave us exhausted and disheartened. The fear of gaining weight is no different.
Keywords: weight gain, fear of weight gain, overcoming the fear of weight gain
Must Read Books To Break Out Of The Comparison Trap
Just so you know, I do review everything I recommend. When you buy through links on this page, we may earn a commission.
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
For many years, Glennon Doyle denied her own discontent. Then, while speaking at a conference, she looked at a woman across the room and fell instantly in love. Three words flooded her mind: There She Is. At first, Glennon assumed these words came to her from on high. But she soon realized they had come to her from within. This was her own voice—the one she had buried beneath decades of numbing addictions, cultural conditioning, and institutional allegiances. This was the voice of the girl she had been before the world told her who to be. Glennon decided to quit abandoning herself and to instead abandon the world’s expectations of her. She quit being good so she could be free. She quit pleasing and started living.
The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson
⚠️ Trigger Warning: spicy language and some weightloss talk
There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.
The Courage To Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga
A thought-provoking self-help book that explores the profound teachings of Alfred Adler through a unique Socratic dialogue. It delves into the principles of happiness, relationships, and personal growth, challenging conventional beliefs and encouraging readers to embrace their individuality with courage and wisdom.
The Mountain Is You: Transforming Self-Sabotage Into Self-Mastery by Brianna Weist
This is a book about self-sabotage. Why we do it, when we do it, and how to stop doing it—for good. Coexisting but conflicting needs create self-sabotaging behaviors. This is why we resist efforts to change, often until they feel completely futile. But by extracting crucial insight from our most damaging habits, building emotional intelligence by better understanding our brains and bodies, releasing past experiences at a cellular level, and learning to act as our highest potential future selves, we can step out of our own way and into our potential. For centuries, the mountain has been used as a metaphor for the big challenges we face, especially ones that seem impossible to overcome. To scale our mountains, we actually have to do the deep internal work of excavating trauma, building resilience, and adjusting how we show up for the climb. In the end, it is not the mountain we master, but ourselves.