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How to fight the fear of weight gain and it’s impact on fertility

Why are we afraid of being fat?

The fear of weight gain is very real! We are conditioned from a young age to believe that our bodies are only worthy if they are thin. Fat people are assumed to be greedy, lazy, unmotivated, stupid……the list goes on, is it any wonder that we fear gaining weight?

But what if that assumption wasn’t true? What if beig fat actually meant nothing about our health and our fertility? So much research is coming out now to support the idea that fat isn’t bad and that being in a bigger body isn’t the death sentence we’ve been told to fear!

[To learn more: Read Body Respect by Bacon & Aphramor and Anti Diet by Christy Harrison]

 

What is the impact of any weight gain?

The impact of any weight that you will gain, either during lockdown, or at any time on your fertility is zero. Weight is not an indicator of your health.

But the worry about weight gain? Panicing about the weight you’ve already gained or the weight that you might gain?

That is going to impact your stress levels and increase your anxiety. This can lead to increases in general inflammation in your body, which we know aren’t helpful for health and fertility.

What can we do about weight gain?

We don’t need to take any action about the weight, you don’t need to go on any crash diets, but what we can do is support our mental health to reduce the fear and stress around the idea of weight gain.

 

Stop weighing yourself. This may be a super hard step if you are used to weighing yourself everyday or maybe even multiple times a day but it’s not helpful. Our weight is meant to flucuate throughout the day, our menstrual cycle and our lives. We are not meant to be the same weight we were at 19. We make that number mean so much about who we are. But the truth is that number on the scale means nothing about how “good” you are or your worth as a human being or parent.

 

Remove any stigmatising language around food. Language matters and using words like good/bad, healthy/unhealthy, treats etc etc when we talk about food means that we are making them mean something about us. When we eat “good” food, we tell ourselves the story that we are good for eating them. Food is just food. No one food is better than any other, they are just provide different building blocks for our body. Try to notice what language you use around food and what you make it mean about you.

 

Make daily choices that support your wellbeing in all it’s form. We’ve used weight for so long to indicate how healthy we are but it tells us absolutely nothing. It’s far more useful to use important health indicators to inform the decisions we make about our health daily.

For example, how much energy you have. If you are knackered every day, find daily habits that improve your energy and how you feel.

If you struggle to get to sleep, find daily habits that support your sleep.

These habits are going to look different for everyone, but research shows that health-promoting behaviours, the things you do every day, are the things that have the positive impact on your health markers, regardless of how your weight changes.

Some examples of health-promoting behvaiours you can consider are:

  • getting enough rest
  • drinking enough water
  • eating foods that make your body feel good
  • finding a way to joyfully move your body.

NOTE: If you are worried about weight gain from the perspective of being able to access healthcare, this is a very real concern. Contact your healthcare provider for their input so that you can be fully informed.

We don’t need to fear the impact that weight gain will have on our fertility, only the toxic ideals about weight that society places on us.

 

Written By Nicola

Nicola is a fat-positive fertility coach and author of “Fat and Fertile”. She helps fat folks navigate getting pregnant in a weight-obsessed world and advocates for change in how fat people are treated whilst accessing help with their fertility. Nicola uses her unique fat positive framework to support people in finding their own version of health without diets, advocate for their bodies, relearn how to trust their body and believe in their ability to get pregnant.

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