What to do as an Intuitive Eater When Your Pants Get Too Tight

Common scenario: you’re getting ready for the day and you’ve got a cute top on, but when you go to slip on your pants, you can barely button them up. They may be cutting into your waist, unable to close, and just plain too tight. Regardless of where you are with your body image, this moment of being too expansive for your clothing can set off internal panic. You wonder what happened between this moment and the last time you wore these pants? Did you expand that much in one week? Why do you still even care about these things? One simple trigger has the potential to ruin your whole day if you let it.

Continuing with my example (this just happened to me BTW- hence the inspiration for the post), you could easily assemble a new outfit and feel confident in clothes that fit you and feel comfortable. Or you could squeeze into a pair of pants that are too tight and will cause your attention to be drawn to your size all day long.

You Will Not Gain 10 Pounds Overnight

There are a very select few people who will actually gain 10 pounds overnight and these people generally are either in heart or kidney failure. Otherwise, even if you had a gigantic binge the night before, you will likely not gain a significant amount of weight. Your body wants to maintain a set point weight, which is a range which can be between as much as 10-20 pounds. Your body will fight hard to maintain this range and it will take a lot to push it beyond your upper weight range in such a short amount of time.

You may, however, be bloated. And that will cause your clothes to temporarily be too tight. Causes of bloating, that abdominal discomfort with distention, include overeating, eating a lot of rich and fatty foods, and eating too fast. You may also want to avoid drinking through a straw, chewing gum, drinking carbonated beverages, or sucking on hard candy because these can all lead to gas buildup in the intestines, causing bloating. Foods which may contribute to bloating include beans, lentils, certain fruits and vegetables, sugar alcohols, dairy, and whole grains. Fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAPs) are particularly troublesome for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or sensitive gastrointestinal systems (before you try a low FODMAP diet read this). Hormones may also cause bloating, and this will come and go depending on which week of your menstrual cycle you’re on.

If you feel bloated all time time and you’ve already cut out the obvious reasons for built-up gas in your intestines listed above, consider seeing your physician or a registered dietitian nutritionist to get to the root cause.

Finally, you might also want to consider if those pants just went through the wash, as they may have shrunk from the heat.

Our Bodies Are Meant to Change

When eating intuitively, you’re likely not weighing yourself. You’ve been told to pay attention to the way your clothes feel to get a sense of whether you’re gaining or losing weight. If your pants no longer fit because you’ve gained weight, work on accepting that fact. Your weight is not equal to your worth. You may already know you’ve been too busy with work and school to prepare meals for yourself or you’ve been going through a depressive episode and turn to food for comfort. If you’re not sure why your body is changing, you can work with a therapist or dietitian to determine why you gained weight and what else might be going on in your life.

It is also important to note that you may finally be getting to a healthy weight for your body. If you were dieting or restricting your food intake before you started intuitive eating, you may have been maintaining a weight below your body’s natural set point. Now that you’re listening to your body’s natural cues, you are nourishing your body the way it is meant to, and this might mean weight gain.

Accept change. Embrace change. And buy some new pants that fit your body as it is right now. Don’t save smaller pants as motivation to one day get back to that size. Donate any clothing that no longer fits you and buy clothes you feel comfortable and confident in.

what to do as an intuitive eater when your pants get too tight

Seeking additional support in your relationship with food and your body? In search of an experienced eating disorder registered dietitian nutritionist in the Long Island, New York area or virtually in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut? Send Christina an email to learn more about 1:1 nutrition therapy sessions!

Published by Christina Frangione, MS, RD, CDN, RYT

Christina Frangione, MS, RD, CDN, RYT is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist serving the Long Island, New York City, and New York State areas helping clients with eating disorders and disordered eating recover their relationship with food and their body. She utilizes a Health at Every Size® approach and supports Intuitive Eating and knows that while she is the food and nutrition expert, you are the expert of your body and life.

5 thoughts on “What to do as an Intuitive Eater When Your Pants Get Too Tight

  1. Omg! I just wrote an article today (going to post Tuesday) about why you need to buy the next size up. Aka not buying smaller for motivation. This is amazing 🙂 glad I found your page thru Sarah Bernerche

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I agree you should definitely always buy clothes that fit you now or are more likely to fit you. Why torture yourself AND waste money?!
      I look forward to reading your post!

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