Pocrescofobia or obesofobia: the irrational fear of gaining weight

Pocrescophobia or obesophobia has to do with a fear of getting fat or gaining weight. Although individual factors intervene, it is important to consider the social dimension.

Last update: 08 September, 2022

The body is our home, the way of being in the world. What happens when it becomes a place that makes us uncomfortable, that we don’t accept and want to change? The pocrescophobia or obesophobia It is the irrational fear of gaining weight.

The body, then, instead of being “a means” to run, enjoy, perform pleasurable activities and bond with others, becomes “the sole purpose” of life. Excessive interest in the body gives way to conflicts and disorders.

What is pocrescophobia or obesophobia?

It is the irrational fear of gaining weight and this can provoke an anxiety response. In this way, a person suffering from a phobia avoids that feared stimulus or situation. For example, food intake. If he manages to cope with the situation, he experiences it with great discomfort and anguish.

Like any phobia, it can have comorbidity, that is, coexist with other disorders. The obesophobia It could lead to an eating disorder or depression.

Some of the signs that may indicate the presence of obesophobia are the following:

  • Obsessive control over the amount of food and calories that are eaten. They can weigh themselves several times a day and even keep a detailed record of the measurements.
  • Avoidance of events that involve gathering for a meal. In those cases where they accept the invitation, some people tend to bring their own food to avoid “overeating”.
  • After eating food, some people perform intense exercise to burn calories.
  • The person spends a lot of time (and in some cases, money) on control your food, treatments for weight loss and surgeries.

As we can guess, people with obesophobia They have a very bad time, since they make decisions around their fear and guided by it. Therefore, there is a deterioration in their quality of life, in their links and in their opportunities.

Food is a problem for these people. His routines focus on the calories ingested and how to burn them.


How to deal with pocrescophobia or obesophobia?

Some of the recommendations that can be taken into account are the following:

  • Question the ideas we have about health and illness and about “perfect bodies”. For example, perhaps we take thinness as a synonym of health. This is a reductionist view of health. Being thin is being healthy, but we forget that health also has to do with well-being, with emotions, with carrying out medical check-ups, etc.
  • Allow yourself to enjoy. No matter what size we are, we have just as much right to enjoy a day outside in shorts as everyone else. You may not like the idea of ​​doing it, but it is important to overcome that fear. Gradually, you can try to go out to the balcony of your house in shorts to familiarize yourself with the situation and the emotions it generates in you. Or you can also practice with your imagination, thinking what would happen and how you would solve it, with a positive ending. Thus, exposure to the feared event will help you address that ghost that exists in your head.
  • ask for professional help. Behind the fear of gaining weight there may be other reasons that support the problem. With proper guidance you will be able to unravel what this concern is due to. Knowing oneself, respecting oneself and betting on the development of a healthy self-esteem are part of the path that leads us to acceptance and well-being.
The relationship with the body can go through different stages. It is good to know oneself in situations that involve valuing one’s own figure.


Do not confuse phobias with hate or discrimination

Fatphobia, homophobia, lesbophobia… Multiple situations that hide hatred and rejection under the guise of a phobia.

This is the point where we should not get confused and we must return to the main idea about the emotion underlying a phobia: an irrational fear. Fear is not the same as feeling hate or discriminating against people who are overweight or that do not fit defined standards of beauty and aesthetics. On one side there is an emotion of fear that overwhelms us, while on the other side there are prejudices and preconceived ideas about what is acceptable and worthwhile.

Finally, we must also be attentive to the arguments that explain everything from the weight, having a narrow view of a more complex situation. In health controls, there are health professionals who appeal to a diagnosis of obesity as the absolute answer. This simplistic and linear response misses the opportunity to help the queryer.

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