One of the reasons why people who have the desire to lose weight are unable to stick to a diet program is because they also have a psychological resistance to losing weight. That resistance can be expressed in terms of three fears related to change in general and one fear related specifically to losing weight:
- Fear of the unknown. We don’t know what might happen in the future if things change. We don’t know how we might react. We’re not comfortable with uncertainties. We like things to be predictable. We fear we might get hurt. So we resist taking that leap into the unknown and we stick with what we’ve got, even if it’s making us miserable.
What we need to tell ourselves is that, regardless of what comes down and regardless of how well-equipped we are to handle it, we’d much rather deal with it than never give ourselves the chance to create the life we desire.
- Fear of failure. We fear that if we fail, it will be very humiliating and shaming. Rather than risk the possibility of failure with all the shame and humiliation that goes with it, we stick to what we’ve got and think that we’re protecting ourselves from more pain by doing so. We’re not protecting ourselves. We’re just keeping ourselves miserable.
What we need to tell ourselves is that it’s better if we try and fail rather than not try at all because though the odds against success may seem to be great, we have no chance of success if we don’t try.
- Fear of abandonment. We fear that if we change, our friends may become uncomfortable with us and reject us, triggering our abandonment issues.
What we need to tell ourselves is that those who would abandon us probably weren’t really there for us in the first place, we only thought they were. What we need to remind ourselves is that when one door closes, another door opens, which means if people leave our lives, others will likely appear, and if we are in the right frame of mind, they will be nurturing, loving and supportive of our efforts and able to accept us not only for who we are but who we want to become.
- Fear of intimacy. We fear that if we lose weight and become more attractive, it will lead to emotional or physical intimacy, which could then lead to getting abused and hurt, recapitulating abusive relationships that have victimized us in the past.
What we need to tell ourselves is that when we avoid taking the risk of new relationships out of fear of getting hurt, we may succeed at not getting hurt but we won’t succeed at getting what we want. We will never give ourselves the opportunity to enjoy all the blessings that life and love have to offer.
Next post: More on the challenges of weight loss and how to overcome them.
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