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How To Know If You Want Fat Loss For Healthy Reasons Or Disordered Eating Reasons

Nov 08, 2022
woman thinking

You want to lose weight but aren’t sure whether it’s your old disordered eating voice speaking or it’s genuine reasons. In this article, we’ll chat about how to discern whether your reasons for weight loss are helpful or harmful.



Before even thinking about fat loss, if you have a history of disordered eating, I would do my best to create as much distance between my current self and that past self.


If you’ve been bingeing, purging, restricting, stressing about food, and obsessing about weight for years - I would make it my main priority to stop all of that (if you need help on that check out the 30 Day Reboot). Not only should you have stopped all of this behaviour but you’ve stopped it for a long time - at LEAST many months, preferably more. 

Ideally, those disordered eating behaviours/thoughts feel like an old version of you - like a lifetime ago. We want you to feel much more relaxed and less stressed with food. You’re no longer in that panicked, rushed state where behaviours and thoughts are fear-driven.

We’re doing this so 1) life is better in general without disordered eating but 2) specific to thinking about fat loss, it ensures that you're as far away as possible from that old, disordered eating version of you. It makes it less likely that your desire to lose fat is ED-driven

If you feel like you really have moved on from that past-life and you DO want to lose some weight*, then move to the next section to dive deeper.

* Also, ensure that if you do want to lose weight, it is suitable for your body to be losing weight i.e. you are not already too thin. In another case, it might be that by the time you’ve distanced yourself from the old-ED self, you might realise that ‘hey, I’m actually fine just as I am and don’t really care to focus on fat loss’.



If you do decide that you want to lose fat, that’s ok. Let’s first look at your feelings and thoughts around this. 

  • Does it feel rushed e.g. ‘I need to lose weight by this deadline!’
  • Does it feel prescriptive e.g. ‘I need to get to exactly this goal weight, nothing less’
  • Does it feel anxiety-inducing e.g. ‘I have to go back to a deficit!!’, ‘what if I regain all the weight??’, ‘I can’t bear to gain more weight!’

If any of the above are coming up for you - fat loss probably isn’t ideal for you at the moment.

Your thoughts can be helpful to analyse but sometimes it can still be unclear whether they are ED-driven or genuine. How can you really trust if the thoughts are genuine or if your old self is convincing yourself that you want fat loss for ‘healthy’ reasons? How can you trust your thoughts?

Sometimes we lie to ourselves. One thing, however, that can’t lie is your body. Your feelings can be very telling if fat loss is for you right now or not. Take a look at:

  • Do you feel a pit in your stomach at the thought of fat loss? 
  • Do you feel dread?
  • Do you feel a knot in your chest?

If so, fat loss isn’t suitable for you just yet.

Or do you feel relaxed about the idea of fat loss - it’s simply a task that you want to take on for a little bit. Do you not feel triggered by the idea of calories, saying ‘no’ to food sometimes, eating more protein?

If so, that’s a more positive sign! We want to enter a fat loss journey from a neutral stance.*


*Note: You might not be 100% untriggered by all of the aforementioned things like calories, your weight, a deficit etc. You might still be working on some of them - that’s ok. No one is perfect. But the idea is we don’t want ALL of these concepts to trigger you because you’ll likely encounter some of them in your fat loss journey.


In SFL, Sustainable Fat Loss, we always offer workarounds and options - you never HAVE to weigh yourself or HAVE to count calories. There are always choices!


*Also note that you may have anxiety-inducing thoughts around fat loss, for example, not because it's your ED-self pushing towards fat loss - it might genuinely be because you've just always had bad experiences with weight loss. E.g. in the past, when your ED was running the show, your fat loss journeys were rushed, extreme, self-loathing. 

And even though now that you're in a better place, you still have these old memories of what fat loss is like. You've never lost fat in a gentle, slow, healthy way. So it would make sense that you feel anxious about fat loss - it's only ever been tortuous for you! So discover where that anxiety is coming from.

Maybe in future, if you do things differently, your fat loss journey wouldn't be anxiety-inducing? Something to ponder! 



The main thing is: are you unattached to weight loss? If you have this feeling of ‘I HAVE to do this. I HAVE to get to that goal weight ASAP’ - then fat loss isn’t for you yet. We want a chilled out, unattached vibe where fat loss isn’t going to take over your entire life. 



To summarise:

  1. Distance yourself as much as you can from ED-type behaviours for as long as you can before approaching fat loss. This helps reduce the likelihood of your desire to lose fat stemming from an unhealthy space. 
  2. Look at the thoughts and feelings around weight loss - especially listening to what your body is telling you. It can’t lie or convince you otherwise. 
  3. If you do decide to move forward with fat loss, check out my course, SFL, specifically made for those who had a difficult relationship with food/body in the past, who are now healed and want to lose fat in a healthy way with a healthy mindset. 



If you’d like a little more clarity on whether SFL is right for you at the moment, do this 2-minute quiz to find out!


With Love,


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