Yes, you may actually be afraid of the unknown: the thin you.
We all know there are many obstacles involved when it comes to losing weight. One that we rarely consider: the fear of succeeding. But fear is powerful. And I've found it's often the number one factor in people's struggle with weight loss.
Thy fear of letting go of their relationship with food, losing control of their lives by surrendering to change, and facing the unknown of what will happen if that weight actually goes away.
But knowing what the common setbacks are will help you overcome them and regain your body confidence. Here are the five most common and debilitating fears when it comes to weight loss:
1. Saying goodbye to the security blanket.
If you’ve been struggling with weight your whole life, you probably have a long, complex relationship with food. To change your eating habits and work toward weight loss means letting go of the comfort of emotional eating. That's terribly frightening if food is the one thing that's been a constant in your life.
Food is like a best friend and to say goodbye is like ending a lifelong friendship. Or maybe food has an instantaneous calming effect on you, so it feels overwhelming to lose it. You have to relearn how to rely on your own inner strength to handle the tough moments of life.
2. Losing your invisibility shield.
If you lose the weight, you might get more attention. While many people think this is a good thing, even a motivating factor in their weight loss, to many others, it's a very frightening proposition.
If you have insecurities or struggle with self-confidence, hiding behind weight is a great excuse to not meet new people, not succeed in business and so much more. Hiding, regardless of the loneliness or dissatisfaction with life, seems easy in comparison to people actually noticing you. An overweight woman might get used to not getting the attention she sees thinner women getting and feel terrified of what she would do if people noticed her.
3. Experiencing an unfamiliar feeling.
We get used to being the way we are, and changing that is scary because it’s unknown and, therefore, unpredictable. If you can’t remember what it was like being thin or if you feel you've had weight issues your whole life, even in childhood, it's possible you're actually afraid of thinness. It would feel different, and different is scary.
4. Proving a negative core belief is untrue.
You might feel something negative about yourself (conscious or not) like “I’m worthless,” “I’m unlovable,” “I’m a disappointment,” “I’m a failure,” “I’m not good enough,” etc. If so, you'll go out into the world and behave in ways that support that negative belief. If being overweight is something that supports that perception, it's scary to find success and disprove your negative core belief.
5. That you don't deserve to take care of yourself.
If you've spent your life sacrificing for others, caring for others, and putting the needs of others ahead of your own, it's tough to prioritize focusing on your own needs.
When faced with these fears, you might ask, “What the heck do I do now?” First, notice and acknowledge your fears. Then, get determined to risk the unknown and find out what it's like to change.
You may find out that change is wonderful and that you've been wonderful all along.
You may also want to read: The Beck Diet Solution by Judith S. Beck, PhD, which addresses the thoughts and behaviors that get in the way of weight loss.