Weight: Fluctuations and changes through our lifetime
A few weeks ago I shared my personal experience maintaining my weight through an injury. I relate my stabilized weight to no longer dieting or trying to achieve a weight that is difficult for me to maintain without excessive food rules or restrained eating.
BUT after I wrote that post I realized I implied that weight fluctuations and changes are not normal and only happen when people diet or do not eat appropriately. And this is unfair and untrue. And as a straight sized person, it could be harmful to folks who do not experience my privilege.
Many of us will experience weight and body size fluctuations. And we do not have to be dieters. Giving up dieting, learning to eat intuitively and tune in to ourselves, and our bodies physical needs cannot guarantee anything related to weight. Here are a couple examples.
Being a different weight when time is spent differently
A podcast I listen to (The Real Question), had an episode on giving up a dress that no longer fit. The host shared her experience with fluctuating body sizes, mostly related to being in more or less active times of life. No dieting, no purposeful changes to her eating patterns, just body shifting between sizes as her time was spent differently.
A fashion blogger I followed many years ago shared that she had a summer and winter weight, which resulted in being two different sizes in clothing. So she would buy herself things she loved (like a favourite pair of jeans) in two sizes.
Reflect on how we study weight
In science we rarely study weight from a neutral place. We see weight as an issue, and in particular harbour a deep fear of weight gain when we think of health, so we never just look at it with neutral curiosity (no matter what some scientists and researchers will claim about their objectivity). For this reason I am not aware of a lot of evidence about weight shifts through life (if you have any to share with me, please do).
This is a complicated subject. We also see weight fluctuate with dieting behaviours. We see many folks who yo-yo diet also yo-yo between different weights, often with the long term result of weight increasing more over time. And I want to say this can be the most “lifestyle change” of diets as well. Also to add: this is not because dieters “give up” or “get lazy”, but because our body has protective factors in place that result in mental and physiological changes.
I don’t feel I can provide a nice clean ending to this post. One suggestion I’d give is to reflect on your weight history, alongside your history of dieting, food restriction and liberalization. BUT from a place of curiosity, NOT judgement. It’s hard to leave judgement behind when it comes to our bodies, but it is the biggest key to changing our relationship with our body and our food.
Together let’s shift the narrative around body size and weight from one of fear and judgement, to one of curiosity and acceptance.
Until Next Time,