Navigating the Emotional Rollercoaster of Weight ChangesMay 02, 2023
Equip yourself with everything you need to handle the challenges of weight gains and losses on your journey to body acceptance.
Dive into "Navigating the Emotional Rollercoaster of Weight Changes," an empowering episode of Self-Guided.
- Understanding the emotions behind weight changes: shame, guilt, and anxiety
- Learn how our thoughts and beliefs create emotional reactions to weight changes.
- Discover tailored approaches for mindset ninjas, physically attuned individuals, emotional champions, and cosmically connected people to navigate body image challenges.
- The ONE strategy for everyone
- Extra opportunity for leaders
You can listen to the full episode HERE
Welcome everyone to Self-Guided season two, episode three, “Navigating the Emotional Rollercoaster of Weight Changes”. In this episode, we’re talking about what’s behind the shame, guilt, and anxiety that often accompany fluctuations in our weight. I’ll also offer coping strategies for navigating the emotional ups and downs of your body image journey. So let’s talk weight changes!
The Emotional Rollercoaster of Weight Changes
Weight changes, whether an increase or decrease, can trigger a range of emotions, such as shame, guilt, and anxiety, which can significantly impact an individual's sense of self-worth. Let’s talk about how this happens from a mindset perspective. When you take notice of a weight gain, why is it that a number on a scale would make us feel shame, guilt, anxiety. Well technically, it doesn’t what creates those emotions is what you make it mean that your weight is now 10 lbs more or less than it used to be.
If you make it mean you’re obviously a fraud because a successful woman in your industry doesn’t gain or lose weight like that then of course that’s the sort of thinking that will create shame.
If you attribute your self-worth to the number on that scale then again you’re likely to live with the constant anxiety that your weight can’t change because then you wouldn’t be worthy anymore.
I remember going through coach training and doing the module called “stop overeating” just because I wanted to live the work, really try it all. Well what I noticed for myself is that I started attributing whether or not I was a good student of coaching and therefore worthy of calling myself a coach to what the number on the scale said because I used it as a representation of my value as student and future coach. The two are completely unrelated unless you decide that they are and then that’s when weight fluctuations trigger emotions and fuel that keep you from being seen in your own life. Small note here, the deciding that it means anything, is often unconscious.
In fact back when I was mentoring and helping news coaches, I often coached coaches who had a stunning success with their own weight loss journey, who then decided to be a weight loss coach, which makes so much sense, they’ve gone through it themselves, they also have the skills to help their clients because of their training. I mean they were perfectly placed to do the work they wanted to do in the world. Unfortunately, our coaching sessions often revolved around feeling like an imposter and having shame at not being at their goal weight or at the weight of those dang beauty standards.
I know a lot of coaches listen to my podcast and if this is you, know that you are not an imposter, you are already successful. I know sometimes in the coaching world we hear things like “your results proves how well you do your work” especially in the mindset world. Yes, yes it does AND you get to decide where you draw the line. This culture within our world is not doing you any favours if you are using it against yourself. What’s really unfortunate here is the rollercoaster you end up being on as your weight changes. It doesn’t have to be this way.
That brings me to what do you do when you are on that rollercoaster as your weight fluctuates?
Coping Strategies for Weight-Related Body Image Issues
Let’s use your current strengths to help you decide which of the following coping strategies to play with first. If you don’t know what your strength is, you’ll want to take the Body Image Boosting Rituals quiz that’s on my website to find out (there are instructions at the end of this episode).
The four possible strengths are physical, mental, emotional and energetic. Let’s start with all of you mindset ninjas out there. You could try one of these 2 options:
- Separate Fact from Story: Write down what you think of your weight. Highlight what the facts are - that would be the number on the scale or inches if you’re measuring. What you are left with is what you made those facts mean, or the Story you’re telling yourself. How can you add some kindness to that story one little bit at a time?
- Education: Learn about body diversity, weight stigma, and how societal standards of beauty have evolved over time to develop a broader perspective on body image and in turn help to challenge your current thinking around it.
If however you are physically attuned, consider these 3 options:
- Engage in regular physical activity: Find enjoyable activities that focus on how your body feels through movement rather than how it looks in movement.
- Mindful eating: Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues that come from your body and not your mind, the focus is being shifted to communicating with your body about its needs and not on gaining or losing weight.
Now for all of you emotional champions, you might want to try the next 2 options:
- Emotional expression: Share feelings and concerns related to body image with a trusted friend, family member, or therapist to process emotions and receive support.
- Turn to art: Find your ways of moving through your emotions using art as a vehicle ie: dance it out, write it out, draw it out.
And if you are in the cosmically connected camp, maybe these 2 options will speak to your soul a little more:
- Cultivate gratitude: Spend a moment bringing up gratitude for your body, allow that feeling to emanate from you and stay in that a little bit each day.
- Set your intention: set a loving intention for yourself first thing in the morning that has a little more compassion for your body and trust that you will walk that path during the day. You can also check-in in the evening and thank yourself for the ways in which you embodied the intention that day.
Remember, it is essential to be patient with yourself, as change takes time, and progress may vary for each person.
In the future, you might even be able to spot the entrance to the rollercoaster and plan how you can support yourself as you ride the rollercoaster based on what helped the previous time. Kind of neat.
The ONE strategy
The one strategy, if we can call it that, that would apply to each and every person is to accept your body at through every stage. In order to do that, I invite you jot down what your weight has been over the years. You decide the parameters here but if I were to do it I might choose only weights starting in adulthood just because that seems reasonable to me and not the most arduous of tasks. I would pick just before having my first kid and then various points until now. Jot up to 5 points and then ask yourself what would accepting my body at each of those points look like? You can consider how you’d talk to yourself, how you’d dress, how you’d move, how you’d make decisions for yourself and your body. Only answer the prompts that speak to you and only as many as you feel is useful to you. I want to remind you that if this exercise seems too much or too soon for you, please just don’t do it. Honour yourself above any recommendation or tips I might give, always.
Extra opportunity for leaders
Now if you are a leader of any kind, have your own business or maybe you’re a life coach then I believe we have an opportunity to make an impact for future generations and so I have a challenge for you: How can you promote body inclusivity in your community? I say we can be the example of the person who takes care to accept and appreciate their body however it is now with weight gains and losses. Whatever you do, don’t stop showing up, sharing your message.
If you find that hard to do, I get it and I’m preparing something specifically designed with you in mind so stay tuned.
It’s so good to first, recognize that when your weight changes, it’s totally normal to go through a rollercoaster of emotion and second that we have so much power in how we navigate the rollercoaster. I hope you’ll experiment with the different coping strategies I offered today and to pick the first one you might try based on your strengths.
As you continue on your body confidence journey, remember to be patient with yourself, and don't hesitate to experiment with the coping strategies mentioned in this episode. Your journey is unique, and it’s essential to honor yourself and your needs above all else.
Thank you so much for spending your time with me today, until next time.
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