Adiposephobia: the fear of gaining fat

Adiposephobia- fear of fat.

Related to, but not to be mistaken for:

Credit: Urban Dictionary

Credit: Urban Dictionary


Let me take you through this story:

The scales gone up a pound.

It’s OK, you’re trying to gain muscle.

But a pound, in a day, you realise you cannot build muscle at such a pace, surely you may have gained some fat? No, no, you reassure yourself:

“it’s OK…I’ll look at my weekly average”

^ That’s what a sane person would say, one who understands our bodyweight can fluctuate a lot day-to-day.

…6 days pass…you look to your weekly average:

  • Last weeks average: 180lbs (WK1)
  • This weeks average: 182lbs (WK2)

“I’m up 2lbs on last week” – you shriek

You seriously can’t be gaining 2lbs of solid muscle in a week, at least half if not more of that has got to be fat? Right.

So logically you cut back your Calories, but wait, you were only maintaining on a couple of hundred fewer Calories. You only bumped up your Calorie intake by enough to ensure you were gaining plenty of muscle without the needless fat.

So you think to yourself:

“I can’t surely be gaining fat, how do I look?”

You being you (your own worst critic) really don’t think you look good. You completely disregard the fact you’re clearly stronger and holding more mass, and that because your carb intake is higher you’re holding more glycogen, and thus more water too, which is always going to make you look soft.

“I’ll cut back 100 Calories, just to make sure.”

Typical.

…week 2…you look to your averages:

  • Last weeks average: 182lbs (WK2)
  • This weeks average: 182lbs (WK3)

So you maintained weight, you don’t know whether to be happy or cry, because you know you’re trying to gain weight, but you really, really don’t want to put on any fat, so maybe it’ll creep up next week…

“I’ll keep my Calories the same..

just to be safe.”

Typical.

…week 3…you look to your averages:

  • Last weeks average: 182lbs (WK3)
  • This weeks average: 181lbs (WK4)

What the actual f*ck.

Your weight has gone down by a pound, almost back down to your starting weight 4 weeks ago. That can’t be good surely, you’re trying to grow muscle, and that means gaining weight. But deep down you’re oddly really happy to see the scale like that, maybe because it means you can eat more, maybe because you think you lost fat or maybe because you’re really that afraid of gaining weight.

“OK, I will go back up 100 Calories to what I was on before…

my metabolism has caught up or something…”

…week 4…you look to your averages:

  • Last weeks average: 181lbs (WK4)
  • This weeks average: 181.5lbs (WK5)

^ half a pound, that seems about right, surely right on track.

…week 5…you look to your averages:

  • Last weeks average: 181.5lbs (WK5)
  • This weeks average: 181.5lbs (WK6)

Your weight is stable, but you’re taking a well-earned deload, and so you keep Calories level, makes good sense as you won’t be providing a stimulus to cause growth.

After 6 weeks how much weight did you gain?

HALF A POUND…half a measly pound — you know what weighs half a pound? A poop, yup, if you waited an extra 5 to 10 minutes after weighing yourself a few times you might have gained even less.

In 6 weeks how much did you stress out?

A LOT

umming and arring every single week, not knowing what to do, up, down, level and for what? You ended up on the same Calorie intake at the end as the start, and likely you would have seen better, more appropriate weight gain (and therefore more muscle) if you’d never gone back down.

You’re obviously scared about gaining weight.

I’ve been there.

I’ve tried to gain 1lb per month, at most, because more than that would mean getting fat right?

Do you know what happened?

1lb gain over 4 months

1lb gain over 4 months

^ something like that, and every month looked just like the example I showed above, I was stressing out, not enjoying my food or my training, for fear that I would get fat.

Progress was SLOOOOWWWW — so painfully slow, needlessly slow.

Some months I wouldn’t progress.
My body hardly changed for about 4 months.

Half a year, pretty much wasted, however, it taught me an important lesson:

  1. A consistent calorie surplus is required
  2. Progressive overload, especially with volume is required
  3. Fat gain, is INEVITABLE
  4. Scale weight going UP, is required

Those 4 things, for the best progress, for less stress and more muscle gains are required, for all but a rare few.

That doesn’t mean eating all the food, and getting fat, not at all.

Now the thing is.

Once I allowed myself to gain at a faster rate, a few things happened:

  • People commented in the gym at how much size I was putting on
  • I actually thought for once I looked bigger, in a good way
  • I could do MUCH more volume in the gym
  • Progress was better than ever

bulk

I was and if I am honest I still suffer a bit from Adiposephobia, but now I embrace those 4 requirements, I enjoy my food, I get tonnes out of my training and I see good progress month on month. No spinning my wheels hoping for the scale to respond favourably and shifting my Calories around every other week.

How to rid yourself of Adiposephobia:

  • Accept you will gain weight
  • Accept some of that will be fat
  • Don’t obsess over fluctuations, look over the longer term.
  • Get objective- girth measurements, gym performance, photos etc.

But know that losing fat is MUCH easier than gaining muscle, MUCH MUCH easier.

Don’t waste your time doing nothing much.

Rid yourself of Adiposephobia today.


WHAT NEXT?

If you liked this, you will love:

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One more thing…

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p.s.

I wrote a book called Get Big, Stay Lean: a comprehensive guide to building lean muscle mass <– if the above didn’t get you past your fear, this book will.

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