Last week in response to my post "Is fat the WORST thing you can be?", one of my very fit and beautiful friends wrote to me that she'd recently broken her foot and can't get around much, but:
"...my fat fear is the more crippling injury."’
If I had to guess, her broken foot is a result of working out (HARD), pushing through, and not resting when she needed to.
And if I had to guess again, those decisions were probably a direct result of her fear of getting fat.
I have absolutely NO judgment of my friend or her situation. In fact, I love and appreciate her honesty.
I've been there myself: excessive workouts, obsessive meal planning and relentless body scrutiny...all out of the fear of not being lean enough. The result of those decisions left me feeling worn out and wondering if I would ever experience freedom in my life.
Unfortunately, my fear-based decision-making wasn't just limited to fitness. It spilled over into other areas of my life: hanging onto the no-good boyfriend for fear that "this is as good as it gets" or taking on a client I don't really want for fear that nothing else will come along or hoarding money because I thought there wouldn't be enough.
Making choices based in fear was putting a major monkey wrench in my life and my happiness.
Honestly, the choices I've made from a place of fear have never really worked out.
Interestingly, making a fear-based decision seems like the easy way out initially, but in the long run it makes life harder. It complicates situations, relationships and experiences.
It's the ultimate buzz-kill.
Fear was always my co-pilot when I was going full-steam ahead on the crazy train. I felt tired, confused, and stressed out. I didn't always realize it when it was happening, but when I look back, it is crystal clear to me.
You may not realize whether you're making decisions out of fear either, so here's a little cheat sheet.
When it comes to weight loss, fitness and health, fear may be your power source if you:
- eat food you don't love (or even like), but you eat it because you think it'll keep you from getting fat
- do exercises you hate
- feel guilty for taking a day off from the gym
- continue to work out despite being injured, a.k.a 'powering through'. (Hey, I'm all about BEAST MODE, but sometimes the beast needs a damn break.)
- avoid your favorite foods
- follow a strict set of rules that make you miserable and feeling deprived
- overeat because you believe there won't get enough
When I was using fear as my primary power source my body felt tense, my breathing was shallow. It was like I was desperately grasping for something.
Now I know that the "desperate grasping" feeling comes from the DEEPER fears. For example, it's not just the fear of gaining weight or not living up to certain beauty standards, it's what's underneath it that scares the crap out of people.
The thought of not being accepted or desired or loved is enough to make us all do some crazy shit.
But here's the truth:
Fear is a limited power source.
You WILL run out of energy and be left feeling deflated, deprived, and depleted.
The good news is that you have a choice. You can decide to use LOVE as your fuel.
Yes, I know this may sound a little 'woo-woo-love-is-the-answer', but in this case, love IS the answer.
Once I starting using love as my power source, I felt lighter, peaceful, and more at ease with myself.
What does it look like to use LOVE in your decision-making?
- eating foods that fuel your body, taste good, AND make you happy
- choosing movement/exercise as a way to honor and take care of your body instead of punish it
- taking time off and resting when you need it
- asking for help, when you need it
- engaging in relationships that fill you up, not suck the life out of you
- it looks (and feels) like freedom
Choosing from a place of love can take a little longer, be a little harder, you may even disappoint some important people along the way. But in the end, it's the most nourishing thing you can do for yourself.