How to deal with the fear of gaining weight after dieting

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How to deal with the fear of gaining weight after dieting

If you want to stop dieting or have just lost a lot of weight, there is a good chance that fear will rear its head: I’m getting fat (again)… Eating behavior expert Carola van Bemmelen shows in this article how this thought leads to more food. Her advice: “Break the habit of always creating your past out of fear, but create your future out of trust and joy.”

Feeding yourself is the only way to peace in your relationship with food.

It’s just a thought!

Especially if you have a huge diet history, it is often a challenge to allow yourself to eat normally again. Chances are you struggle with the fear of becoming fat (again). Yet feeding yourself is the only way to peace in your relationship with food. Know that the fear of getting fat or being fat is “just” a thought. It’s a worry your brain expresses about the future. ‘If you continue like this, you’ll get fat’ or ‘If you eat this, you’ll get fat’ or ‘You won’t succeed, save yourself the disappointment’.

The true function of fear

How to deal with the fear of gaining weight after dieting

Fear seems very meaningful and sometimes it is. Especially if that fear protects you from practical problems in the future. For example, the fear of falling off your bike makes you look good. Or the fear of doing something wrong or spending money unnecessarily makes you think before you act. Your brain makes you afraid to protect you. So you prepare things and take action before problems arise.

When you know what to expect or if you can predict what will happen, you can take precautions and be safe. That is the true function of fear.

Horror scenarios for the future

But the problem is, that your brain predicts the future based on past experiences. So all those things that didn’t work out successfully in the past are the things that worry your brain for the future. And it does that by presenting you with all kinds of horror scenarios.

As a result, you become afraid that you may get results now, but that you will eventually regain all your weight and more. That has always happened in the past. So logical that you think thoughts like: ‘This probably won’t work either…’ ‘I don’t know why this is different.’ “This can never last long.” All these thoughts don’t feel good and that is picked up by your primal brain.

Fortunately, this has a good solution for you: food! And then your brain says to you, “See, this is what keeps happening.”

This is how fear becomes reality

How to deal with the fear of gaining weight after dieting

Fear is always about something in the future. And the future only exists in your brain. It hasn’t happened yet, you just made it up. You may have had a similar experience in the past, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the same now. What you’re worrying about now hasn’t happened yet.

Being afraid of something means that you create a thought that makes you feel unwell and those feelings cause your brain to come up with a solution in the form of food. So if you’re afraid of getting fat, it doesn’t feel right. You will eat through this and eventually you will gain weight. Your fear has become reality.

Exercise: Examine your thoughts

Thoughts (and therefore also fears) have the annoying property of becoming truth. That is why it is important to thoroughly investigate whether what you are afraid of is really a threat at this moment. And to take action only when things pose a threat now or in the near future. You will find the answer by asking yourself:

  • Does the problem exist in my life right now or in the near future?
  • Does it help me think this, prepare me for something important, or prevent an acute problem right now?
  • Is there anything I can do right now to change it?

If the answer to these questions is no, then it’s a good idea to stop worrying about what might-could-be-could-happen in the future.

Creating your future based on trust

How to deal with the fear of gaining weight after dieting

Turn it around: instead of being afraid of getting fat, you can also look forward to feeling good in your body. That you take good care of yourself every day and enjoy life. You will then make very different choices because you feel different. How you choose to think about your future makes things easier now.

When you worry about things that could go wrong in the future, you create feelings right now that determine what you eat now, ultimately making your fear scenario a reality. So stop worrying about the future, and look forward to all the beautiful things that will come to you. That way you break the habit of always creating your past out of fear, but you create your future out of trust and joy.

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