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From the OO Email Group Part 2: THE FEAR OF WEIGHT GAIN

Okay, we've talked about the desire to lose weight. But what about the flip side of the coin—the fear of gaining weight? Many in the online group have said things like, "I can accept myself like I am now—but what if I gain even more weight?" How do we get over the fear of weight gain?

Jacki: For me, the solution was to make my weight a "non-issue"—something that was neither "good" nor "bad"—just "neutral." This didn't come easily, but it was the key to my freedom! Chances are, that if you've been involved in dieting prior to using the OO approach, you will gain some weight before you start stabilizing and then possibly losing weight. The best advice I could give you is to try to stop even thinking about weight! This takes practice, but just try to make weight something very nonchalant and unmeaningful. The reason I'm suggesting this is because, in order to really reap the benefits of OO, you have to lose that fear of weight gain. It's society that puts so much emphasis on weight, and we don't have to buy into that anymore! Also, try to incorporate the idea that "Whatever happens with my weight is no longer any of my business! It's up to my body now!"

Kent: My experience has been that the set-point theory has a lot of validity. The body chooses a certain weight, which it defends vigorously. The benefits of OO for me have included improved peace of mind, not worrying about what I eat much any more, not worrying about my weight as much, and not weighing myself nearly as often. I will no longer put my happiness on hold because of my weight. It isn't exactly a "non-issue" yet, but it's getting close!

Kelly: For me, weight gain came as a result of legalizing food and legalizing the feeding of all hunger without beating myself up for it. However, I've freed my body to be whatever size it wants to be. I'm totally okay with going up in size, but going down sends me into a panic! Being smaller is still connected to a time in my life that I was "small," vulnerable, and unable to take care of myself. I'm doing some work in this area to try to end the "panic" cycle I get into whenever I start to lose weight. "Notice, not judge" is a two-way street—but it seems I'm only okay going one-way!

Marsha: Has it occurred to anyone else that just about everyone gains weight when they use the OO approach? It's so frustrating since this is the opposite of what we've been looking for all of our lives! Does anyone have any theories or comments on this phenomenon?

Jacki: Well, has it occurred to you that just about everyone who goes on a DIET gains weight too?! People are so quick to blame OO for weight gain. I truly believe that OO helps us not to gain as much weight as we might otherwise gain due to the rebound from our dieting! The initial weight gain is usually weight we would've gained anyway! So let's not blame OO for something diets did to us!

Marsha: I definitely agree with you here! In fact, OO has been such a gift in my life. When I follow the program, it is the only time I don't obsess or binge. I just thought it was interesting how many people talk about gaining weight.

Jennifer: I threw out my scale years ago, but I did get weighed at the doctor's office last year. When I went back to the doctor this year, even though I told the nurse not to tell me my weight, she let it slip. In one year's time of using the OO approach, I have not gained or lost 1 ounce! What I like about letting go of the scale and other means of telling ourselves that we don't measure up is that I can now see so many other things about me that I like. It's very freeing! Before I found OO, I was so frustrated about how much weight I'd gained in recent years. Now, I have so many other ways in which to "see" myself, that the weight in pounds, kilograms, etc., is kind of insignificant!

Marianne: Well, I discovered recently that I've gained more weight than I thought I had. I weighed myself last week, which I haven't done in about a year. I was mortified, because I'd gained more than I thought, and it really got me down. I was even tempted to go out and buy a scale so I could monitor my weight more closely. I know that thinking will backfire, and I subsequently talked myself out of it—but I'm feeling down since I haven't made as much progress using this approach as I thought I had, and I've been working this program for a long time! Help!

Jennifer: The first thing that pops into my mind is the term "progress" and how it's measured. I think we're so used to having ourselves measured by the scale that we forget to see ourselves in other ways. I'm betting you have garnered success from the OO approach that has nothing to do with weight! This might be the ability to be around food when you're not hungry and being able to deal with it in your own way, the ability to clean your closet of clothing that "yells" at you, the ability to see yourself in the continuum of your heritage, etc. For me, things like these are very important and have nothing to do with the scale. The pounds, kilograms, inches, etc., are only one, small measure—there are so many other wonderful things about us that we have no "measuring stick" for.

Mindy: I also would ask what exactly do you mean by "progress?" I ask this because my definition of this word is starting to change. For example, today I heard a woman say, "I've had some recovery around my eating issues—I've lost 50 pounds." The little voice in my head quickly said, "That's not recovery." I no longer believe that weight loss is equal to progress. I believe that self-acceptance is equal to progress—including self-acceptance about our lack of self-acceptance! Another woman recently said that she'd become so unconcerned about her weight that she was surprised to discover she'd gone down a couple of clothes sizes! She felt "ho-hum" about the whole thing! I'm really beginning to feel that that is real "progress!"

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