Body Negativity Is a Cause of Weight Gain.
The signs usually appear slowly, and at first, may be so subtle that you dismiss them… your pants might feel a little tighter than usual or you seem to have outgrown your favorite bra.
With trepidation, you weigh yourself or something else confirms it – you’ve gained weight again. Though you promised yourself you wouldn’t let it happen, somehow it did, and panic surges:
- Negative thoughts flood your brain, and you say, “How could I let this happen?”
- Your feelings alternate between anger, embarrassment and disbelief, and you ask, “What’s wrong with me?” and “Why am I so lazy?”
- Finally, you decide there is just no winning and give up on yourself, “Screw it….nothing I do works anyway.”
It’s at this stage, a likely precursor to emotional overeating, where you can stop the weight gain and turn things around, instead of giving up and digging a deeper hole.
- Reflect. How did you get to the weight you were at before gaining this time? By dieting? Studies repeatedly show that weight loss achieved through dieting is temporary for the vast majority of people. Plus, dieters often regain more weight than they lost.
- Are you being real? At Green Mountain, we help women find their natural, healthy weights – where your body settles when not restricting or overeating, but eating normally, being physically active, and following your bodies’ physiological cues. If you were restricting yourself and over-exercising before, your body will adjust itself to bring you back to its healthy weight. Also, how much pressure are you putting on yourself to “be perfect?”Are your expectations getting in your way? And is that driving you to rebel or make up for what you are restricting?
- Be a detective, not a judge. Though it can be very hard to accept weight gain, try to observe, not judge. Treat this change as something in your day-to-day routine that may need your attention. Has being active taken a back seat to work? Is stress robbing you of sleep and making you hungrier? Could emotional or habitual eating be at play?
- Don’t try to change too much at once. A common reaction to weight gain is to think a complete overhaul is in order. But trying to change too much at once can feel insurmountable. Instead, ask, “What is the biggest problem for me to address right now?”
- Don’t assume food is the villain. Most of the time, we default to food as the problem – that we can’t control our cravings, that we have no willpower. But what or how much we eat may not be the fundamental issue. Many factors affect our individual body weights and they vary for each person. Also, if emotional eating is the issue, direct your attention to discovering what’s driving that eating. If you are stressed out, what can you change? If you are taking on too much, what can you let go of? If you forbid foods you like, then find yourself overeating them, how can put them back in your diet in a manageable way?
- Remember change is a process, not an event. So you’ve gained some weight after you’ve been working to get your body to a healthier place. Does that really mean that ALL the hard work you did was for nothing? Remember, change is not linear and perfection is not a destination. Don’t fall back into all-or-nothing thinking and notice what’s working to keep you motivated. Ask if you are taking care of yourself in ways that you weren’t in the past. Look at whether or not you were feeling better overall before you got on that scale.
Gaining weight can feel devastating if you’ve been there, done that too many times already. But it doesn’t have to be a sentence. If it follows a diet, it’s a reminder that dieting doesn’t work. Whether it’s due to dieting or something else, it can be an opportunity to learn how to take better care of yourself and discover what your body needs to be healthy.