We Have to Talk About Fear

We live in a culture that teaches us, consciously and subconsciously, to equate fatness with death. No wonder we are afraid. Fear is by far the biggest barrier to trying, sticking with, and going all the way with Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size. It's the boogeyman. We have to talk about it.

Fear about intuitive eating and health at every size comes to the surface for my clients in statements like these. Do any of them resonate?

"If I give myself 'full permission' to eat anything I want, I will go totally 'off the rails' and eat nothing but chocolate donuts (or ice cream or bagels or snickers bars – each person has their own food that they cite in this scenario. Mine were coffee cake muffins and peanut M & Ms)

"If I let go of the rules, I won’t know what to eat."

"What about my health? Aren’t certain foods just objectively BAD FOR YOU?"

Let’s unpack these fears a bit.

No matter the exact words, these are the core fears:

1) I will gain weight

2) I will become unhealthy

Fear of weight gain makes sense if you’ve lived your entire life in western culture. Everything you have ever learned about “being fat” or “being overweight” or “obesity” is negative and scary. If you’ve been in a larger body you’ve suffered enormous trauma – both macro and micro. If you haven’t, you have witnessed it and been disciplined by it – you have learned its dangers and taken measures to prevent becoming bigger.

Because of our viciously fat-phobic culture, the fear