1. Fear of the unknown. If you think about this, you will likely see the truth in that statement. A lot of us get nervous when faced with new situations such as meeting new people, starting a new job, or moving. The actual event or situation isn’t scary in and of itself. What’s scary is not knowing what will happen and how you will react.
2. Fear of failure. It is common to be afraid to fail. No one sets out on a new endeavor with the intention of failing.
3. Fear of success. This is what I wanted to talk about today. There can be a real fear of success when it comes to losing weight. It doesn’t seem to make sense on the surface, but I’ve experienced it myself and talked with a lot of people who ultimately admit they are afraid of succeeding at weight loss.
For some people, successfully losing weight brings up anxiety about the future.
What will your life be like at a lower weight?
Will people look at you differently after you lose weight?
Can you maintain your weight loss for the long term?
Worry plays a role in all of these questions. Worry about the future, worry about your weight, worry about your relationships. On the surface, weight loss seems pretty straight forward. You work hard at your eating, you exercise regularly, and before long you start to see some success. And then sometimes unexpected emotions push their way to the forefront of your psyche.
Fear. Worry. Anxiety.
Sometimes those fears are part of the reason why you falter and eventually stop trying to improve your health. Quite frankly, I experienced this several times during the 10 years of my morbid obesity.
Over the years, there were several weight loss attempts I made where I actually lost a few pounds. But long before I reached my goal I quit trying and within all the complex emotions that led me to quit, part of the emotion I experienced was fear.
Fear of failure, and yes, fear of success.
I didn’t want to have to face my friends trying to explain why I had failed at dieting again and that was fear of failure.
I was fearful of what my life would look like if I actually lost all my weight and changed my life, and that was fear of success. It seems ridiculous doesn’t it? Fear of success? But it’s what I felt.
I’m still not sure what I was afraid might happen if I lost 150 pounds. Was I afraid of the attention I might receive? Was I afraid that more might be expected from me? Or was I afraid I wouldn’t be able to maintain my weight loss? Looking back all these years later I realize it was a combination of the three, but probably the fear of failing in maintenance was strongest.
So instead of working through the fear of succeeding at weight loss, I would quit.
The last time I lost weight I still worried and felt anxious when I thought about succeeding. But that time I was determined that I was not going to let fear of success stand in my way. As I lost weight some of those fears did come true. People did treat me differently (one story is here), I was still afraid of regaining the weight I lost, and my life was different (but not perfect) after I lost the weight.
I realized that even though some of those fears came true as I dropped the weight, nothing really bad happened. I dealt with the way people treated me, I was very careful after I reached my goal weight, and my life was better after I lost weight. My fears of success were unfounded. And probably – so are yours.
I’d like to encourage you to not let the fear of failure or success stop you from continuing on your quest to get healthy. Putting my fears aside wasn’t easy, but it was an important step in my journey.
Have you ever felt afraid of success? How do you combat that fear and keep going? Diane