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Monday, 14 February 2022 11:11

I'm Afraid to...

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I’m afraid I’ll fail - again. I’m afraid I won’t be able to sustain my weight even if I do reach my goal. I’m afraid I won’t ever get to eat the foods I love again. I’m afraid I won’t be the same person. I’m afraid I’ll get unwanted sexual attention as I did in the past and I feel vulnerable.

These are just a few of the fears I have myself and that I’ve heard from other people. When we decide to make changes to our lives and to our bodies, we begin to imagine a different future. We imagine the possible outcomes and our fears make the negative possibilities seem much stronger than the positive ones.

Fear is usually based either in past experience or in the unknown future. Maybe we’ve had a bad experience in the past and we never want to revisit it. Maybe we don’t know what to expect and it’s kind of scary to try something new without knowing ahead of time if we have the skills to handle it. It’s our natural instinct to want to feel safe, so fear tells us not to try, not to change, not to imagine a better experience.

What do we do with all this fear? The first thing to do is to acknowledge it. We want to face the fear and accept that it’s here, we are feeling it, and it’s creating an obstacle that stands between where we are right now and our desired outcome.

By looking at the fear and identifying it for what it is, we gain some knowledge. If we deny it exists or try to minimize its value, we lose the opportunity to make conscious, well thought out decisions. When we take a good, clear look at what we’re afraid of, we can take a step back and try to get some perspective. Is this my fear or did I learn this fear from family or society? If past experience is causing the fear, am I the same person now as I was in the past? Do I have new skills? Have I matured enough to handle a similar situation in a different way?

Maybe I don’t think I’ve grown enough to navigate the challenge I fear, but can I think of new ways to do so? Can I build a support network to help me this time around? Can I find a counselor, a coach, a trusted friend, or a partner who will help me find new solutions and encourage me to remember my strengths?

Looking more clearly at a fear that is based in the future, we can also gain some perspective. We are afraid of a possible outcome or consequence to our action. What’s the actual likelihood of that outcome taking place? Is there anything we can do in the present that would minimize that undesirable outcome? What other, more desirable outcomes are possible? What can I do now to make those outcomes more likely to happen?

I’m not saying that our fears aren’t real or valid. What I’m suggesting is that we have the power to minimize the impact they have on our actions. We are resourceful and creative. We have the power to choose how to address our fears and to choose what to do with them. When our desire and our motivation to reach a goal is strong, we can find a way to work through, around, over, or under any fear that tries to block us. We have to be clear about what that fear is and what’s generating it. But once we’ve done that, our choices are unlimited!

Read 231 times Last modified on Monday, 14 February 2022 11:17
Betty Brink

Betty Brink is an expert on the mental and emotional aspects of dieting and body image. She is the author of "The Main Meal: The New Perspective on Weight Loss." In seminars, speeches, and consultations, she demonstrates practical methods to quiet the diet chatter, and to empower yourself to make conscious choices in diet, in life, and in relationships.

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