Written by Ashley Seruya, B.A.
The intuitive eating process brings about a lot of change, some of which can be downright terrifying. Enter: weight gain.
It should be noted that weight gain is a possible side effect of making peace with food, but it isn’t necessarily inevitable. Some people lose weight on their intuitive eating journey, others maintain, and still others gain. Which camp you will eventually fall into is really anyone’s best guess, but making peace with weight gain – or any bodily changes – during this process is a huge part of body acceptance and truly embracing the intuitive eating model. This can be a really difficult process though due to the fatphobic world we live in, and some people avoid intuitive eating altogether just due to the FEAR of weight gain. It’s time to step in and assuage that fear… everyone deserves to seek out food peace, and making peace with weight gain can open that door. Ahead, my top three strategies:
- Change up your social media feeds! Follow fat-posi babes on Instagram and your other social media accounts to literally change how your mind perceives people of ALL sizes. Studies have shown that what we see regularly dictates what we find attractive… so it’s no wonder we only find model-esque, extremely thin, white figures aesthetically pleasing. We’ve been conditioned to! But that also means we can change that conditioning and do a little tweaking of our own brains. Expose yourself to people of all sizes, colors, genders etc., and soon enough you’ll find that all bodies are acceptable and even attractive to you. This can make accepting your own body SO much easier. Tumblr is a great resource for size acceptance and body diversity, so if you don’t have one yet, definitely explore! Jes Baker AKA The Militant Baker has already done some of the work for us and put together an amazing list of Instagram users you should follow to help diversify your feed, as well as a list of Tumblrs under her Resources page that are worth exploring.
- Learn about the science! Part of our fear of fat is supported by the research that suggests that fatness is inherently unhealthy and even deadly. But the truth is that this research is all correlation, not causation, and there is a TON of evidence that suggests that pursuing health behaviors such as intuitive eating and joyful movement are the keys to long-term health no matter what your size! This is called the Health at Every Size model, pioneered by Linda Bacon. She has two great books I would suggest you read to really start wrapping your brain around the idea that size and health are not as inextricably linked as the media would like us to believe: Body Respect and Health at Every Size. Once you dismantle that a bit, you will likely find it much easier to fire back against people who may shame your weight gain on the basis of “health,” including yourself.
- Get rid of your scale! How much we weigh is an arbitrary number that doesn’t actually inform us of anything useful. Instead, it’s often used as a way to shame or congratulate ourselves, and always has some kind of necessary action attached to it whether the number goes up or down. Part of making peace with weight gain though is taking the power from that number, and what better way than removing your measure all together? Instead, focus on how your clothes feel, and if they are starting to feel a bit snug, get yourself to the mall (or a computer) and buy yourself some items that make you feel like a rockstar! Everyone feels better in new clothes that don’t pinch or snag, and everyone feels better without a scale dictating their worth.
If you would like to learn more about how to become an Intuitive Eater, Sign up for Dipping Your Toes Into Intuitive Eating , an introductory online Program. Details here:
Erica Leon is a Registered Dietitian and practices from a Health at Every Size (HAES®) lens. She is certified as an eating disorder specialist and is passionate about helping women at midlife, menopause and beyond to make peace with food and body image.
Erica is a highly sensitive nutrition therapist who takes the time to learn where you or your family are in the pursuit of health. Respectful of your individual needs and lifestyle, she will provide an honest assessment of whether or not you are a good fit to work together. Click here to schedule a 15-minute Discovery Call with Erica to let us know about your needs, and to see which of our Dietitians is the best fit for you!
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