Want Intuitive Eating But Know It’ll Make You GAIN WEIGHT?Jul 27, 2022
Do you really want to move towards or continue practicing Intuitive Eating but you just KNOW it’ll make you gain weight…and you don’t want that?
I’ve heard the same sentiment from hundreds of people. It’s the key fear holding people back from fully diving into intuitive eating and having it actually work for them.
This struggle is completely understandable as you’ve likely been trying to manage your weight for a long time - potentially causing you to fall into the binge-restrict cycle. And now the very solution to the binge-restrict cycle is intuitive eating…which can cause weight gain.
I’m here to help you with this valid concern. Let’s get into it!
HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU’LL GAIN WEIGHT WITH INTUITIVE EATING?
Let’s start with this: do you actually even know for sure that you will gain weight with intuitive eating? Even if you’ve already gained some in the early stages of intuitive eating, how do you know it will continue?
While the fear is understandable - many people do talk about their weight gain experience in intuitive eating - but you actually don’t even know if it’ll happen! Many people also maintain weight or even lose weight in intuitive eating! So worrying about something that might not even happen is a waste of time.
Worse than a waste of time though, it can massively hinder your ability to practice intuitive eating. You might be half in, half out - not truly lifting restrictions or giving yourself unconditional permission.
WHY DO YOU THINK YOU’LL GAIN WEIGHT WITH INTUITIVE EATING?
Looking into why you think you’ll gain weight can offer some valuable insights too.
Have you been under-eating for years, always trying to lose weight? That may have caused metabolic adaptation where your body adapts to a lower amount of calories (to protect you).
So it makes sense that if you’re trying to lean into intuitive eating and you begin to truly honour your hunger cues and what your body needs, you may start eating more food regularly. That amount of food might be more than your metabolic rate (that had slowed from chronic dieting).
The key takeaway with this? You clearly need to be eating more! Stepping into intuitive eating is so important for you and long-term, sustainable health. Yes, you might gain some weight - but your metabolism is going to adapt to this new, higher amount of calories. It won’t happen overnight, but it will adapt. It will all work out though!
WHY ELSE MIGHT YOU BE GAINING WEIGHT WITH INTUITIVE EATING?
Maybe you’ve been restricting so much over the years, both mentally and physically, that when you do practice unconditional, full permission in intuitive eating, you might go overboard for a while. You may practice Food Habituation with intuitive eating and ‘fail’ for a while i.e. binge or over-eat. That’s ok though! It’s all part of the process!
Who wouldn’t go overboard with the chocolate if they’d told themselves for years you’re only allowed one piece - and then suddenly said ‘right, you can have as much as you want! Zero guilt!’!
It’s going to be worth it though because these tools really do work. They take a little bit of practice. Your body and mind needs time to desensitize to such foods that have been forbidden for years.
It’s going to work out when you’re not bingeing anymore, not stressing and obsessing about food anymore. The very things causing weight oscillations, like bingeing, will be alleviated by intuitive eating.
INTUITIVE EATING ISN’T ‘OMG I’LL JUST EAT PIZZA AND CAKE NON-STOP IF I CAN EAT WHATEVER I WANT’
I know there’s that fear of, ‘well, if intuitive eating means lifting restrictions and rules, then surely I’ll just eat all of the delicious foods like cake and pizza forever and gain tons of weight’.
But it truly never ends that way! Yes, as mentioned earlier, when you initially lift restrictions, sometimes it’s exciting and you do eat lots of those kinds of foods. But! It doesn’t last forever or even for that long.
In practicing intuitive eating, you’ll also be listening to how your body feels - and you’ll notice that purely living on those foods doesn’t feel that great physically. You will start to find balance with food - you’ll start craving fresher meals, lighter meals, veggies, whole-grains, etc.
So you’ll notice the general theme here is: yes, there might be a blip at the start where you gain some weight - but it’s all going to work out long-term.
INTUITIVE EATING MEANS LISTENING TO HUNGER AND FULLNESS CUES
One key principle of intuitive eating is listening to your body. A specific tool I teach in the 30 Day Reboot is tuning into your hunger and fullness cues more often. If you’re practicing this pretty well, it’s unlikely that you’ll be gaining tons of weight in intuitive eating.
Of course, it’s takes practice at the beginning, and if you had been severely under-eating for a long time, then listening to those fullness cues might be weight gain (as mentioned earlier) - but again, you WILL find balance and stability if you trust the process.
BUT I AM ALREADY GAINING WEIGHT WITH INTUITIVE EATING
What if you already know you’ll gain weight with intuitive eating because you already ARE?
Remember that most of the weight gain from intuitive eating (if any), usually happens at the beginning and then tapers out. So keep going with this! Keep practicing listening to hunger and fullness cues, keep ensuring you’re not emotionally eating too often, keep intuitive movement happening.
If you’re doing all of these things and still gaining weight - it’s a sign that your metabolism is adapting to this new higher calorie count. This will take some time but you’ll get there. And it was needed!
I ALREADY WEIGHT A LOT AND CAN’T HANDLE MORE WEIGHT GAIN - THE BENEFITS OF INTUITIVE EATING DON’T OUTWEIGH THE FURTHER CHRONIC PAIN AND LIMITED MOBILITY FROM WEIGHT GAIN
I had this exact question recently on a TikTok video. And I completely understand it. When I weighed 25kg more than I do now - I didn’t find it enjoyable. Obviously my weight could have been much higher, but even at 25kg up, I noticed lots of physical difficulties.
Even simple things like bending over to tie my laces felt hindered, getting up off the floor felt heavy, going up stairs tired me easily, and the chafing between my thighs was unbearable. It stopped me from wanting to do things like go to the beach or go on runs.
What I will say though is that EVEN if you do gain a bit more weight with intuitive eating, trust the process because this does work. It’s going to pay off long-term massively when you get rid of your bingeing, the binge-diet cycle, emotional eating etc. When you get to listen to your body, eat generally healthier because you’re not bingeing on high-sugar, high-fat foods constantly, when you’re moving more intuitively - it will work out.
Your body wants health. It wants to be healthy. Your body doesn’t want to be in chronic pain and having limited mobility. So if your weight is causing that, your body probably doesn’t want to be at that weight. Once you deal with the binge-eating and move towards intuitive eating, it’s going to create space for your body to be able to release weight muchhhh easier than being in this eternal battle of binge - lose weight - binge - lose weight.
I hope this has given you some reassurance to keep trusting the intuitive eating process - it works! That potential blip in weight gain will all be worth it when a few months down the line you feel free with food! And remember nothing is permanent so that weight gain may always shift too.
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