Losing weight isn’t always as simple as changing our eating habits and moving more. Without a doubt, there is a psychological component to weight loss.
Our weight can be a part of our identity, and the thought of changing those parts of us can be scary and uncomfortable.
Feeling these emotions and fears is quite common. The issue arises when we are not conscious that we have them. It’s easier to move past these mental roadblocks and continue making healthy lifestyle changes when we are aware of them. That way, we can put things into place that help to deal with these feelings, rather than allowing them to halt our progress.
Why am I scared of losing weight?
There are many personal reasons why someone might be scared to lose weight, and most of these fit under the theme of being scared of success. Although this sounds odd, it is not always the success per se that people fear, but the changes that come alongside it.
I created a poll in my stories last week asking your thoughts on this subject and which of these fears you experienced. Fear of failure was overwhelmingly the biggest fear so we will tackle that one first.
1) Fear of failure
Changing your habits is not easy, and losing weight the healthy way takes commitment and time. For this reason, many people worry about losing motivation and ‘falling off the wagon’, which can be followed by feelings of guilt and resistance to making changes in the first place. On top of this, some may fear weight gain after losing weight.
Example fear: I have a holiday and some social events coming up, so there is no point starting now, I will never be able to stick to my plan.
Example solution: There will never be a perfect time to start making changes, life will always get in the way if you let it! Start with one small change then add on slowly.
2) Fear of losing the comfort of food
We often use food for more than nutrients. Food can be social as well as emotional. Many people use food as a comfort when they are feeling sad, stressed, or anxious. It can be scary to think about losing this form of comfort or distraction and having to replace it with something else.
Example fear: Not being able to comfort eat chocolate or pizza when you have had an exhausting day at work and an argument with a family member.
Example solution: You should still continue to enjoy your favorite foods in moderation. To avoid binging though, think about other things you can put into place to comfort or distract yourself and prepare for this situation. For example, taking the dog for a walk or buying a journal to write in.
Special note: I created today’s blog post after talking to many women about their fears when it comes to losing weight and specifically those dealing with symptoms from perimenopause or menopause. Many women turn to comfort foods when they are frustrated with situations they can not control. I wanted to quickly share a new find from Functional Chocolate called the Vanilla Crème Brûlée Hot Chocolate Bar. It’s formulated specifically for women experiencing menopause and is clinically shown to reduce hot flashes, fatigue and joint aches, while promoting healthy mood balance, focus, bone density, and energy levels!
3) Fear of embarrassment
A common fear about starting on a weight loss journey is feeling embarrassed. This embarrassment can be of anything, from saying no to cake at a birthday party, to exercising in public.
Example fear: Feeling embarrassed about joining a gym for the first time and not knowing what to do when you get there.
Example solution: Consider an exercise class where there is clear instruction, and everyone is doing the same thing, or follow a home-based program.
4) Fear of missing out
A big concern for many people is that making lifestyle changes means missing out on food and drinks they love or saying no to social events.
Example fear: Feeling worried about giving up social activities you love in order to join a weight loss program.
Example solution: Consider joining a program that does not focus on restriction and depleting calories and instead takes a multi-prong approach to improve your health (e.g. nutrition, exercise, and mindset).
5) Fear of relationships changing
Making big changes to your lifestyle could affect relationships with those closest to you. Perhaps you are worried about friends or family not fully supporting your decisions, or your progress affecting them in some way.
Example fear: You usually watch TV with your partner and eat sugary snacks, and you worry that declining the snacks might make them feel awkward or guilty about their choices.
Example solution: Communicate your weight loss goals and the lifestyle changes you are trying to make to your partner. Make sure you stock up on healthy alternatives to sugary snacks so you can still enjoy this time together without straying from your plan.
- Having a fear of failure is common. We all experience it to some degree.
- There will never be a perfect time to start making changes, so the best way to approach things is to start small.
- Tackle one fear or issue at a time (e.g. joining a gym or reducing evening snacking), otherwise, it can be overwhelming.
- Comfort can be found in things other than food, such as walking, having a bath, or writing in a journal.
- Remember that weight loss is not a magic fix to other aspects of your life, for example, aiming for a promotion at work.