Are You Afraid to Succeed?

For better or worse, fear is a part of our emotional make-up. If someone tells you they are never afraid, they may be stretching the truth. I’ll raise my hand right now and admit to being a worrier by nature. I work hard not to worry about things I can’t control, but it does take work. I also have certain fears – mostly surrounding my children and their safety! And I work on handling those fears appropriately as well.

For better or worse, fear is a part of our emotional make-up. If someone tells you they are never afraid, they may be stretching the truth. I’ll raise my hand right now and admit to being a worrier by nature. I work hard not to worry about things I can’t control, but it does take work. I also have certain fears – mostly surrounding my children and their safety! And I work on handling those fears appropriately as well.


On the surface, weight loss seems pretty straightforward. You work hard at your eating, exercise regularly, and before long you start to see some success. And then sometimes an unexpected emotion pushes to the forefront of your psyche. Fear. And sometimes, that fear is part of the reason why we stop trying to improve our health. Quite frankly, I experienced this several times during my obese years.



Over the years, there were several weight loss attempts I made where I actually lost a few pounds. But long before I reached my goal, I quit trying. Among all the complex emotions that led me to quit, in the forefront was fear. Fear of failure, and yes, fear of success.


I didn’t want to have to face my friends again trying to explain why I had failed at dieting again and that was fear of failure. I was fearful of what my life would look like if I actually lost all my weight and changed my life, and that was fear of success. It seems ridiculous doesn’t it? Fear of success? But it’s what I felt.


I’m still not sure what I was afraid might happen if I lost 150 pounds. Was I afraid of the attention I might receive? Was I afraid that more might be expected from me? Or was I afraid I wouldn’t be able to maintain my weight loss? Looking back all these years later, I realize it was a combination of the 3, but the strongest was probably the fear of failing in maintenance – So instead of working through the fear I would quit.


I’d like to encourage you not to let the fear or failure or success stop you from continuing on your quest to get healthy. Putting my fears aside wasn’t easy, but it was an important step in my journey.

Q: I end up overeating because it makes me feel better and I never really get full. I'd like to lose weight but this makes it hard. Any suggestions?

A: Being persistently hungry can cause big trouble. So can overeating for comfort/pleasure. These two behaviors, say researchers from Baylor University's Children's Nutrition Research Center, are controlled deep within your brain by serotonin-producing neurons, but operate separately from each other — one in the hypothalamus, the other in the midbrain. They both can, however, end up fueling poor nutritional choices and obesity.

Eating for Hunger

When hunger is your motive for eating, the question is: "Does your body know when you've had enough?" Well, if you are overweight, obese or have diabetes you may develop leptin resistance and your "I am full" hormone, leptin, can't do its job. The hormone's signal to your hypothalamus is dampened, and you keep eating.

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