The Infamous "Fat Attack"


Not too long ago, I posted on my Instagram (@movementcounselingservices, go follow!) about a book I started to read. I’ve recently been working my way through Eating in the Light of the Moon, by Anita Johnston, Ph.D. Let me just say that this book is has an eye opening experience on every page! Link to purchase this book will be at the end of this post. I can’t recommend this book enough!

One thing that stuck out to me was the phenomenon the “fat attack”. I never knew it had a name until I read this book, and I can say that this is something I’ve experienced. 

So what is it? Anita Johnston, Ph.D. describes it as an experience when you all of a sudden feel as is you’ve gained 20+ pounds over night. Rationally, you know this can’t possibly be true, but it definitely feels like you’ve put on the weight in a very very short amount of time. If you’ve ever struggled with body image and or disordered eating, you know exactly what this feels like. It comes on suddenly and can feel intense. 

You might say to yourself that, “why do I feel okay some days and the other days I feel like a whale?”. While a “fat attack” is an unwelcome guest, it can actually be a good thing in that it gets you to explore the root cause of the problem. So what causes them? Most of the time, they can serve as a signal that there is something else bothering you. Your weight and feeling fat may feel like it is the real problem, but it is a distraction from what’s really going on. Issues with weight seem to have a simple answer; lose weight. But what happens when the real problem is you are unhappy in you relationship? You have to confront a friend on something that’s uncomfortable? You hate your boss at work? These are problems that don’t have an easy solution. They are complicated with many moving parts. They take being vulnerable with others and once it’s out in the open, we can’t hide from it. 

So the next time you have a “fat attack”, ask yourself, “What is this really about?”

Happy Friday everyone!