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Setting yourself free ...

One of the most common beliefs that maintain disordered eating behaviours that comes up in clinic, is the belief that

"if I gain weight, other people will think I have let myself go”

a little self enquiry often reveals that this means

“they may leave me if I let myself go + I will be alone, therefore in order to prevent that, I need to make absolutely sure that I don't gain weight"

so calories are counted.

exercise is obsessively performed.

certain foods remain off limits.

meals out are declined or calculated precisely.

and deprivation becomes the norm.

deprivation of food, and with that deprivation of life.

this belief has to not only be pulled apart a little,

- what does "letting yourself go" actually mean?

- why does gaining weight mean letting yourself go?

- would people you spend time with think differently of you if you changed your appearance?

- what evidence do you have to support the above?

- what would a more realistic belief be?

as well as exploring internalised fatphobia

and then gently testing the belief.

because the reality is, we can't make certainties about what will happen with body weight when recovering from disordered eating, but we do know that the body will find it's natural weight if we are conscious, respectful and caring to it's needs.

The dictionary, suggests two definitions for "let oneself go",

act in a relaxed or uninhibited way.

become careless or untidy in one's habits or appearance.

many people relate to the second; and the idea that it has to do with weight is due to the deep entrenchment of fat phobia in society, so if you do feel that way, please do not be ashamed this is what you have been taught.

try to reframe "let oneself go" using the first definition.

letting go on self sabotaging beliefs.

letting go of diet culture.

letting go of deprivation.

letting go of the need for control.

letting go of the parts of us that we have out grown.

so in recovery from disordered eating, we do kind of let our old selves go.

but mostly,

mostly we set ourselves free.