Fear of missing out makes you gain weight

[Article updated on 19/09/2023]

Eating (too much) for fear of not having enough (in your cupboards or in your stomach) is the theme of this article.

Before reading on

I’m not an expert in this field, but I am passionate about nutrition and health.

The articles you’ll find on my site are the result of in-depth research that I’d like to share with you. However, I would like to stress that I am not a health professional and that my advice should in no way replace that of a qualified physician. I’m here to guide you, but it’s important that you consult a professional for specific questions or medical concerns. Your well-being is important. So be sure to consult the appropriate experts and take the best possible care of yourself.

It’s a fear that I encounter in almost all of my patient support. As a Dietitian Nutritionist I wanted to give you some ideas to free yourself from it.

Planning a physical effort, starting a diet or not being able to smoke: these are all reasons to experience the fear of missing out.

Look at how this fear is illustrated: in 2008 with the ban on smoking in public places, a third of smokers admitted to smoking two cigarettes in a row before facing a period without tobacco.

It’s just like eaters who stock up before going on a diet: I’ll take advantage of it on Sunday and start the restriction on Monday!

It involves overeating for fear of no longer having the foods we like on hand and gaining weight against our will.

The fear of missing out could thwart your weight loss efforts!

Most recently, researchers have demonstrated that simply thinking about play sports was enough to increase his food intake. The link between “doing sport and eating” was established by the authors of this study who warn about physical activity and controlling one’s diet. One of the causes of failure in weight loss efforts could lie in overconsumption by people who overestimate their needs before submitting to physical effort for fear of lacking strength!

You understand, doing sports to lose weight while eating more for fear of missing out, makes you gain weight.

This is exactly what we observe among dieters who throw themselves into their last cheat meal before going on a diet or smokers who throw themselves into their last cigarette before boarding a non-smoking train = for fear of missing out. .

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Fear of missing out = state of hypercontrol

The fear of missing out is constantly present among people on a diet.

It manifests itself through the fear of being hungry, the fear of succumbing to cravings for permitted foods, the fear of missing forbidden foods and the fear of foods disappearing.

These fears take precedence over feelings of satiation and satiety. The person no longer eats based on these but to reassure themselves. She thus loses the ability to correctly perceive her satiation thresholds and will eat too much, without hunger. It therefore risks gaining weight.

Many restricted eaters have great difficulty leaving food on their plate even though they are aware that they are no longer hungry.

When they eat forbidden foods, they behave as if they were eating them for the last time. It is this type of behavior that prevents you from losing weight.

Beware of the vicious circle initiated by diets: frustration – breakdown – guilt. Dieters are then constantly breaking down and eating (too much) out of fear, frustration, annoyance, etc.

In some cases, the fear of hunger can take on the characteristics of a phobic state which can lead to panic attacks. In this case, be sure to be accompanied by a health professional who will listen to you and reassure you, in order to help you free yourself from this fear.

The rules that a person imposes on themselves (hyper food control) will give rise to many negative emotions: fear of being hungry, fear of missing out, frustration, guilt…

People no longer decide to eat intuitively but according to the rights or prohibitions they impose on themselves.

The brain is disconnected from the body. But this cannot have an indefinite duration because when the brain is restricted it always ends up breaking down, even if it can “last” for months or years.

Fear of missing out makes you gain weight!

A person who, for example, forbids himself from eating between meals fears hunger and overconsumes during meals to ensure that his hunger will not reappear prematurely.

A person who limits their consumption of cakes almost always ends up eating too many when they allow themselves. As if he needed catch up and eat them as if it were the last time.

So many chances of gaining weight and feeling bad about your body.

When food sensations completely disappear the person must then replace them with imagined thoughts or sensations. Thus, she no longer feels hungry but thinks she has to eat (“it’s time to eat”, “I haven’t eaten for x amount of time so it’s time”, “I can’t waste what’s left “,…).

In the same way, she does not feel full but thinks and checks that she has eaten enough (“that’s enough, I’ve had enough”, “I weighed my plate so I can’t eat more”, “rolled if I continue it’s abuse”,…).

Eating becomes a stressful activity that prevents food from carrying out its primary function: to live. People affected by the fear of missing out will gain weight or experience the yoyo effect repeatedly.

The anxiety of lack – Exercise to free yourself from it

To free yourself from the fear of missing out, I invite you to do this exercise.

Note for several days (around 3/4 days) how many times you felt the fear of missing out = how many times you ate more for fear of being hungry, fear of having hypoglycemia, fear of not having more later, afraid of throwing away,…

How ? Write it down + write down what food it is + tell yourself a mantra sentence like: “I could always buy more later if I want/need” or “I’m freeing myself from the rules of a balanced diet » or even “I am no longer afraid”.

+ take 3 deep breaths and try not to give in to your fear.

Do this exercise several times alternating days when you think/note the fear of missing out and days when you don’t think about it at all.

Observe your progress and do not hesitate to talk to a health professional to get help.