In my opinion, the ‘Gaining Weight is Cool’ hashtag (#GainingWeightIsCool) is one of the best things to happen to social media. Rather than kicking off the New Year reading about everyone’s weight loss goals, my news feed was filled with individuals coming together and sharing how gaining weight (a highly sensitive subject) has positively impacted their lives.
After eating in a surplus for 3 months and watching the scale increase by almost 10 lbs. I should feel like the coolest cat around! However, regardless of how ‘cool’ gaining weight has become, it doesn’t make the process any easier. I think I speak for anybody coming out of a deficit when I say this, but gaining weight is HARD. The past few months I’ve been frustrated. Frustrated with the number on the scale, frustrated with food, and frustrated with my body image. I’ve had to overcome more mental hurdles than I’d like to admit, and have had to finds ways to be comfortable during an uncomfortable transition.
The biggest things I’ve had to learn is how to stop associating the number on the scale with how I feel I look. During a dieting phase it’s easy to become confident as you watch the scale go down. You see a decrease in body fat, increased muscle definition, and lines you didn’t even know existed. Low weigh-ins become associated with a harder, “better” look thus making you more confident in the process and in yourself. Weekly decreases become the norm and provide a sense of accomplishment as you are working toward your goals. Fast forward 6 months after the dieting phase is over and everything we just talked about flips.
The new goal is to transition out of a caloric deficit, restore hormonal balance, and gain a healthy amount of body fat. The problem that arises here is that all of the thought processes ingrained during a dieting phase are still present. Although the goal now is to gain weight and transition into a healthier lifestyle while watching the scale go up, we find a sense of guilt associated with high weigh-ins. The question is, how do we go about breaking this cycle? Here are some of the things I’ve done and what I’ve found to be most helpful:
- Wear looser fitting clothes – I’m well aware of how silly this one sounds, but it has honestly been a huge part of how I’ve found comfort during this time. There are some mornings I wake up feeling bloated and fluffy (did we mention how hormones are restored during a surplus?). After I weigh in, before I can develop any associations with the number on the scale and how I feel or look, I throw on a big shirt and whatever makes me most comfortable.
- Create goals that aren’t physique oriented – for me this has been creating strength goals and more goals outside of the gym.
- Stay off social media – nobody wants to scroll and constantly see photos of people who are deep in their dieting phase. Let’s be honest, most social media posts aren’t going to showcase their surplus phases, but dwell on their lean physiques in the past (another reason I love that #GainingWeightIsCool is trending).
- Live in the now – don’t dwell on the past and reflect on the physique you once had. My boyfriend hammers this one into my head all the time, but you have to “keep the goal the goal”. If your goal is to gain weight, do it and don’t second guess yourself!
- Get excited! Step off the scale and give yourself a pat on the back when you see an increase. Break the thought processes associated with a dieting phase, embrace the new journey, and be confident in the direction you’re heading!