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Can Intuitive Eating Really Work If You're Afraid of Gaining Weight?

intuitive eating Jul 04, 2022

Many women struggle with their weight and their relationship to food. Some can be "intuitive eaters," while others find that they can't stop fearing that they'll gain weight if they don't vigilantly track every morsel. If you're one of the latter, don't worry – there's still hope!

Intuitive eating can still work for you, as long as you're willing to put in some effort. In this article, I share how intuitive eating can work for you if you're afraid of gaining weight.


Why Intuitive Eating Doesn't Involve Counting Calories or Dieting

If you're sick and tired of counting calories and following restrictive diets, then intuitive eating may be for you. Intuitive eating is all about listening to your body's hunger cues and eating in response to them. Intuitive eaitng means eating when you're hungry and stopping when you're satisfied, without worrying about whether the food is "good" or "bad." Instead of focusing on what you can't have, intuitive eating allows you to enjoy all sorts of foods without guilt or shame.

Intuitive eating can be a liberating experience, especially if you've been stuck in the diet mentality for a long time. It's a chance to reconnect with your body and mind and learn to trust your instincts about food.


How the Fear of Weight Gain Can Impact Your Intuitive Eating Journey

Even though intuitive eating is all about listening to your body's hunger and fullness signals, this can be difficult for some people. For example, if you're afraid of gaining weight, you might constantly be second-guessing yourself about whether or not you're hungry. As a result, you might eat more than you need or deprive yourself of food altogether.

If you're struggling to eat intuitively, it's important to remember that everyone's body is different. The key is to focus on how you feel after eating. Rather than on how much food is on your plate. If you're satisfied and comfortable, then you've probably eaten enough. Trust your body, and permit yourself to enjoy food without guilt or fear.


4 Tips for Eating Intuitively When You Fear Weight Gain

 Tip #1: Focus on the Benefits of Eating Intuitively
Intuitive eating can be challenging. You're constantly bombarded with images of thin people and told that you must be on a diet. It's no wonder that so many people struggle with the concept of intuitive eating, especially if they are in larger bodies. However, there are many benefits to intuitive eating. For example, intuitive eaters tend to have better body satisfaction and improved self-esteem.[1] They are also more likely to focus on their body's response to food and as a result, make healthier food choices.[2] So, if you're struggling with intuitive eating because you're afraid of gaining weight, try focusing on the other benefits of the approach. You may find that eating more intuitively gives you the motivation to live a healthier lifestyle.


Tip #2: Be Patient With Yourself

Being patient with yourself is essential if you're new to intuitive eating. You are learning to listen to your body and honor your hunger cues. And even when you think you've got the hang of it, there may be days (or even weeks) when it feels like you're totally off track. But the good news is that there's no such thing as failing at intuitive eating. Every meal is an opportunity to practice, and every misstep is simply a chance to learn and grow. So if you find yourself eating more than you intend one day or skipping meals another, remind yourself that you're on a journey. And each step of the way will bring you closer to your goal of attaining a healthy, balanced relationship with food.


Tip #3: Seek Out Support

Remember that you're not alone! There are plenty of other people out there who are also working on eating intuitively, and they can be a great source of support. First, there are tons of different online communities dedicated to intuitive eating. A quick search on social media or Google will help you find them. Second, if you know anyone already practicing intuitive eating, reach out to them and see if they're willing to chat or provide support. And, third a professional can also be an excellent resource for learning about and practicing intuitive eating. In essence, reaching out for support is a great way to ease your fears and progress with intuitive eating. So don't be afraid to ask for help!


Tip #4: Remember That There Is No Right Way to Eat

There is no "right" or "wrong" way to eat, as long as you listen to your body and honor its needs. If you're afraid of weight gain, remember that your body is capable of incredible things - it knows how to regulate its weight, so trust it! I know there is a temptation to go back to dieting the moment you start seeing the weight go up on the scale. Don't give in to that temptation. Remember that intuitive eating is all about listening to your body's cues and giving it what it needs when it needs it. So if you're unsure about what or how much to eat, tune in and ask yourself what would feel good at this moment. Chances are, your body will know the answer.


So, Where Will You Begin?

As this article has shown, intuitive eating is a process of learning to trust your body and honor your hunger and fullness cues. It can be challenging for some people, especially if they are afraid of gaining weight. I hope these four tips have helped you overcome the fear of weight gain so that you can make intuitive eating a part of your lifestyle. Which tip will you implement first? Let me know in the comments.



  1. Logel, C., Stinson, D. A., & Brochu, P. M. (2015). Weight loss is not the answer: A well-being solution to the “obesity problem.” Social & Personality Psychology Compass, 9(12), 678– 695. https://doi.org/10.1111/spc3.12223
  2. Bacon, L., & Aphramor, L. (2011). Weight science: Evaluating the evidence for a paradigm shift. Nutrition Journal, 10, 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-10-9