Like most young girls in their adolescent years, I had a fear of being fat. A study conducted by researchers at the University of College London and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that two out of three 13-year old girls have a fear of gaining weight. I have struggled with this fear for most of my life. A few years ago I began facing it head on.
I wasn’t happy with the way I was eating or my exercise habits. I wanted more, I wanted to enjoy food and take my knowledge of nutrition and incorporate it into the foods I was eating. I didn’t want to be a Registered Dietitian that ate little to no fruits or vegetables every day. I wanted to practice what I preached. I knew I had to target my fear of gaining weight in order to be happier with my career choice and my daily food and activity choices. I focused on the following five areas that were perpetuating my fear to overcome it.
Every New Year I would set a goal
I started changing my goals so that I was getting more out of them. Instead of losing weight, I challenged myself to complete a 30 Day Yoga Challenge, learn how to do handstands, to participate in 5 kilometer runs and to complete a “100 Happy Days” challenge. These goals were not only more meaningful but when I accomplished them, I felt proud of myself. The focus was no longer on my weight, but on my physical and mental abilities.
For a large majority
I challenged myself for an entire month to search my local supermarket for one new food to try each day. I discovered 30 new foods, some I liked and some I disliked. This challenge helped me see past the foods that I clung to for survival. I was able to see the variety of foods we are blessed with. I’m no longer scared to try new foods and food doesn’t equal weight gain to me anymore.
The foods that I clung onto for so long were easy to make, they were simple and required little to no time in the kitchen. This took a lot of the thought process out of my food choices. I simply reached my cupboard for cereal or made a quick grilled cheese. As long as the scale stayed the same, I didn’t question it much.
Once I started challenging myself to try
I had spurts where I would be in and out of gyms. I never really enjoyed going to the gym but I did it because I had an overwhelming desire to lose weight. However, since I could never consistently keep going back to the gym, I never saw much improvement. I had a love/hate relationship with fitness.
It wasn’t until a friend told me about a local Zumba class in town that I decided to try. Zumba was completely different from anything I had tried, I loved it! The loud music, the feeling of community and a no judgement space. I had such a love
No Judgement Zone
I was always so obsessed with my own weight that I rarely gave much thought or mention to others’ weight. However, I would always feel a sting inside when a friend or co-worker would make fun of someone we saw. I knew what it felt like to be insecure and to be picked on.
I made a pact with myself that I wouldn’t judge others’ weight. I began speaking up when I heard someone say something about others and I removed myself from the situation. I didn’t want to surround myself with people that made my fears and insecurities worse. It’s important that if you are trying to overcome an obsession with your body that you learn not to judge others for the same thing.
My obsession with my weight and my fear of gaining weight is nothing compared to what it used to be. I would be lying if I said it was completely gone. Each day I make conscious