WEIGHT GAIN AFTER WEIGHT LOSS IS MENTALLY CHALLENGING
Getting used to weight gain after weight loss is a HUGE mental battle with yourself… and I would never tell you it isn’t. But, the most important lesson you can learn from my experience is that you can absolutely come out victorious with your self-love intact 🙂
Gaining weight after my struggles with orthorexia was a gigantic transition in my life. To be honest, there were days I couldn’t even look in the mirror. I was so distraught over the changes happening to my body, that I couldn’t even stand to watch it happen. I hid from my reflection because I knew that looking at myself was going to end in complete self-destruction of my body image. So I just didn’t look… and instead, I figured out BETTER ways to cope.
IT’S OKAY TO HATE THE PROCESS
Before we go over the 3 steps to coping with weight gain after weight loss, we need to make sure we understand one crucial thing. It’s okay to hate the process. People say, “It’s what’s on the inside that counts.”… and they’re right – but it doesn’t make accepting weight gain after weight loss any easier. So if you’re struggling with weight gain… it’s okay to cry, kick, scream, and be frustrated. You’re not wrong in feeling that way, you’re definitely not a bad person, and you’re not selfish, vein, or anything besides HUMAN. Your body image is a big deal, and you need to let yourself vent and feel whatever you have to feel to get through it. Because if you’re going through the weight gain after battling…
… I know that you’re a WARRIOR. And that you’re just looking to find self-love in this big old world of people telling you that “you’re not good enough”. But guess what… you ARE good enough. In fact, you’re MORE than enough (cliche and unoriginal of me to say, but still true!!) How you were in the past, how you are right now, and how you are going to be in the future is all MORE than enough in this world. You are beautiful, you are strong, and you are a food freedom warrior!
HOW TO BE COMFORTABLE WITH WEIGHT GAIN AFTER WEIGHT LOSS
STEP 1: ACCEPT IT AS A CHALLENGE TO LOVE YOUR INNER SELF
Self-love isn’t a numbers game. But we THINK it is because we’re so focused on our weight and the sizes of our clothes. But deep down we know it’s not really about the numbers at all… It’s about the CHANGE. It’s about the change in our identity. And we’re scared that weight gain after weight loss is going to make us go back to a place where we didn’t love ourselves in the past.
Going back, most of us wanted to lose weight because we didn’t like our bodies in the first place. We thought we should be skinnier, smaller, tinier, prettier, stronger and like the fitness models and iconic women we idolize for having “perfect” bodies. We focus so much on changing our weight so that we can also change who we are. We try to change our weight and hope that changing it will give us a better life with more…
- and whatever our heart is searching for.
And that makes weight gain after weight loss feel like we are losing ourselves all over again. We put SO much pressure on our body image because we identify our body image with who we are. We think that because we gained weight that we are going to go backward in other areas of our life too. But that’s not true. You can be whoever you want to be no matter what you look like… and I know that you already know that. So I want you to USE that knowledge. Use that knowledge to assure yourself gaining weight after weight loss can be a normal and necessary part of healing your relationship with food, fitness, and yourself. And to do those things, you really need to get clear on what it is that makes you, YOU.
- What do you love about yourself?
- What do you see for your future?
- How do you want to feel about yourself?
Because if you can move towards those bright things, get past everything else, and do the thing you need to do for YOU… Then the self-sabotaging eating habits (in my experience) go away! I solved the ROOT of the binge eating and restriction in order to get to this place of Food Freedom now. You need to solve it from the ROOT.
STEP 2: UNDERSTAND THE FEAR OF WEIGHT GAIN AFTER WEIGHT LOSS
One of the most important things to understand is why that fear is there in the first place. For me, it stemmed from a really horrible relationship with my dad after my parents’ divorce when I was in second grade. He made me feel like a piece of garbage (telling it like it is) and I carried that around with me until I was in college when I started dieting like crazy and lost a bunch of weight. Looking back, I can see that I always felt like I needed to be perfect and that whatever I did wasn’t good enough… which resulted in a really horrible body image. And SO many women can relate to that. We have a lot of pressure to be perfect, be healthy, be thin, and have a “bikini body”.
But seriously, you CANNOT change your body and sacrifice mental health at the same time without it being destructive!
I know it because I made that exact mistake and as a result I…
- Lived by strict diet rules
- Struggled with orthorexia
- Hated on my body constantly
- Battled food guilt
- Fell victim to binge eating
We change our bodies for a lot of reasons… and you really need to understand why that is, for YOU. Because it’s not about the numbers at all. It’s about figuring out what you need to do to live a life that makes you happy AND healthy.
STEP 3: UNDERSTAND WHAT’S SUSTAINABLE FOR YOU
Sure, there are people who lose weight without it sabotaging their mental health… but if your weight loss was because of a mental or emotional trauma like I discussed above with my dad… then there’s going to be a much deeper issue there! Even if you don’t feel like the word trauma describes you… there some belief that manifested into the struggle with your body that you’re facing right now. And all of that can lead to binge eating, restriction, orthorexia, and other eating disorders.
So you might be thinking it’s easier said than done and you’re right. Because honestly, I was a mess when I was facing my hardest struggles during the weight gaining process. But now, I feel SO MUCH BETTER. I feel amazing!! Right now I’m at the healthiest weight for my body. I know this now, but in the beginning, it was NOT easy. Weight gain felt like the worst thing I was going through in my whole life. If you think about it, I spent YEARS trying to lose weight. Weight loss was my life for YEARS. No wonder it was such a struggle to go back. So I want you to know that it’s 100,000,000% okay if you’re struggling with it… How can you NOT struggle with it if it’s happening to you?!
But there is ABSOLUTELY a light at the end of the tunnel, and that’s food freedom! I want you to find food freedom so you can be comfortable in your skin and be able to trust yourself that you’re going to make the right decision no matter what challenges you face. And that takes PRACTICE! And it all starts with asking yourself…
- Does what I’m doing make me happy?
- Does it also make me healthy at the same time?
- What do I need to do to be physically healthy without sabotaging my mental health?
We can use this awareness of your happiness and healthiness to create a sustainable action plan that works for you! Everything you do has to be sustainable if you want it to last in the long run… that way we can actually heal your body image and relationship with food!
TAKEAWAY: YOU CAN STILL LOVE YOURSELF AFTER WEIGHT GAIN
Your body is important, yes – but your weight is such a TINY part of who you are. Like we’ve been saying all along, it’s not about the numbers, it’s about the fact that your body really changed. And I want you to know it’s okay to be struggling with weight gain. It’s okay to take a while getting comfortable in your “new” body. And honestly, in the long run, it’s the least memorable part of your journey. We all gain weight for IMPORTANT reasons physically, mentally, and emotionally. So remember these few things…
Being at your healthy weight means you should be:
- Full of energy
- Full of life
What matters most is:
- Your happiness and positive outlook on life.
- Your relationship with family, friends, and the people closest to you.
- Your freedom to live a life that makes you happy and keeps you healthy.