I said somewhere today, “Fear of weight gain kept intuitive eating from working for me. I couldn't hear what my body was saying when I was projecting my own fears and meanings all over the messages. It really clicked when I took weight out of the picture and dealt in simple stuff like meeting my real needs (sleeping when tired, crying when sad), noticing if I was physically hungry and how I felt after eating, noticing if my behaviors were in line with my values or if they were at odds. The more they synced up, the easier and better it all felt.”
Others have the same experience. Fear of weight gain keeps us from listening to our bodies and eating more intuitively. The fear tells you that control is the only option. That you’re broken or not to be trusted.
So, then of course the next step is to question the fear. Is it true? Can I absolutely know that it’s true? How do I feel or what happens when I believe that thought? Who would I be without that thought? Could the opposite also be true?
If I was honest about my worst fears, they were things like, if I gain weight: I’ll lose all control and keep gaining forever. People will think less of me. No one will love me. I’ll feel judged. I’ll hate myself. I’ll be embarrassed and ashamed. I’ll be trapped in a body I despise. Life will be unbearable.
So, ok, drama much?
If I use the four questions and the turn-around on each of those fears, none of them hold up. Believing those thoughts and leaving them unquestioned is what hurts me, not food, not fat, me. I hurt myself and deny myself the life I want if I believe I have to restrict to keep my shame in check, or to win approval, or to be safe. I can easily find examples where the opposite of my fears is just as true or more true. I can see the suffering and negative behaviors that believing those thoughts causes. I can feel how amazing it would be not to have them. What if lunch were just lunch and not the fate of the universe? Wouldn’t it be easier to decide what to eat? Easier to be consistent? Even easier to lose weight? Yes, I realized!! It was suddenly so obvious. My fears weren’t protecting me or helping me. They were THE thing keeping me stuck.
It’s so important to have that revelation yourself and not just read about mine. If you put your fears in writing, ask those questions, and really reflect on your answers, everything changes. Maybe a feeling of fear still pops up like like a jack-in-the-box, but you no longer scream and turn your chair over. It’s just interesting. You’re just curious. You don’t restrict, overeat, or overexercise in response, which makes your actions that much more effective and consistent.