Friends, I can’t believe we’re already in 2024! I’m sitting here, writing this, just back from a mind-blowing trip to Costa Rica with Rob for his 50th birthday. Oh, the memories we made! But there’s one particular experience that’s etched in my mind, and it’s the reason I’m sharing this story of self-discovery and facing my fears today.
On our last full day in Costa Rica, we had booked a catamaran tour. This catamaran was unlike anything I had ever been on, and I was itching to jump off the 15-foot high platform into the crystal-clear water. But there was one problem: fear was holding me back. I’m afraid of heights and I would just get paralyzed whenever I stood on the platform.
Lunchtime came, and a gnawing feeling inside me told me I had to face this fear. So, I handed my food to Rob, marched over to that platform, and jumped. The rush, the power, the triumph over fear—it was exhilarating! And I want to share how this experience has resonated deeply with my health journey, and especially with my recent shift to intuitive eating.
Fear Trapped me in the Diet Cycle
What happened in Costa Rica echoed my health journey. There was a time I experimented with intuitive eating but retreated due to fear. I had already flirted with intuitive eating long before I ever became a coach. A number of years ago, when I was in my last round of Weight Watchers, I was rummaging through the cupboard, wanting to make my favorite little zero-point snack that wasn’t even food. And I remember mixing the stuff up on the counter and thinking “What the hell am I actually doing? This isn’t even food.” I was eating stuff that was not making me feel good when my goal was to feel better.
And so I kind of did some reading about intuitive eating and decided this is aligned with who I want to be. But I made the most common mistake that people often make when they’re first starting with intuitive eating: making the assumption that it is a f*ck-it diet. That you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want, and things will be fine.
And of course the result was that I gained a bunch of weight and started to feel very afraid of what was going to happen to me if I continued on that path. And so I promptly stopped intuitive eating and returned to dieting again because that felt safe. Even if I wasn’t losing weight, at least I wasn’t gaining it anymore. This fear of gaining more weight was so profound for me that it kept me in the diet cycle and prevented me from achieving the real goal: feeling better in my life.
The fear wasn’t always clear, but it paralyzed me, and hindered my progress. Fear plays a huge role in our lives, preventing us from making changes, whether in our relationship with food, our bodies, or anything else. Often, we don’t actually need to pinpoint the fear; we just need to decide if we can move past it and take the next step.
Moving Past the Fear
Reflecting on Costa Rica, Rob and I enjoyed a vacation completely free from food preoccupation. No planning, no deliberation—just ordering what felt right and stopping when full. The reward for pushing past the fear of experimenting with intuitive eating was this newfound freedom. And that’s the essence of facing fears—it’s about taking that next step or the first step.
So, what are you afraid of? Specifically, in terms of changing your relationship with food and your body? My second round with intuitive eating brought its own fears—I was experimenting with things I hadn’t taught my clients or shared on the podcast. It felt disingenuous, and fear of judgment loomed. But I faced it, experimented, and eventually made a significant shift in my business. But magic happens when we identify where fear holds us back and decide to take the next step.
I want to emphasize that facing fears involves distinguishing between discomfort and feeling unsafe. Our comfort zone, fear of discomfort, and the outer sphere of feeling unsafe—all are different levels of fear. Pushing ourselves beyond the comfort zone and facing discomfort is where growth happens. However, if something feels unsafe, it’s okay to step back, seek help, and return when you’re ready. It’s crucial to distinguish between uncomfortable and unsafe when making changes in our relationship with food and our bodies.
My Costa Rican adventure and the diving platform taught me a valuable lesson—sometimes, you just need to take one small step, face the discomfort, and push past the fear. In facing fears, the “why” matters too. Are you doing it out of peer pressure or to save face? The profound experience comes when you make a conscious choice to conquer your fear and grow.
So my question for you as we enter 2024 is: How are you jumping off the boat today? What fears are you facing, and how are you conquering them?
Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect on social media @wayzahealth. I can’t wait to hear your stories of courage and triumph over fear!