If you have been stuck in the pattern of dieting your entire life, there can be a lot of fear in the thought of letting it go. A lot of people worry that they will never stop gaining weight or lose all control around food. And while I will explain what will happen when you begin your journey to food freedom and body neutrality, I do want to say this is a valid fear.
The reality is, many of us have tried to let go of dieting and feel that just that happened. However, not only is the response normal, but I am going to guess that you have never let go of control for more than a few months or so. I bet that you would stop dieting, feel as though you are binging on all the foods, find your clothes fitting a bit tighter or that the number on the scale is a bit higher, and out of shame, retreat back to dieting. Eventually, you get tired, and this pattern becomes cyclical. So, let’s discuss what happens if you choose to stay the course the next time you decide to leave diets behind.
First, feeling as though you are completely out of control around food is normal. Your body processes diets in the same manner it processes famine. So, if it is demanding that you eat all the foods, its because it fears they will one day be unavailable again. The best thing you can possibly do to regulate your hunger and reconnect with your fullness cues is giving yourself unconditional permission to eat. This allows your body to rebuild trust with you.
Finding the joy and freedom in food can take time, and the amount of time will vary from person to person. However, after a certain amount of time, food begins to lose its power and allure. That chocolate cake tastes ten times better after you have been restricting for the past three years, than it will if you allow yourself to eat it every day. In fact, it may even become unappetizing.
And although I am sure it is helpful to hear some of these things, I think what stops most people is the fear of weight gain. So, what will happen to your weight? The reality is, there is no guarantee as to what will happen. You may gain weight, maintain weight, or even lose weight. There is nothing certain about entering a stage of life where all foods are welcomed, and you become more in tune with your body’s needs. The one thing you can know for sure, though, is you will not gain weight forever. Your body will settle into its set weight range, or a place that is easy to maintain whilst living in complete food freedom.
I do encourage you to hold space for the fear of the unknown, but also ask that you become curious about what you already know. Instead of asking, “what will happen to my weight if I stop dieting?” ask, “what will happen to my spirit or quality of life if I continue dieting?” Even if you gain weight, you can still lead an incredibly successful and amazing life. However, if you remain stuck in these cycles, is it possible to truly enjoy all life has to offer?
At the end of the day, as long as you’re alive, your body and weight will fluctuate. Your body goes through its seasons. This is perfectly okay, and life is much more enjoyable when you seek to find peace in this, rather than criticize.