Today we will work on rewiring a common limiting belief – “People will judge me if I gain weight”
In this post we will talk about:
- Fear of weight gain or fear of what others *think* about our weight gain?
- Why do we worry so much about what others think?
- How to change this limiting belief
Most often fear of weight gain is one of the primary fears in eating disorder recovery. But I would argue that it’s actually more about the fear of what others think.
Because if there would be no other people in this world would we really care that much about our weight gain? If you would be on a deserted island, where nobody will see you, nobody could make comments on your body, nobody that can judge you…would we really care that much about our weight gain? So maybe the biggest fear in recovery is actually worrying about what others think?
Why do we worry so much about what others think?
Humans are social creatures and back in the day our ancestors literally depended on other people’s approval because it was necessary for their survival. If someone was ostracised from their community and left on their own in the wilderness they could literally die. So humans have this need for others’ approval coded into their genes by the evolution.
What I’m saying is that it’s normal to worry about what others think. This helps us to have empathy towards others and to treat others with kindness and respect. It has positive outcomes too. And I think only a psychopath would not care about what others think at all.
BUT… nowadays we are no longer living in caves and our survival is not linked to whether someone judges your body or thinks you should lose weight. Yes on a purely human level it would still hurt, it won’t feel great, but you will survive and you can cope.
And it’s most likely there are people who will still love and accept you as you are. Because emotionally intelligent people won’t make a big deal out of someone’s weight gain. And your loved ones will accept you because of who you are, not because of how your body looks like. And if they don’t, then THEY have big issues in this area, it’s not your problem to fix for them.
I feel it’s helpful to understand why humans have this big fear of rejection and judgment but to also understand that nowadays we are actually not dependent on every individual’s opinion of us. Other people are also projecting their limiting beliefs onto us. They are also victims of the diet culture. They are also just very scared and afraid. But it doesn’t mean you need to adopt their beliefs as your own or that there is nothing you can do about it.
You have 100% power to change your own mindset, thoughts, and beliefs and in return that will change everything for you. Because at the end of the day, your own opinion of yourself is what matters most. If you love and approve of yourself and your body, it’s the best repellent to other people’s fear-filled opinions.
So now let’s start working on this common limiting belief. And a simple process I love to use for this is to challenge and question your thoughts and then reframe them.
Challenging and reframing your beliefs.
1. Write down the limiting belief
And here we already picked a limiting belief to work on: “People will judge me if I gain weight”
2. Challenge the belief
Challenge the belief with questions and try to find a more positive and helpful way to look at this.
For example here are some ways I would challenge this belief:
- Is this really true? Maybe there are people who judge your weight gain, maybe they have made a negative comment about it. But are there also people who still love and accept you just as you are? Or maybe even people who likely don’t care about it much as they have their own stuff to worry about? We often assume that just because we think of ourselves all the time then other people must do it as well. But in reality, other people are more worried about themselves.
- So what if they judge me? Is it really that bad? If someone maybe thinks about me for 1% of their day is it really worth it to let it ruin 100% of my day? Or keep doing those disordered behaviors just so that one person could not have this one random negative thought about me? Is that one person even worth my time and energy? So what if they judge me? SO WHAT? And remember that people who judge others are often the most judgmental towards themselves. There is likely a lot of fear and insecurity behind it and instead, you can feel some compassion towards them. They are just lost and scared and probably don’t love themselves either.
- Is it true that people shouldn’t judge? Because very often we have limiting beliefs inside limiting beliefs. The belief that “People will judge me if I gain weight” reflects a whole another limiting belief that says “people shouldn’t judge”. But what if people SHOULD judge? What if it’s part of our evolution and humanity. It can come from this same evolutionary fear we talked about earlier. I think if we can accept the fact that people should judge we can also find a lot of liberation in that. Instead of trying to avoid judgment or trying to be “perfect” at all times. That is an exhausting way to live. If you keep believing that people shouldn’t judge it’s a battle you will never win.
- And you could also turn the belief back to yourself and ask “Am I judging my own weight gain?” Because this is what it’s most likely about. Very often we are triggered by something if it’s met by a belief that we already have about ourselves. You can’t expect others to not do something while you keep on doing the same thing. Because if you truly did not have this belief – that your weight gain means something bad about you – then other people’s judgments or opinions wouldn’t matter as much. If you accept and love yourself it’s the best armor against other people’s negative opinions. Yes on a purely human level it can hurt if someone says a nasty comment, but if you love yourself you are able to support and comfort yourself, be your own best friend, you would not be as affected by it. But the big problem with other people’s judgment is that you believe it’s true. This is why it affects you so much – because you already have a belief that confirms it. And this is something you need to work on. We can’t change other people or their beliefs but we can change our own thoughts, perceptions, and beliefs and that makes the biggest difference when it comes to dealing with the judgment of others.
And by the way, I have whole video series about self-love practices if you are interested. See more HERE.
And the last step is to reframe the old belief into a new more helpful belief.
If the old belief was “People will judge me if I gain weight” then now, based on all the ways we challenged this belief, I would reframe it to something like:
“I can’t control what other people think but I can control what I think and believe about myself and this is something I can continue to work on. And even if some person judges me it’s not worth my time and energy to try to endlessly fix myself to confirm that they are right. It’s most important what I think of myself and nobody can dictate how I can feel about myself because it’s only my job”
I hope you found this post helpful!
If you want to learn more about recovery and how to do it step by step then please read my book “BrainwashED”
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