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How To Get Over The Fear Of Gaining Weight

Ditching diets to explore intutive eating and a non-diet approach is liberating, joyful and exciting. Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t love the idea of never having to count calories, track workouts or earn food again? But for most people, the excitement is cut short by a little voice in the back of their head shouting, “but I’m scared of gaining weight”? 

Introducing the food police. 

Better known as your internal monologue that labels food as good or bad, sparks food guilt and is of the resolute opinion that gaining weight is bad, bad, bad. 

We weren’t born with this inner voice. It’s a product of diet culture. Almost a protective mechanism to help us survive in a fat-phobic society. But the problem with the food police is while it might start off innocently, this voice can significantly impact our quality of life, causing intense fear of food, rigid rules and body shame, ultimately affecting our health. 

So how do we politely tell this voice to f*** off so we can take control of our health and overcome our fear of weight gain? 

Well, as much as I’d like to tell you there’s a magic ‘off’ switch to drown out the food police, it’s more about turning down their volume one decibel at a time until they’re on mute. In this article, I’ll explore why it’s normal to feel the way you do and give you 10 tips to overcome the fear of gaining weight. 

Is it normal to be scared of gaining weight?

Yes. It’s so normal and common to be scared of gaining weight. We live in a society that idolises thinness, celebrates weight loss and dismisses people with larger bodies. There’s also the idea that weight gain instantly equals poor health. While there’s an *association* between higher body weight and specific health conditions, it’s not a causation. There’s a big difference. 

While it’s normal to be scared or fearful, there’s no expectation for you to instantly feel okay about the idea that intutive eating may lead to weight gain. Find self-compassion, get curious and take your time to unpack and reframe any beliefs about weight gain and appearance that are no longer serving you.  

Why am I afraid of gaining weight?

Everyone’s fear of weight gain will be unique and specific to their lived experiences. Maybe you have friends or a partner who’s highly critical of your appearance. Perhaps you have an ingrained belief weight gain is unhealthy. Sometimes controlling our weight gives us a sense of control in an otherwise chaotic life. Whatever’s driving your fear of weight gain, know that it’s completely normal and valid. 

10 tips to overcome the fear of gaining weight


The fear of weight gain is one of the most common worries when adopting a non-diet approach. Knowing you’re not alone and your thoughts are not only expected but valid can be comforting. 


It’s also normal if it takes a while to let go of this fear. You may have told yourself every day for forty years that weight gain is terrible. So it will take more than a few positive affirmations to change your beliefs. 


What is the source of *your* fear? Is it trying to protect you from something? Is there a particular story you’re telling yourself about weight gain? Do you hold specific beliefs about larger bodies? Get curious and ask yourself where these beliefs come from and whether they’re fact or fiction. 


Often our fear of weight gain lies in our beliefs about larger bodies. From a young age, diet culture teaches us to see thin as good and fat as bad. Whether it’s a family member commenting on our bodies, public health campaigns or messaging from our favourite Disney movies, they tell us the same story, it’s terrible to gain weight or be in a larger body. 

Over time we start to internalise these messages and develop cognitive distortions about what it means to be in a larger body. What is the story you tell yourself about gaining weight? Does it mean you have failed? Do you believe it’s unhealthy? Do you think it makes you less attractive or desirable? 


How do you talk to yourself? Are you overly critical of yourself? One helpful activity to do this is to think about a friend or family member and visualise how you would speak to them if they had similar thoughts. 


If everything around you, from social media, friends, work colleagues, and even your doctor, is telling you weight gain is wrong, it’s not surprising you’re scared. Start to bring awareness to the information you’re absorbing and challenge it. Again, ask yourself, is this belief I have about weight gain serving me? And is it even true? 


Dieting teaches us to focus externally. Whether tracking calories, judging our appearance or monitoring our weight, we gradually become disconnected and lose trust in our bodies. Can you start to bring awareness to any behaviours or beliefs that keep you disconnected from your body? 


While we might be able to drown out the food police 24/7, we can replace it with the nurturer. This all starts with finding more self-compassion. 


When we look around the dog park, we’ll see a variety of dog breeds, all different shapes and sizes – humans are no different. We’re not designed to all look the same (despite what we’ve been told repeatedly). Acknowledging that genetics play a significant role in your body shape and size and accepting your genetic blueprint can be incredibly liberating. 


Let go of the thin fantasy. What have you told yourself over and over again that you’ll have, do, or achieve when you reach a certain weight? If you’ve told yourself this story for years or decades, it’s natural to feel sad, frustrated or angry at the thought of giving it up. Sitting with these emotions is essential in moving forward and liberating yourself from diet culture. 

What if I can’t ever get rid of my fear of weight gain?

We live in a world fuelled by a diet culture that judges our appearance, so it’s only natural to have bad body image days from time to time. The goal isn’t to remove your fear of weight gain right away or forever but bring awareness to any underlying beliefs and reframe them so this fear no longer has a grip over you and is manageable. 

What’s your fear of weight gain costing you?

  • Intense anxiety when thinking about weight gain
  • Obsession with weight loss
  • Chronic dieting
  • Avoiding social activities with food
  • Negative body image
  • Preoccupation with food 

What happens when you challenge your fear of weight gain 

You get your life back! That’s not an exaggeration. We’ve been led to believe the only way to be healthy is to track our calories, exercise excessively and avoid weight gain. However, this way of thinking (diet culture) has backfired to the point where we’re now obsessed with food, punish ourselves for eating the “wrong” thing and even avoid social occasions due to trust issues around food. 

Once you get over the fear of weight gain to embrace a flexible eating style (still grounded in health), you have space to meet your needs. And, you have so much free time and mental capacity that otherwise would have been taken up by food and our appearance, and this is food freedom. 


As great as it is to overcome your fear of weight gain, it’s okay if you still have a strong desire to lose weight. There’s no judgement here. Remember, this is a process of curiosity often involving decades of unlearning with many questions to unpack and discuss. If you’re ready to get curious, I’m here to listen. Book a free 20-minute discovery call to see how I can help you find body acceptance.  


It might be helpful to gently bring awareness to why you’re scared of gaining weight and seek the assistance of a health professional experienced in body image healing to start unpacking and reframing any beliefs that arise. 


Body positive hashtags 

  • #selfcompassionquotes #dietsdontwork #fuckdietculture #fuckdiets #bodyacceptance #weightinclusive 

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