A common theme for people is the fear of failure. When they begin working with one of our therapists or begin to join in the peer discussions on our web-based program, there is a feeling a great deal of fear and overwhelm that they are too far gone; that this process won’t work for them; that they won’t be able to figure it out; or that if they can figure it out and achieve a certain degree of freedom, they won’t be able to step completely free of their eating disorder in any lasting way.
It is perfectly appropriate to have fear and doubt in new situations. All humans do. And the degree to which people feel that fear and doubt correlates directly to how important they view success in that particular pursuit to be.
When we’re talking about complete and lasting recovery from anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, diet mentality and/or body image stress, what we’re really talking about, whether we know it or not initially, is complete and lasting recovery from fundamental insecurity; from harmful relationships; from unsatisfying careers; and from poor self-care. Thus, there really is a lot at stake.
Not only that, but typically, by the time someone comes through our door (at the Centre or virtually through our phone counselling or web program), they have tried more than 10 diets already, none of which have been successful. They have also likely tried fitness programs, anti-depressants and/or anti-anxiety medications as well (many are still on these medications when they begin work with us, and most are able to completely come off them for good after they heal their use of food to cope). A good number of our clients have been hospitalized, often more than once before they reach out to us for support. And quite a few have undergone some form of weight loss surgery, which, unfortunately, without healing their underlying triggers for using food to cope, met with short-lived success.
So, it is quite appropriate that people feel fear and doubt when they reach out to us. Not only are they engaging in harmful patterns of thinking and behaving much of each day, if not 24/7, but because of the lack of success of their previous attempts to heal, they understandably feel quite defeated and struggle to believe that they will ever be successful in experiencing complete freedom from the use of food to cope.
All of the methods mentioned above which have been tried by millions of men and women unsuccessfully and often repeatedly to find peace and ease with food and in their own skin, have one common flaw: They are band aids. They treat the symptoms of your problem and not the underlying cause. Therefore, the truth is, you can only ever be moderately successful with any of those methods and never in any lasting way. But because that message is very rarely ever conveyed to you, the consumer, you understandably believe that the problem is you and not that the method you have been trying which just doesn’t lead to lasting change.
I find it so incredibly heartwarming to witness the sharing of members on our web program in response to new members expressing their fear and doubt. There are two reasons this is so:
- I am thrilled that new members have a safe place to share their concerns, to be vulnerable about their fears, and to receive the support and positive feedback of people who are farther ahead on their journey (often only by a few months); and
- I am thrilled that those members, many of whom have only been at this process a little while longer than those newcomers, are able to authentically offer reassurance that peace and healing and success is possible and so very worth the effort of pushing past that fear of failure. They are living proof that healing is possible.
The most important ingredient for success on this healing journey is hope. If you have any hope at all, even the tiniest smidgen that healing might be possible for you, that is enough to get you started on an entirely new path towards the life of your dreams. That wee smidgen of hope allows you to put yourself in new situations with new people who can show you new ways of thinking and behaving that lead to experiences of success and to even more hope, which leads to more success and even more hope and so on and so on and so on until you have so much experience with new ways of being that you have trust in this process and in your ability to sustain the changes you have made to your behaviour, to your body, and to your thoughts and your overall emotional state. That old familiar state of chronic anxiety and depression is so far from the happy, peaceful, exuberant you, that it’s hard to believe you used to live like that all the time.
It is ironic that it typically only takes a few short months to get to the place where you feel like you are in control of food, rather than the other way around, but it can take years, even decades of feeling stuck and defeated in old diets and nasty self-talk before you finally are so fed up you’re willing to try something new.
I’ve mentioned before that we frequently hear new clients say something like: “You’re my last resort” or “I’ve tried everything else…if this doesn’t work I don’t know what I’ll do.”
Imagine their surprise when they find themselves a few short months later feeling more peace and ease in their body and in their relationship with food than ever before, often losing weight with no effort other than to eat when hungry, stop when full and to attend to their emotional stress in more life-enhancing ways.
The process of complete recovery is speedy when you’re using the right tools. So rather than continue to spin your wheels with things you’ve already tried or with variations on that old theme of food focus, you really do owe it to yourself to dive in and explore an entirely new approach.
Whether you prefer one-on-one counselling (in-person, by phone, or email), our intensive and transformative workshops, the self-help approach, with the book, or our Food is Not the Problem Online Membership Program, take action today to have a stress-free relationship with food. Sign up for our free newsletter today (see the left top side of your screen). Newsletter subscribers receive exclusive product discounts and are first in line to get on all the latest new at CEDRIC.
© Michelle Morand, 2010