Being Okay with Weight Gain in Recovery

“I’m scared to stop restricting because I’m terrified of the weight gain…”

body positive swimsuit model swimco
My body in recovery - during a Body Positive campaign with Swimco

Let’s acknowledge you’re not afraid of the weight you might gain - but you’re fearful of losing thin privilege in a society that gives social currency to people who can fit in society's narrow "ideals".

When you say you're scared, what you're really deep down saying is that you’re fearful of the possible looks, harmful comments or labelling you may receive from our fat phobic, weight-stigmatizing society. Acknowledge that fear and know we CAN and ARE rebelling against this old way of thinking. Smashing diet culture is vital for the overall health and improvement of our society - for ALL people who live in it!

Here's some ways to help:

⁃ Know your body has a set-point weight range that it wants to be at - where it allows your body and mind to function at its optimal level.

⁃ Know you CAN improve your health and quality of life with an approach to self-care that is both life enhancing and sustainable. (Unlike many of the messages and tips we are taught to scare us into falling into the narrow “ideal” of health).

What are some ways we can better handle weight gain in recovery?

  1. Express your emotional and psychological needs, often we eat or engage in restricting behaviours to cope with these unsettling thoughts and feelings.

  2. Get new clothes that fit your recovering body. (I acknowledge this is a privilege).

  3. Repeat your reasons why recovery and a healthy body and mind are important to you. Also, why is it important for your loved ones and those around you?

  4. Be mindful of what your looking at when you are feeling down about your body.

  5. Acknowledge what your body does for you. What it's are functions, how it is a vehicle to live your life, etc.

  6. Avoid body checking and body pinching. These behaviours often go unnoticed and are extremely psychologically harmful.

  7. Work on letting your tummy breathe. Focus on the air expand in and out of your lungs. Allow yourself to connect and feel calm in your body.

Before we go, I also want to acknowledge my thin privilege as a self-love and body image coach. I also admit I use to play a part in our fat phobic society by reinforcing the ideals before my recovery.

orthorexia eating disorder recovery bulimia thin privilege
My body before - obsessed with working out and eating "right".

My recovered body now (my set-point weight) is still considered to be ‘normal’ by most societal standards. This also means I do not receive the type of hate, stigma, or bullying that so many others in larger bodies receive on a daily basis. We all know this is not okay! It's important we do our part to interrupt negative and harmful dialogues that contribute to weight-stigma and fat phobia, so we can all live happier, healthier lives - not just the select few who are perceived to have the "willpower" to earn it.