I remember so many times in my 200-250’s when I didn’t do lots of things with friends from going out to eat to participating in walks, shopping, or girl’s weekends. Why? I was afraid I would be the fattest girl and what the heck would I have to contribute other than the joke of the room? Fear stopped me from having a life and the lack of jumping into ANYTHING in life kept me fat. How would I change if all I did was refuse to open myself up to fear?
Fear. It can have many faces.
- It can STOP you from living life like it did for me.
- It can convince you that what you are doing is not important, thus, convincing you that the road you are on is simply not important or not valued.
- It can PROPEL you forward to bigger and better things.
For years as I was losing weight I fell into category two: I diminished my fears and, therefore, diminished my accomplishments. I probably did 30 or more smaller races while I was saying things like it’s OK to look bad, it doesn’t matter if I’m in last place, I don’t know anyone there so why should I care, and so on.
You know, it did matter that I looked “bad” because I was in the process of changing my life! I didn’t want to keep looking that way so why should I run away from that fear? I should embrace it and use it to keep me aching to improve. And, it DID matter if I was in last place. That’s not a place I wanted to STAY. It was fine to show up and be there but I needed that fear to make me train for ANOTHER race where I could PUSH myself to be better and faster. I was never ashamed of last place but I sure as heck didn’t want fear to keep me there.
Often my private forum members email their thoughts and fears about posting to the group. They let the fear stop them from signing up for challenges or posting what they truly think. Rather than EMBRACING the fear and realizing if it scares you then you probably NEED TO DO IT they sit on the sidelines hoping something will change.
My best advice to them and you who are sitting on the sidelines is to know that the fear is good for you. It helps you take more chances and when you are losing weight you gotta be willing to take chances. You have to try new foods, go new places, join gyms and enter the “boys” area, do cardio when you feel like people are looking, walk in your neighborhood where the people can see you, say what’s going on in your life and in your head so people can HELP you (no judgement EVAH at PNP) and hit the grocery store buying food you normally are scared to try.
Losing weight is full of fear. You need to quit letting fear slow you down and allow it move you forward. If you are scared to do something it might just mean you are staring at something that is worth jumping in feet first. The more you take fear in, allow the nervous tummy hit send, line up at a race, or lift a weight you once thought was only for a guy is when life starts changing faster and faster.
The self-induced anxiety formula often goes like this: What I’m about to do is important. I’ve never done it quite like this. It’s incredibly crucial, a turning point, a high risk venture, a moment in time I won’t have again. Therefore, I am nervous. And I need to get more nervous, because the importance of the moment warrants it. This is going to fail. I can vividly picture all the ways it won’t work…
On and on.
A common approach to decreasing the unhappy cycle is self talk to minimize how important the upcoming event is. The mantra is: No one will be watching, I’m exaggerating this moment, it’s no big deal, it’s not as important as you think, it doesn’t really matter…
The problem with that approach is that you spend your day trash talking your leverage and impact. By actively diminishing what you’ve accomplished, you make it less likely you’ll see yourself as worthy of even bigger achievements tomorrow.
In fact, it does matter. In fact, this is an important thing you’re about to do, and denigrating it undermines the very reason you’re doing this work in the first place.
Here’s an alternative: It’s okay to be nervous. Instead of fighting that anxiety, dance with it. Welcome it. Relish it. It’s a sign you’re on to something. “Oh good, here comes that itch!” This is important after all.
When we welcome a feeling like this, when we embrace it and actually look forward to it, the feeling doesn’t get louder and more debilitating. It softens, softens to the point where we can work with it.
Use your fear like fuel.