Are you afraid you’ll never reach your weight loss goal?
Do you fear you won’t maintain your weight once you do?
If you can relate, take heart. Learn to free yourself from fear’s grip so you confidently move forward with poise and grace.
For many people, fear is an uncomfortable, yet familiar companion along their weight loss journey. Fear undermines your belief in yourself and stops you from having the life and body you want. You can renew your confidence and learn to give fear no power by replacing fear-based thoughts with thoughts of strength and determination.
For example, Jeannine wanted to be thinner but fear of failing immobilized her. Whenever she thought of eating more nutritiously or exercising, one excuse after another appeared. When she looked below the surface, she realized her “excuses” protected her from feeling defeated. If she didn’t start, she couldn’t fail. When she committed to challenge her fear, however, change began. It took time and effort, but Jeannine persistently shifted her self-talk to words of encouragement and determination and ultimately took charge of her weight release journey to reach her goal.
Reclaim Your Power
Your desire to have a thinner, fitter body is more powerful than fear. You can access that power by thinking thoughts that support your success. Begin by making a conscious decision to no longer allow fear to control you. This decision helps you break the association in your mind between releasing weight and being afraid.
It may be helpful to examine different ways fear stops you from reaching your goals. I’ve observed three types of fears that trigger anxiety and stress about releasing weight. Can you relate to any of these?
1. Fears that stop you from getting started.
Sometimes the fear of failure immobilizes you from the get go. You fear repeating a pattern of disappointment and focus so much on past failures that a permanent picture of defeat that blocks your image of success. You don’t even try, or you try halfheartedly.
“I’ve failed before, I’m afraid I’ll fail again.”
“I’m just a hopeless case. I’m afraid I can’t do this.”
“Nothing’s worked in the past, I’m afraid it won’t be different this time.”
2. Fears that stall your progress.
As you become thinner, anxieties emerge regarding self-worth. The closer you get to your goal weight, the more frightened you become because releasing weight also releases the emotional protection it provides. You feel vulnerable and stop moving forward.
“I’m afraid that once I’m thinner:
…I still won’t feel attractive,
…I still won’t find a boyfriend,
…I still won’t like myself.”
In addition to self-worth concerns, becoming thinner often triggers vulnerability for those who have been sexually abused in childhood.
“I’m afraid when I lose weight men will find me attractive and that scares me.”
If you were sexually abused and have never received professional support, please consider doing so. Professional guidance helps you develop the inner resources necessary to release weight while feeling emotionally safe. To find a psychotherapist in your local area, use this therapist finder tool at Psychology Today.
3. Fears that sabotage your success.
You’re close to reaching your goal weight, or you reach your goal weight and your mind fills with worries that you won’t keep the weight off.
“I’m afraid I’ll gain back the weight and I’ll be disappointed again.”
“I’m afraid I don’t deserve this.”
“Who am I to be thin and attractive anyway?”
A Strategy to Renew Confidence
Whether fear prevents you from starting to release weight, blocks your progress during your journey, or challenges your confidence once you’ve reached your goal, use the following strategy to take command of your thoughts so you can move forward:
1. When a fear-filled thought enters your mind, simply notice it. Ground yourself by taking several deep breaths until you feel even a slight sense of relief.
2. Then, create emotional distance between you and fear by talking to it. For example, confidently say, “Oh, there you are again, fear.” This helps you acknowledge fear but not be ruled by it. Since fear also weakens your body’s energy, it helps to physically reposition your body in a confident stance. For example, pull your shoulders back and hold your head high.
3. Then, affirm your desire to release weight by firmly saying, “No! I will not let myself be afraid. I am capable of doing this.” Repeat several times to deepen your resolve. You then use fear to strengthen rather than weaken you and your mind and body respond with positive, uplifting energy.
4. Repeat whenever challenged by fear-filled thoughts to deepen your confidence and belief in yourself.
Use this process along with deeper self-growth work as necessary. Some fears require additional strategies to target the root cause and release them completely.
Have patience and steadfastly encourage yourself with confident, determined self-talk. Once in command of replacing fear with thoughts of confidence and strength, you free yourself to create the healthy, vibrant body you want and deserve.
What fears do you need to release so you will feel more confident?
(Photo credit: http://bit.ly/1kKhTjI)