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As someone whose been a bigger girl my entire life, I can say that I have a love-hate relationship with food. And, as much as I preach body confidence, I’ve been at points where I’ve struggled with loving my body, too.
While being healthy and making smart food choices kind of go hand-in-hand, being overweight doesn’t mean that you have to be unhealthy. It is possible to enjoy the food you love without making too many sacrifices.
So, what do you do when you hate being fat but love food?
For people who hate being fat but love food, the easy solution is to accept yourself as you are. Otherwise, you can stop overindulging by eating mindfully and drinking water before eating, make healthy substitutions, and make lifestyle changes that let you eat the foods you love without feeling guilty about it.
Even if you want to lose weight, it doesn’t mean that you have to give up all your favorite foods entirely. Plus, being overweight doesn’t always mean that you have to be unhealthy.
Below, we’ll take a look at solutions for when you hate being fat but love food. We’ll cover everything from avoiding over-indulgence to how you can make your favorite foods healthier, and everything in between. Let’s take a look.
What to Do When You Hate Being Fat But Love Food
Weight is something that a lot of us have struggled with, with research from the CDC estimating that the prevalence of obesity in the United States is around 41.9% as of 2020. While there are a lot of us out there, that doesn’t always mean people who are obese accept or are happy with the way that they look.
Plus, while being obese does not mean that you can’t be at least somewhat healthy, obesity does increase your risks of certain diseases. In addition to increasing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes, obesity comes with problems like increased joint pain, a risk of depression, reproductive health problems, breathing difficulties, and more.
With that being said, the solution to feeling better about yourself and being healthier isn’t always restricting your food intake and avoiding foods you love. Instead, let’s take a look at some things that you can do when you hate being fat but love food.
Learn to Love the Skin Your In
The first option for people who are on the larger side but don’t want to change their eating habits is to learn to love yourself as you are. There is nothing wrong with being curvy, full-figured, fat, chunky, chubby, or whatever you typically refer to yourself as.
When it comes down to it, the way that you feel about yourself matters so much more than anything else. And if you don’t necessarily love your weight or how you feel, then you are the only person who can do something about it.
Fortunately, you don’t really have to give up the foods you love to lose weight or be happier with how you feel and look. Check out these next tips so you can keep eating the foods you love without making sacrifices.
Create a Healthier Relationship with Food
I’ll be the first person to tell you that I hate diets. Not only do I hate actual diets, but I hate the word ‘diet’ and everything that it implies. I’ll talk a little more about that later.
When I talk about creating a healthier relationship with food, it’s not about dieting, restricting yourself, or feeling like you can’t enjoy the foods that you love. A healthier relationship with food is learning to listen to your body and its needs again.
Over time, a lot of us don’t really get those hunger/satiety feelings anymore because we aren’t listening to our bodies. This happens when you skip breakfast because you’re in a hurry or force yourself to eat more than you actually need.
There are even some people who feel difficulties with satiety and hunger cues begin in childhood, with parents forcing children to eat. Here’s a Youtube video that explains what I’m talking about.
Healing your relationship with food means learning to listen to your body again and eating when you actually need it. Fortunately, this also means that you still get to eat all the foods that you love.
Drink Water Before Every Meal
Research has disproved the myth that the stomach gets stretched out from eating, which explains why the stomach of thinner people and the stomach of obese people are the same size. That being said, your stomach does stretch and unfold when you overeat to almost double its size.
This unfolding and stretching makes your stomach physically bigger and can push against your other organs, which explains the discomfort when you overdo it.
By drinking water, you are filling some of your stomach so you get fuller sooner. This is a good way to enjoy your favorite foods without overindulging and eating all those extra calories.
Get in the Habit of Eating Mindfully
Mindful eating has really revolutionized the way that I eat. It’s a great way to fully enjoy the foods that you eat, so you’re likely to feel satiated sooner and less likely to overeat.
Basically, mindful eating is slowing down when you eat, being sure to chew and taste your food fully. Instead of worrying, scrolling through social media, or watching television, you focus on each bite of food and the texture and how it tastes.
While your stomach physically being full plays a role, it’s actually your brain that controls hunger and satiety cues. This means that if you are eating a lot of food, it takes a little while for that food to move down to your stomach and send those signals to your brain.
Mindful eating lets you fully experience food, which satisfies your mind a lot faster. I’ve also found that this lets me appreciate food more, which is something that I really appreciate as a person who’s passionate about food.
Something that goes along with mindful eating is avoiding mindless snacking. It’s really easy to sit down in front of the television and snack a lot more than you probably would if you were actually paying attention to what you eat. If you are hungry and need a snack, be mindful while you’re eating it.
Change When You Eat
If you do enjoy foods that aren’t necessarily healthy, try eating them a little earlier in the day. While having dessert is something that is thought of as something you do after dinner, eating something with a lot of sugar or calories right before bed is a recipe for disaster.
When you have your favorite foods in the early afternoon, there are still several hours to burn off those calories before bed. Even if you aren’t planning on going out and hiking or being active, just walking around through the day helps you burn calories.
There’s also research that shows eating earlier in the day and avoiding heavy foods up to three hours before bed improves the quality of your sleep. As a heavier person who struggles with finding a comfortable position to sleep, anything that helps provide better, more restorative sleep is a benefit in my book.
Make Healthy Substitutions
In most cases, there are small substitutions that you can make to your favorite food that makes them healthier. This doesn’t necessarily apply to certain foods (like deep fried Oreos or mozzarella sticks), but by making other changes to what you are eating, you can even enjoy those bad-for-you foods, too.
For example, swapping out margarine for olive oil can help lower cholesterol because it contains healthy fats instead of trans fat found in margarine. You can also add butter at the end of the cooking process if you want it for flavor instead of using it the whole time.
Adding more fresh fruits and vegetables where you can also help. A lot of them contain antioxidants, as well as vitamins and minerals that are important to keep your body working how it should.
You should also swap out products with processed white flour with varieties that have more fiber. Choose whole wheat bread instead of white bread and swap out your pasta.
Fiber is important for gut health, which actually plays a big role in how your body digests food and how good you feel after eating. Gut health plays a big role in things like your immune system and digestive health, too.
Finally, if you do have specific processed or fast foods that you enjoy, consider making them homemade. There’s nothing wrong with indulging in fried chicken or a bacon cheeseburger, but it’s a lot healthier when you make them yourself and know what ingredients are going into them.
Take a Multivitamin for Metabolism Support
A daily vitamin has a lot of benefits, including providing support for your metabolism. When you’re overweight, your metabolism slows down and it takes longer for food to digest. This gets worse if you are eating processed foods that are hard for the body to break down.
A multivitamin is meant to be a supplement to your diet. It’s really beneficial for any vitamins or minerals you aren’t necessarily getting. For people who have a food group that they don’t necessarily love, filling these dietary gaps helps boost metabolism and prevents deficiencies that can make you feel sluggish or sick.
Personally, I take a multivitamin that has a heavy dose of B vitamins for energy and metabolism support. I’ve noticed a big difference in how my body digests food and also in my energy levels throughout the day.
Turn Your Focus to Being Healthy
One of the reasons that I’ve always struggled with dieting is that it really doesn’t provide the answer I’m looking for when it comes to my relationship with food. I’m not the only one that feels this way either. According to the Cleveland Clinic, an estimated 80-95% of people eventually gain the weight back that they lost following a diet.
While there is nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight, your efforts might better be spent focusing on being healthy. Make healthy food choices, but don’t feel the need to restrict yourself. You should also learn to listen to your body and slow down when eating, so you don’t overindulge.
Being healthy also involves being active. I’m not necessarily a person who enjoys running on the treadmill or going to the gym, but I do enjoy outdoor activities like kayaking, swimming, and paddleboarding. Even dancing around the house is a fun way to be active.
The real key to getting healthy even though you love food is adapting your lifestyle to find something that works for you. Find a physical activity that you love, adapt when and how you eat your favorite foods, and add some healthy habits along the way.
Keep in mind that lifestyle changes are rarely easy at first. Humans are creatures of habit and it does take time to unlearn any negative ones you might already have in place. Fortunately, as you make actual changes, you’ll find you are healthier and haven’t had to sacrifice your favorite foods.
For people who hate being fat but love food, the best choice is really adapting your lifestyle so you get to eat the things you love and do the things you love, without sacrificing your health. It really is possible to be healthy even if you are overweight, just like it’s possible to eat your favorite foods and still lose weight.
Hopefully, these tips help you still get to enjoy all your favorite desserts and foods, without sacrificing things like your confidence and how you physically feel. It will take some adjustments and work, but it gets easier as you make new habits.