A few weeks back I started accumulating hours at a substance abuse treatment center as part of my master’s program requirements. On my first day, someone told me that I looked like I had just gotten out of jail, the next week a man who looked a little like Santa called me “middle-aged,” and throughout it all, I learned six things about fear that I applied to my own weight-loss and health journey.
#1 Fear is Normal: At the beginning of every new journey, there is fear. Sometimes fear is good and helps us guide our decision-making process, other times it is stunting and paralyzes. In either form, it is there, normal, and expected.
#2 Fear of Missing Out: This seems silly but how many of us binge just before starting a diet, or lament all of the things that we will miss out on? We have a serious case of the FOMO (fear of missing out)! When I think about this, I try to remember that for 30+ years, I have enjoyed those things and that now is the time to choose healthier things. And what am I missing out on? Future heart issues, diabetes, heartburn, icky skin? Nope.
#3 Fear of Failure: Whether we have been eating clean and exercising for one week or 2 years, living a healthy lifestyle is challenging. It is a process. There are times when we doubt ourselves, fall short of our goals, or act completely the opposite of how we have resolved to act. This is a mind-warping fear because the fear itself causes what we fear to happen (failure) to actually happen. At that point, we can conclude that we don’t have what it takes, or we can keep pressing forward.
#4 Fear of Success: This is kind of like the fear of failure. Hmm, we don’t plan to self-sabotage but it happens. We feel that we are doomed from the start and let self-doubt and fears of what other people think keep us from sticking with it or trying. This fear is rooted in thinking that we can control the future. We can’t!!! I’ve learned to be present in this health journey. I’m not getting lost, focusing on what might be or could be. I am focusing on today and making good decisions.
#5 Fear of Losing Identity: This one might hit a little hard. Our bodies are part of our identity. This is true for everyone, no matter the body. After years (or a lifetime) of having a one identity, (cue social media names: MzThickness, PHAT Girl Hottie, BigBoi, etc.) it can throw us off to think of having a different identity as our bodies change. This fear can stop us in our tracks. Identity is also fluid; it changes. We are not who we were at 13 years old and we’re not who we will be at 70. Check yourself out in the mirror, accept the new you, and realize that it is just a piece of who you are!
If you’re still reading this super long post, just remember: fear is normal but we have to find out what is perpetuating that fear and kick it in the face! Fight it with truth! Go get em!!!