The #1 fear holding most people back from starting intuitive eating is weight gain. And while I love the spotlight that social media is giving intuitive eating right now it doesn't give you the full picture of the intuitive eating process. So, in this post, I'm going to breakdown the truth about intuitive eating weight gain so you can have a better idea of what to expect.
Intuitive eating goes hand in hand with the set point weight theory. (Be sure to give my set point weight theory blog post a read if you're saying "That WHAT theory!?") But, in short, it means the weight that your body wants to be at and where it feels most comfortable. We can't just pick a random number and say "Yep! That weight will feel great for me!" Doesn't work like that.
Will I Experience Intuitive Eating Weight Gain?
While no one can tell you the exact outcome of your set point weight, you can get an idea if you're above or below it (again, see that blog post to find out! BUT.... that doesn't mean that if you think you're above your set point weight you're going to start losing right away.
In all honesty, I feel like most people DO feel like they gain "weight" at first regardless of where their set point weight may lie. Why? Because any time we change anything in the way we eat, what we put into our tummies, it takes us some time to adjust. So, having a little bit of bloating and feeling larger is normal. This is the side that you DON'T see on social media. The process side. But, since no one really talks about this they feel this and then start running for the hills back to dieting.
But regardless if the weight gain is temporary or permanent, it doesn't really matter, to be honest. Weight gain is not bad. If your body needs it, it will happen.
Overshooting Intuitive Eating Weight Gain
Overshooting weight gain when starting intuitive eating is another thing no one really talks about. And, honestly? I'd say it happens to a lot of people. What I mean by this is that even if we're below our set point weight it's common to gain more weight and go above your set point weight. A lot of girlfriends will tell me "Okay.. I have no food rules but I don't FEEL good...how can I find balance?! Well, the work isn't done!
When you let go of your food rules it's common to feel like you're going "overboard" (spoiler: you're not. Especially if you're dealing with extreme hunger.) and eat more than our bodies need, causing some weight gain. Now, this is super common when going about it in the "all in" way and breaking all of your food rules at once because you're introducing so many new things to your stomach at once. It may get a little upset, bloat more, and try to adjust as best it can.And while there is nothing wrong with this, it's not what I teach. Inside my membership, The SociEATy, I teach you to break your food rules one by one instead of all at once. Not to limit what you're eating or the amounts. Cause, goodness knows you need food and lots of it! But to not feel like you have to eat ALL of your fear foods at once. It's okay to work slower. This is what I did and I really feel like it did help with adjusting to the process of living without food rules.
In the SociEATy there are 5 stages you go through and the 4th stage is gentle nutrition. This is where you've broken your food rules, have worked on body image, and are now ready to apply some nutrition without obsession so you can FEEL great, too. So so many people skip this step because, well, it's scary! We're terrified of food rules creeping back in! But, I show you how to do it stress-free.
But, If I Gain Weight Won't It Increase My Set Point Weight?
Another common, common question I get is "Well, If I overshoot then lose weight to reach my set point weight, is that even possible? Won't that increase my set point weight?" We've become SO fearful of increasing our set point weights that we're scared even on day of under eating will increase it. And that's just not true. I mean, think about it. We get the stomach bug and can have poor intake for a few days, that's not going to increase it! Increasing our set point weight doesn't come from short bouts or small deficits, it comes from those yo-yo fad diets!! You'll get where you need to be, even if that's weight loss.
At the end of the day I want you to set your fears of intuitive eating weight gain to the side. Actually, kick them to the curb if you can! And know this, girlfriend: You'll get where you need to be. You'll get to a weight you FEEL amazing at- mentally AND physically. A weight you don't need to micromanage. A weight you can maintain effortlessly within a range. You can. And you will.
If you haven't yet taken the No Food Rules Quiz, be sure to do so! This will tell you what's holding you back from breaking your food rules and give you a customized workbook to help overcome them. It's a FAB place to get started with finding food freedom!!
Happy food rule breaking!!
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