Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The fears of a formerly skinny gal

Fear is a funny thing. The emotion of fear is so dynamic. Some people avoid being scared whenever possible (yes, I fit in this category; no scary movies for me please). Some people thrive on it. Some people never confront their fears. Some do (yes I do on occasion; I've been skydiving twice and it was amazing).

When I hear the word fear I think of horrible scenarios: man hiding under my car grabs my ankle in a dark parking lot, attack by wild beasts of some sort, motherhood :). Maybe I'm a bit dramatic, but I would imagine that there are others out there who have these same horrible thoughts when they think of the word fear.

But maybe we are over thinking this. Because I am beginning to believe that we all deal with fear to some degree every. single. day. And for those of us who deal with body image issues I think those fears can sometimes be crippling (and likely we aren't even aware of them).

Here's what got me thinking about this: I have heard women talk about how they had tried everything and simply couldn't lose weight. Then they realized that they were actually terrified of losing weight. They didn't know who they would be without the padding. They were afraid of losing friends. They were afraid of the attention that may come (both positive and negative) if they were to lose the weight. They had no idea these fears were there. But once they discovered the fear, and let go by accepting their body as it was, accepting that change would happen and they could love that person too the weight just started to come off.

When I first heard about this idea I thought it was a bit absurd. Who is scared to lose weight? But I've been doing some soul searching and guess what I found? Fear.

I believe that giving up dieting and becoming an intuitive eater takes a great deal of courage. Because it certainly can be scary. There is a lot of unknown. For a person who has always had rules, giving up the safety of rules can be terrifying. And learning to love your body just as it is can be intimidating.

But here is something else I've found in my own life: Fear of the setpoint. In order to be an intuitive eater you need to accept that every body has a weight and shape that is most comfortable and healthy for that body to function. That weight is your body's setpoint. And I'm okay with the concept.

My fear is that my setpoint is high.

Then it hit me: As a formerly skinny girl I have been holding on to this fear that my setpoint isn't as skinny as I used to be (and after having a baby it likely isn't). And I've been afraid to accept that. I've been afraid to give in to being an intuitive eater completely because I'm afraid I will, in fact, stay the size I am.

Wait! That completely undermines the whole journey here at LITM. Isn't the purpose to learn self love and acceptance?

Yes. That is the point. And yes this fear undermines the journey. But you see, up until a few days ago I had no idea this fear existed. I had no idea that deep down I was harboring this belief that intuitive eating needed to help me get thin. Because there are people who have indeed lost weight when they became an intuitive eater. But there are those who didn't either and that fear has been holding me back. The difference between me and those who live intuitive eating? They truly gave in to intuitive eating. They learned love where they were. And they found the best place for the best health for their bodies. And they feel great.

I believe that my heart has been in the right spot, but there are still barriers yet to be discovered and overcome. And guess what, dear readers, if you are embarking on this journey as well you will have your own road to walk with your barriers to tear down. And that's okay. This is a process after all.

No decent story about a journey has ever been written where the hero/heroine reached the final destination without a few hiccups. The hiccups and the unexpected are what make the story so good. So welcome to your journey. It may get bumpy.

*Image credit.