Archive for the tag - fear

8 Reasons NOT To Be Scared Of The Gym.

Hey Davey,

I’m absolutely petrified to go to the gym. I want to start losing weight now. I’m scared of getting judged and being  looked at. I have no friends (yes seriously) so I have no one to go with.


Not how the gym actually is...

Not how the gym actually is…

Hey Aimee,

From fear of judgment to locker room anxiety, I’ve answered many questions from people just like yourself that are scared of the gym. I call it gymtimidation.

Though we’ve all experienced gymtimidation at one time or another, it becomes an issue when this fear is used as an excuse to justify inaction. If you want to lose weight but let your fear prevent you from working toward that goal, it’s time for a reality check. While I’m not a big fan of fear, it seems to me that the real fear isn’t what happens to you if you go to a gym. The real fear is what happens to you if you don’t. Not exercising is a dangerous game to play.

Having said all of that, I’d like to share 7 reasons NOT to be scared of the gym. It’s my hope that these reasons will help re-frame the way you think of the gym.

  1. You don’t need a fit body to join a gym. Gym members come in all shapes and sizes. Some are athletes who have been training for years, but most are everyday people making progress toward their fitness goals. You’ll see people at various stages on their fitness journeys.
  2. You can avoid the locker room. Or you can change with a towel around you. Or you can change in a shower stall. Eventually, you may ready to step outside your comfort zone.
  3. You don’t need fancy gym clothes. Don’t let a lack of gym clothes be your reason for avoiding the gym. Any old t-shirt and sweat pants or shorts can do. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a whole new wardrobe to get started at the gym.
  4. Trainers will show you how to use equipment. Not knowing how to use the machines can be a real issue. More than just looking silly, improper use of the equipment can be dangerous. That’s why all gyms have staff and trainers that can show you how to use the equipment. It’s a great way to get acclimated to the gym.
  5. People are focused on themselves. In talking to people with gymtimidation, the number one fear is that others will judge them for being out of shape, overweight or weak. As I’ve said a million times, this simply isn’t the case. People at the gym are busy. They have their own schedules and commitments and are caught up in their own lives. The reality is, most people aren’t thinking about you at all. They’re thinking about themselves.
  6. You will get stronger. No one is strong on their first day of exercise. You get stronger and stronger over time, and people at the gym are at all stages of development. Even the buff guy curling huge weights started somewhere. The only way to get stronger is to start.
  7. No one is cute while exercising. Don’t be afraid of getting sweaty and gross. It’s the gym. Not a fashion show. Whenever I work out, I’m short of breath, sweaty and my hair flies everywhere; if you’re a gross mess when exercising, you’ll be in good company.
  8. You will gain confidence. Exercise is an effective way to build confidence. Not only will you transform the way your body looks, but you’ll also gain a sense of accomplishment as you shed excess weight and improve the quality of your life.

To make things easier, just break it all into small chunks. First, research the gyms in your area. Second, go in to a few of them to ask for member information. Third, join one. Fourth, schedule an information session to learn the equipment. Five, have a workout or exercise with a personal trainer. And so on.

You can do this.


P.S. If working out at home is more your scene, I recommend downloading Davey Wavey’s Bootcamp Workout. It includes three awesome at-home workouts to burn fat and preserve muscle.


Are You Afraid to Lose Weight?

Today’s guest post is by Davey Wavey’s good friend and spiritual weight release coach, Diane Petrella. Diane is also one of the contributors to The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.

psycho-screamDo you fear you’ll never reach your weight loss goal? Are you afraid you won’t maintain your weight even if you do? Do you feel uneasy when you think about how your life will change when you’re thin?

If you can relate, take heart. Fear is natural. When you learn to free yourself from fear’s grip, you confidently move forward and lose weight with ease and grace.

For many, fear is an uncomfortable yet familiar companion along their weight loss journey. Fear undermines your belief in yourself and stops you from having the life and body you want. When you believe your fears, it’s extremely hard to stay on track with your goals. But you can learn to give fear no power by replacing fear-based thoughts with thoughts of strength and determination.

For example, Jeannine wanted to be thinner but a fear of failing immobilized her. So whenever she thought about eating more nutritiously or exercising, one excuse after another appeared. When she looked below the surface, she realized her “excuses” protected her from feeling defeated. After all, if she didn’t start, she couldn’t fail. When she committed to challenge her fear, change began. It took time and effort, but Jeannine persistently used the strategy described below to shift her self-talk to words of encouragement and determination, and ultimately took charge of her weight-loss journey to reach her goal.

Reclaim Your Power

Your desire to have a thinner, fitter body is much more powerful than any fear you have, I promise. And your fears aren’t that unique or special either. Ask anyone who walks into an exercise class for the very first time or who attends a work function with lots of treats if fear ever tries to derail them. You bet it does. Change can feel scary!

But, you can access your power by thinking thoughts that support your success. Begin by making a conscious decision to no longer allow fear to control you. This decision helps you break the association in your mind between releasing weight and being afraid.

The first step is to recognize when fear arises. I’ve observed three types of fears that trigger anxiety and stress about losing weight. Can you relate to these?

1. Fears that stop you from getting started.

Sometimes the fear of failure immobilizes you from the get go. You fear repeating a pattern of disappointment and focus so much on past failures that a picture of defeat blocks your image of success. You don’t even try or you try halfheartedly. For example:

“I’ve failed before, I’m afraid I’ll fail again.”
“I’m just a hopeless case. I’m afraid I can’t do this.”
“Nothing’s worked in the past, I’m afraid this won’t be different.”

2. Fears that stall your progress.

As you become thinner, anxieties emerge regarding self-worth. The closer you get to your goal weight, the more vulnerable you feel because when you lose weight you also lose the emotional protection it provides. You stop moving forward. For example:

“I’m afraid once I’m thinner…
…I still won’t feel attractive,
…I still won’t find a boyfriend,
…I still won’t like myself.”

Becoming thinner can also trigger fear for those who experienced childhood sexual abuse. For example:

“I’m afraid when I lose weight men will find me attractive and that scares me.”

If you were sexually abused and have never received professional support, please consider doing so. Professional guidance helps you develop the inner resources to lose weight while feeling emotionally safe. To find a psychotherapist in your local area you can use this therapist finder tool at Psychology Today.

3. Fears that sabotage your success.

You’re close to reaching your goal weight, or you reach your goal weight and your mind fills with worries that you won’t keep the weight off. For example:

“I’m afraid I’ll gain back the weight and I’ll be disappointed again.”
“I’m afraid I don’t deserve this.”
“Who am I to be thin and attractive anyway?”

A Fear-Busting, Confidence-Building Strategy ??

Whether fear prevents you from starting to lose weight, blocks your progress during your journey, or challenges your confidence once you’ve reached your goal, here’s a process to take command of your thoughts so you move forward:

1. When a fear-filled thought enters your mind, simply notice it. Ground yourself by taking several deep breaths until you feel even a slight sense of relief.

2. Then, create emotional distance between you and fear by talking to it. For example, confidently say, “Oh, there you are again, fear.” This helps you acknowledge fear but not be ruled by it. Since fear also weakens your body’s energy, it helps to physically reposition your body in a confident stance. For example, pull your shoulders back and hold your head high.

3. Finally, affirm your desire to release weight by firmly saying, “No! I will not let myself be afraid. I am capable of doing this.” Repeat several times to deepen your resolve. You then use a fearful moment to strengthen rather than weaken you and your mind and body respond with positive, uplifting energy.

4. Whenever fear-filled thoughts come in, repeat steps 1-3 to deepen your confidence and belief in yourself.

Use this process as necessary. Some fears require additional strategies to target the root cause and release them completely, so seek out help with deeper self-growth work as needed. Be patient and keep encouraging yourself with confident, determined self-talk. As you develop the habit of replacing fear with thoughts of confidence and strength, you free yourself to create the healthy, vibrant body you want and deserve.

A Dark Secret Behind Weight Loss.

sad-alone-boyToday’s guest post is by Davey Wavey’s good friend and spiritual weight release coach, Diane Petrella. Diane is also one of the contributors to The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.

Were you sexually abused as a child or teen? Do you struggle to lose weight as an adult? If this applies to you, you’re not alone. Sexual abuse is a hidden secret behind weight loss difficulty for many people. While rarely discussed, without this information even the most well-intentioned weight loss advice falls short. But once you understand the deep connection between sexual abuse and carrying extra weight, you’re no longer held back by experiences from your past. Releasing weight can begin to feel more manageable and feeling confident about your body becomes possible.

Studies show that one in four women and one in six men have experienced some form of sexual molestation before the age of eighteen. Depending on the level of the trauma experienced, it’s not unusual for a child victim to later struggle with addictions, poor body image, eating disorders and obesity.

Barbara’s Story

Obese most of her life, Barbara worked with a dietician to help her lose weight for good. She learned about eating healthfully and mindfully, began an exercise program, and took steps to improve her lifestyle. Whenever she made progress, however, her motivation waned. Rather than feel excited about weighing less, she felt a vague discomfort. Anxiety set in. She felt vulnerable and used food to cope. Realizing emotional issues blocked her client’s progress, Barbara’s dietician referred her for counseling.

In our first session, I learned that Barbara’s grandfather sexually abused her for years during her childhood and adolescence. Her weight gain, as well as turning to food when depressed and lonely, began during that time. It became clear that exercise and nutritional guidance alone were no match for the monstrous weight of underlying fear, anger, and shame that Barbara held deep inside.

A Confusing Paradox

Barbara wanted to be thinner but the frightened child inside her didn’t. While Barbara was afraid she’d never lose weight, her subconscious mind was afraid she would.

Let me explain. On a subconscious level excess weight offers emotional protection from unwanted sexual advances. For example, Barbara wanted a thinner body but felt safe in a large one. She often said, “When I get thinner, men notice me and you know what that means.” She associated being thin with being sexually vulnerable even though, on a conscious level, she desperately wanted to lose weight. Once Barbara understood how the sexual abuse trauma she experienced influenced her weight loss attempts, she felt liberated. She then embarked on a journey that not only helped her come to terms with what happened to her as a child, she began to love her body for the first time in her life.

The subconscious fear of unwanted sexual advances is but one aspect of how childhood sexual abuse creates obstacles to successful weight loss in adulthood. Other issues include compulsive overeating to cope with overwhelming feelings and memories, shame about being abused which exacerbates shame about being overweight, and feeling disconnected from one’s body.

Here are five strategies that helped Barbara begin her new path. Perhaps they will help you, too:

  1. Safety First: It’s essential that your home and work environments feel safe. Before embarking on your weight loss journey, seek help to resolve or leave any physically or emotionally abusive relationships. You can’t help your “inner child” feel safe if you’re not safe.
  2. Visualize Small Steps: As you release weight, subtle insecurities may develop, especially in summer months when wearing fewer clothes. Underlying fears about being thin may make it hard to even imagine yourself at your ideal weight. That’s OK. Use visualization to see yourself three to five pounds lighter, then three to five pounds lighter after that. Develop safety in your imagination first to help you feel safe in your body later.
  3. Take Yoga Classes: Because your body was the object of abuse, experiencing body image issues or feelings of disconnection from your body, is common. Yoga is a gentle and powerful way to help you feel more connected with your body. Over time, as you develop confidence with your body, underlying fears about releasing weight begin to lessen and distorted images about your body begin to improve.
  4. Nurture Your Soul: Trauma leaves behind so much internal chaos, that it’s often hard to trust your intuition. Spend time each day, even ten minutes, to do something calming that soothes and grounds you. Whether you listen to soft music, read inspirational articles, or write in a journal, create a daily habit of reflective “me” time to quiet your mind and nurture your soul. This helps you hear the whispers of your own authentic voice guiding you along your journey.
  5. Get Support: Don’t travel this road alone. Seek out support from a trusted friend or relative. Talk to a professional who can assist you in ways your friends cannot. To find a psychotherapist in your local area, use this therapist finder tool at Psychology Today.

It’s not easy to have a history of sexual abuse and be struggling with weight loss at the same time… but healing does happen. Other people, including Barbara, have overcome these issues and also reached their weight loss goals. With the right approach and support, you will, too.

I’m Afraid to be Thin.

Hi Davey,

I’m a long time Blog Buddy, having watched your videos and read your blog for about four years now.

I finished my workout the other day and saw the tiniest of contours starting to form around my abs and got so excited! But then kind of nervous… and I couldn’t pinpoint the source of that concern for the life of me. I thought you might be able to shed some light on why we get scared of physical progress.


OvercomingFear222Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for asking this question.

Through the lens of fitness, let’s ask the question: What are you afraid of? Some obvious answers might boil up. I’m afraid of being fat. I’m afraid that I’ll fail at the gym and not get results. I’m afraid that I’ll never be able to successfully manage or control my weight.

But there is a much deeper fear for some people, and it’s one that your answer points toward.

In her book A Course in Weight Loss, Marianne Williamson says it perfectly:

Your deepest fear isn’t of being fat; your deepest fear is of being thin. Your deepest fear is of being beautiful.

It’s a powerful hypothesis – and, of course, it’s not true for everyone. But consider the example of sexual abuse. As Williamson notes:

The number of women whose excess weight can be almost directly traced to sexual abuse is significant. When I was beautiful, I was molested. Or, when I’m beautiful, I don’t know how to handle the sexual attention. Such thoughts run rampant through the minds of many who are overweight, men as well as women.

Diane Petrella, a spiritual weight release coach, notes that excess weight is a “sexually abused child’s solution to the fear of unwanted sexual advances. Wearing layers of flannel pajamas to delay the inevitable transformed into layers of protective fat in adulthood. Compulsive overeating was the only way to self-soothe when no one was available for support.”

To replace fear with love isn’t easy – and it’s not always something that you can do alone. Assuming that your environment is safe and secure, Petrella recommends confiding in a trusted friend or family member and giving yourself the gift of professional help.

It also takes time. Petrella continues:

Have patience and realize that this process isn’t just about releasing weight. It’s about releasing your fears and your pain. The longer it takes to release weight the more you can trust that an inner shift is happening… Your developing inner strength then becomes the foundation that will help you release weight with confidence and self-love.

Whether or not this advice resonates with your personal experience, it’s an important topic that’s rarely discussed – so I appreciate the opportunity you’ve given us to bring it into the light. For further exploration, I recommend this article on weight loss and sexual abuse and Marianne Williamson’s book, A Course in Weight Loss.


Question: What Are You Afraid Of?

Fro most of us, fear holds us back. What are you afraid of?

You know that exercise transforms your body and improves the way you feel about yourself. It even boosts your sex life.

You know all about creating smart fitness goals and achieving them.

You know how to overcome all the excuses.

You know that honoring your body with exercise is an extension of honoring your life.

You know what exercises to do, how much weight to use and how many sets and reps to perform.

You know that there’s a huge community of more than 100,000 blog buddies to cheer on your accomplishments.

So, what’s holding you back? The door is open. What’s stopping you from walking through? The path to achieving your fitness goal is clear, so why aren’t you seizing the opportunity?

For most of us, the answer is fear. I want to know, in the comments below, what you’re most afraid of?

How to Overcome the Fear of Fitness Failure.

When I work with clients or talk to people about their fitness goals, many express a fear of failure. For some people, it seems easier to do nothing than invest time at the gym and risk falling short.

To those who fear fitness failure, I have two points.

First, I like to remind my clients that it’s important to ‘fail’ at least half of your fitness goals. If you’re achieving everything you’ve set out to achieve, then I’d suggest that you’re not aiming high enough.

Secondly, maybe ‘fail’ isn’t the right word. As personal growth guru Dr. Wayne Dyer points out, there’s no such thing as failure:

Failing is a judgment that we humans place on a given action. Rather than judgment, substitute this attitude: You cannot fail, you can only produce results. Then the most important question to ask yourself is, “What do you do with the results you produce?” It is better to jump in and experience life than to stand on the sidelines fearing that something might go wrong.

Dyer then goes on to cite the example of a child learning to walk. Inevitably, the child will fall down many times as he or she discovers how to use their muscles and balance. These falls aren’t failures; they’re learning experiences.

Indeed, you may go to the gym with the goal of losing 20 pounds over the next three months. Maybe you’ll only lose 10. Or maybe you’ll gain 5. Rather than considering this a failure, view this as an important result. And then do something with the result. You know that you’ll need to change some of the variables – like the exercises performed, gym frequency, duration of exercise, diet, etc.

Learn from your results, and then evolve accordingly.

How to Overcome Fear of the Gym.

Feeling uncomfortable or intimidated at the gym is actually fairly common among beginners. With bodybuilders and seasoned exercisers and athletes, it’s easy to feel out of place or like you don’t belong.

I think the most obvious piece of advice for overcoming those feelings is to not care what other people might think about you. If you measure yourself by the feelings and whims of others, you are in for a very difficult life. Of course, not caring is easier said than done for a lot of people.

So I decided to make a short video with some more practical advice for overcoming intimidation at the gym. Check it out.