Fear of losing weight is actually a lot more common than you’d think. “Weight is intertwined in people’s sense of security and self-confidence,” says Matt Traube, Ph.D., a psychotherapist. “So, it has a far-reaching emotional impact in a lot of important areas in people’s lives.” Here are the top five reasons people fear losing weight:
Fear Changing Relationships
Losing weight means making lifestyle changes that not every person in your life may know how to respond to. If you’re the token “funny fat person” in your friend group for instance, when you lose weight, your role may change. Partners, friends, and co-workers might feel negative emotions about your weight loss including jealousy, resentment, and betrayal.
Communication is key in any type of relationship. Make sure you’re communicating your lifestyle changes to the important people in your life.
Fear of Failure
When you embark on your weight loss journey, there’s always the risk that you will not accomplish what you set out to do. Or, if you do lose weight, you could regain everything afterwards. This stems from a fear of failure.
Instead of thinking about what could go wrong, think about the possibilities of what could go right. In addition, brace yourself for challenges and occasional mistakes. Instead of harboring guilt for a ‘failure’, pick yourself back up again and keep going.
Fear of Losing What You Enjoy
If weight loss was easy, then everyone would be doing it. There’s a reason many people overeat. Making a lifestyle change means saying no to eating out, declining social events, and saying ‘no’ to foods you enjoy. Weight loss is definitely an adjustment, but you can’t move forward without making sacrifices. Of course, you can still enjoy social events– just remember to choose healthy foods.
Fear of Giving up What’s Comfortable
Many people often use food like a comfort blanket. They turn to food when they feel emotional: sad, stressed, anxious, depressed. However, this is not a healthy coping mechanism. Instead of coping with food, which sabotage your weight loss efforts, learn healthier coping mechanisms to tolerate your distress.
Fear of Embarrassment
Embarrassment is a combination of feelings of self-consciousness, shame, or awkwardness. You might feel embarrassed when you join a gym or have to say no to a piece of birthday cake at work. Remember that the moment is fleeting and push through the awkwardness. Soon enough you’ll feel confident in your journey and you won’t care what others think.