Why Am I Afraid To Lose Weight?

For many of us, we may have all the right tools to start losing weight, but we wonder why we suddenly feel afraid to.

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For many of us, we may have all the right tools to start losing weight, but we wonder why we suddenly feel afraid to.

It’s a strange place to be – you are ready to start a weight loss journey, but suddenly realize that the thing holding you back is not your lack of interest in exercising or an inability to change your eating habits. Those things you have in place. Instead, you suddenly realize that the fear of losing weight has kept you stuck at the same numbers on the scale for longer than you’d like to admit. But why? How does fear play into your inability to lose weight?

You may be afraid to lose weight because you are afraid your relationships are going to change, your lifestyle is going to change, that people are going to focus more attention on you, or that you might just fail.

We have been told for years that losing weight is as simple as eating less and moving more. Thousands of books have been published on the subject and hundreds of fad diets have tried to convince us to “eat this and not that” in order to be at the weight we want. But what if it’s not that simple? What if losing weight isn’t just about changing bad habits or learning a new exercise routine? What if losing weight has more to do with our mindset than we realize?

I have always been a person who tries to eat right and exercise, yet seems to constantly be struggling with not being at my ideal weight. I sabotage my attempts at weight loss, then find myself frustrated. But now I am starting to wonder if losing weight is something that I fear, and that’s what is holding me back. Let’s do a deeper dive into the subject of why our fear of losing weight is bigger than we think.

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Why Am I Afraid to Lose Weight?

Fear plays an interesting role in our lives. It influences many of our decisions and keeps us from making many others.

Fear is defined as “an unpleasant emotion in response to something or someone we see as dangerous or a threat.” If we are afraid of something, we tend to back away from it, or fight it. This is the “fight or flight” theory that is triggered in our bodies and has helped humans survive for thousands of years.

But why would we be triggered over something like losing weight? What is there to fear in something that most of us – at some point or another – have wanted to do?

Losing weight is more complicated than just eating less or moving more. There are mental blocks that may be keeping you from achieving your weight loss goals, and one of the biggest mental blocks may be that you are scared of what is going to happen if you finally achieve your weight loss goals once and for all.

1. You Are Afraid Your Relationships Will Change

When you embark on a weight loss journey, you will (hopefully) surround yourself with people who are supportive of your goals and will help you to try and achieve them.

Maybe your best friend who used to join you for pizza and beer night is now just as excited to go for a walk and a salad afterward instead.

Or maybe your live-in partner agrees to give up fast food along with you so that you both can enjoy cooking together and eating at home.

But what if these things don’t happen? Or, if after a period of time, that friend or that partner wants things to go back the way they were, but you have committed to this new lifestyle?

The fear that our relationships might change if we lose weight is a valid one, and not completely unrealistic.

Even the person who seems to be the most on your side at the beginning of your weight loss journey may end up resenting it, or even doing things to sabotage it later.

The reasons for this are varied, but if you are afraid of losing weight because you are worried it’s going to change your relationships, you may feel like you have to choose one over the other – losing weight or losing an important person (or people) in your life.

Many of our relationships are built around common interests and goals. If losing weight means some of your interests are going to change, then you may fear your relationships are going to change, too.

2. You Are Afraid Your Lifestyle is Going to Change

Along with fear about relationships changing, you may also be afraid that certain aspects of your current lifestyle will also change.

Again, this is a valid concern.

If going out for dinner and drinks after work a couple nights a week is something you decide to cut out in order to lose weight, you will certainly miss that.

If you start going to the gym in the morning instead of meeting friends for coffee, that will be a big shift in your normal lifestyle routine as well.

Any time we decide to make a change in our lives – even positive ones – there are going to be some consequences.

Just like a person who is trying to cut back on spending or change their drinking habits, committing to losing weight is going to affect parts of your current life that may make you feel nervous, uncomfortable, or even scared.

You know what your life is like right now, even if you aren’t happy with your weight. But – you don’t know what your life looks like on the other side of weight loss.

Sure, there will be huge benefits and payoffs, but it is totally reasonable to be afraid of the things that may be lost in the process.

It is worth your time to address your fears with yourself and prepare for some of the things that you think may be lost in your life as you embark on your weight loss journey. Be kind to yourself and acknowledge that it’s okay to feel afraid of losing these things.

3. You Are Afraid That People Are Going to Focus More Attention on You

This is an interesting one, but for anyone who has struggled with weight loss, they will understand.

For many people, especially those who have spent a fair amount of their life being overweight, excess pounds have at times served as a type of security blanket.

When a person goes through the difficult process of successfully losing weight, they will oftentimes comment on how suddenly, people seem to be paying them more attention.

And that attention isn’t always positive. And it’s a very real reason why you may be afraid to lose weight.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of another person telling you that you look great and they are impressed with your weight loss. Other times a person might comment on your new physique and ask questions about how you did it, because they are on a weight loss journey and are inspired by yours.

But then there’s the other type of attention. People looking at you differently, making suggestive comments, or coming on to you in ways that are unwelcome and unsolicited.

This might sound strange to some people, but ask anyone who has gone through a significant body change and they will probably have at least one story of a time that someone said something to them about it that was inappropriate and made them feel uncomfortable.

It is not at all unreasonable to worry or be afraid that losing weight might bring you some unwanted attention.

It would be a shame to shy away from your weight loss goals because of the fear of another person…but that does not mean that it is a perfectly understandable thing to be afraid of.

4. You Are Afraid You Are Going to Fail

Finally, a big fear for anyone who is trying to lose weight is the fear that they may fail.

Fear of failure is a huge part of our makeup as humans, and is often ranked as the number one reason that we don’t do something we would like to do.

Whether it's giving up smoking, beginning a budget, or starting a new career or relationship – all of us have had at least one time in our lives that the fear of failing at something kept us from doing it.

Weight loss is no different.

In fact, losing weight is one of the most popular New Year's resolutions people make every year.

And most of those are broken before February even starts.

So it’s no wonder that you may be scared to lose weight because you don’t believe you can do it. Or, that you can maintain it.

This is especially true for those of us who have tried at least one time to lose weight and haven’t been successful at keeping it off.

It’s disheartening (and scary!) to think we are going to put in all this hard work and lifestyle changes, only to end up back at the same place again and again.

Fear of losing weight shouldn’t keep you from doing it – but it is certainly understandable why it would…especially if you’ve tried - and failed - before.

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