In this article, I attempt to reframe how we see weight gain and how we can learn to actually accept it. This will involve some tools some tips and even some journal prompts #standard!
I’ll dive right in with a journal prompt for you. This journal prompt is great at reframing your mindset around weight gain. Ok so here it is;
“What else did I gain besides weight?”
We can be so focused on our body that we don’t actually realize what’s going on in our lives outside of our body. So I invite you to put pen to paper and make this like a bullet point list. So what have you gained in addition to the weight?
- more connection
- family time
- delicious recipes and taste testing
- surviving a global pandemic
With the global pandemic, most of us have been moving less as we’ve been spending more time at home and maybe comfort eating and that’s ok! We’ve been attempting to take care of ourselves and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up for it. These are just coping mechanisms.
- Maybe you’ve gained more memories eg – baking with your sister. If those memories come with a side of weight gain then I’d take that over not making the memories any day!
It helps to reframe weight gain into the positive. What are the positives that have come from it?
- Maybe its learning more self compassion.
- Maybe it’s finding a new style of dressing yourself because your jeans no longer feel great so you’ve transitioned into flowing dresses.
- Maybe you’ve been resting more which is actually what most of us need more of and this has given you the opportunity to do that without stressing about the gym. This will have also helped you to practice being still without constantly having to be doing something.
The potential gains that come with weight gain can mostly be positive if you choose to see it that way. Remember;
Your perception is your reality. Change your perception, change your reality.
Because of diet culture and fatphobia we see weight gain as a huge negative. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can acknowledge ourselves for what we’ve accomplished. Maybe you’ve experienced so much self growth and self exploration and you’re finding out who we you regardless of what your body looks like.
When we can step out of that mindset of doom and gloom and I suck, we can then embrace all of the opportunities and growth that have come with it.
Bodies are supposed to change
Remind yourself it’s not the worst thing that can happen. Bodies fluctuate in weight depending on what you’re doing or what season of life you’re in and we are all going to have a body that compliments that.
Even outside of the weight and how our bodies look we change. We change our style and the way we do our makeup and hair depending on how we feel and what we like. We change the activities that we do.
It’s ok to change, we are not robots! We don’t do the same things all the time day to day and never change (unless we’re in a global pandemic!) It’s ok to have emotions and feelings and it’s ok to just change and to let your body change with you.
Embrace the seasons of your life with love
If you’re studying, launching your own business, going for a promotion, or you’ve just had a baby, you’re focus and attention will be elsewhere. It’s ok and natural for your workouts and way of eating to not be a priority for you in this season of your life. It’s impossible to focus on more than a few life areas at a time and see positive results in each area – and to actually enjoy the process!
So give yourself a break and pour love and compassion into yourself. The above scenarios might come with weight gain, more processed packaged foods and less body movement and time for you and that’s completely fine. You are getting through this season of your life the best you can, embrace the different seasons.
Everything in nature is seasonal
E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. There’s not a single flower that blooms all year round. All animals don’t hunt all year round. Bear’s hyphenate. Flowers close up. Seasons change. Very literally. So why would you expect yourself to be any different knowing that you are nature? Everything changes and it is supposed to.
As we grow older our bodies change, our hormones change, our sleep changes. Nobody or anything in nature is going to stay the same. We grow. We evolve.
If we can embrace the seasons of our lives, we also need to see that our bodies fit into that. We can’t accept change with everything else, but when it comes to our bodies get frustrated because “how dare she change too?!”
It’s totally ok for your weight and for your body to fluctuate it’s just being a part of nature.
This is something that has really helped me throughout my recovery journey, that is to see weight gain this way and embrace the seasons and other positive gains also. Instead of following diet cultures brainwashing (because that’s what it is, brain washing) and being anxious and emotionally charged like;
“Omg I’ve gained weight! This is the worse thing in the world! I need to lose it now!!!!”
I reframed it to;
“Ok, I’ve noticed that I’ve gained some weight. It’s probably correlated with the season of life that I’m in right now. It’s probably not permanent and it might change sometime in the future too so I’m just going to accept it for what it is right now in this moment.”
Acceptance doesn’t mean complacent
The common misconception about self compassion is that if we’re kind to ourselves then we’re going to get lazy and just give up on ourselves.
When in fact, research shows that this is just not true. Self-compassion is actually shown to make us more inspired and motivated to change. I’m not saying that we have to change our body. In my eating disorder days I used to plan a sh*t ton of exercise the day after I’d binged and be really hard on myself internally and starve myself for as long as possible. I would put so much pressure on myself that the majority of the time, I’d do the complete opposite and self sabotage my efforts and think things like;
“Well I’m fat anyway so may as well just binge again and not bother working out and try again tomorrow.”
That was because of the mindset I was approaching the exercising and food with. It was all from a place of super restriction and overcompensating in an attempt to counteract the binge. The complete opposite to self-compassion. Which is why self sabotage kicked in.
Hating yourself into motivation does not work long term!
No change ever comes from shame
If dieting and hating your body “worked” wouldn’t you be at your goal weight by now?”
The way we motivate ourselves with negative motivation is a lot more short lived than if we motivate ourselves with self-compassion.
We’re much more likely to reach our health goals by being kinder to ourselves and being motivated form a place of self-love other than self-hate.
Your body will crave exercise and salad when we stop making it feel like punishment
And FYI stop thinking that you can use self-compassion into tricking yourself to lose weight … I see you, I’ve came from the same disordered eating mindset…! It’s time that you and your body are on the same team. Stop being at war with yourself. Give yourself time and trust your body to do it’s thing, because your body is waaaay more wiser than you are!
Stop wearing tight clothes
Stop trying to squeeze into jeans! Why would you do that? I literally decided to stop wearing jeans at the start of my recovery and I’ve never looked back. I have found a more feminine flowy way of dressing that actually makes me feel so comfortable, sexy and free! Try it!
Granted, when I first started to do this I was kind of hiding my body behind the flowy clothes. This helped me to take my attention away from my body and how my clothes were fitting me which resulted in fewer body image thoughts which is essential in recovery. But as time went on I loved the feeling of being free and non restricted in my clothes and just made a slight shift into slightly more fitting dresses that showed off my naturally curvy shape.
Why would you torture yourself with clothes that are too small for you? THEY ARE NOT MOTIVATING! Get them out of your wardrobe, into the garage or give them to charity. And then go on a shopping spree. It does not have to be expensive! Charity shops have some great finds as does Primark and lower investment option shops. Doing this and wearing clothes that actually fit you and you feel comfortable in physically and emotionally is ESSENTIAL to improving your body image.
Look at women your size or bigger
Every single day. I’ve said this many times before. But following women your size or bigger who are wearing clothes that by beauty standard ideals they “shouldn’t be wearing for their body type” and loving themselves and life is so healing! If you can appreciate and see the beauty in others, then with practice, you will be able to appreciate and admire your own body no matter what size she is.
I really admire people who are not afraid to be themselves. Anyone who dares to be themselves is so attractive. Not because of their bodies but because of who they are. They own it! And there is something extremely magnetic about that. Don’t you agree?
Think of someone that you love and who you find attractive – not necessarily pretty or slim etc but attractive because of who they are. It can be in a sexual or non sexual context….
People think this way about you too! People love when you’re not afraid to show up as you are. In your body, in your skin in your amazing personality and when you really embrace who you are! When you step outside of your box and be YOU, that’s magnetic to “your people”.
When you’re experiencing a body image trigger, remember;
Don’t let your body image ruin your life experience
Mary’s cup of tea
You’ve still got to show up boldy. Unapologetically. You still have to be who you are. Be your personality. Be who you are. Hone in on your strengths, talk to other people. Connect with yourself and others. That is SO much better and more fulfilling than revolving your whole life around your body, your weight and being skinny.
If more women just showed up as who they are, the world would be a better place. Be yourself and give others the permission to do the same!
Allow the possibility that gaining weight might be a good thing for you. This journey that you are on may be opening up so many doors for you that you don’t even know.
We can refrain an old belief of mine together now;
“If I gain weight then it means I’m unattractive”.
I came at that with;
“Is there a small possibility that that statement may not be true?”
Depending on how stuck you are with that belief, you may be able to see a small possibility that it might not be true. Then we can find the evidence for that. To find proof that that statement is indeed false.
“I’ve in the best most loving amazing conscious relationship that I’ve ever experienced and I’m in the biggest body I’ve ever been in. My fiance finds me very sexy and attractive and we wants to have sex with me a lot of the time.”
That’s the truth that my old belief is not true. Our thoughts are not facts. We get to choose our own reality via our thoughts. And the reality I choose is food freedom and body love.
I’d like to end this with with a question to you;
“What is that possibility for you?”
When it comes to dealing with weight gain and healing your body image struggles. Is there a possibility that everything you believe about yourself – everything that you’ve been conditioned to believe about yourself and your body – is there a possibility that that bullshit might not be true?
And then what is the alternative? What kind of evidence do you have toward this different reality that you have the power to create for yourself, what is that?
I would LOVE to hear what comes up for you beautiful so please share with me. firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on social media.