How Fear of Failure Discourages People from Dieting to Lose Weight

Nobody likes to fail, and especially,  nobody wants this failure to be glaringly obvious to everybody around them.   Diets are prone to failure, simply because of their restrictive regime.  When going on a diet, people tend to tell others about it, asking not to be tempted and so on.  There are better ways, such as Weight watchers healthy eating plan, but for the sake of this question, let us imagine we are talking about a diet that is full of “forbidden fruits.”  Because the dieter, by the obvious changes they make to their eating habits, is always in the spotlight for all to see, so they may be setting themselves up to fail.

Now the first few weeks usually go quite well as several pounds come off.  To the dieter and any interested bystanders like friends and family, this signals success.  But the pressure to keep on losing, along with the restrictions the diet imposes,  make it difficult for some  people to keep up the momentum.  You can bet your life they have tried in the past, and failed.

Failure makes us ashamed, makes us feel we have let ourselves and others down,  makes us feel like losers.  Nobody willingly puts themselves in a position where all this negativity surrounds them.  No wonder there is fear, and that fear is about all the negative emotions associated with failure.  Add to that the evidence of failure, as the weight ceases to come off, and maybe even increases, this is tantamount to public humiliation.  Such fear of failure is totally reasonable; we are afraid to have what amounts to character weakness make clear for all to see.  This is not pleasant, and is just one way of how fear of failure can discourage people from going on a diet.

On top of that, we want to see fast,positive results, and we want some recognition for our efforts.  We want to be a success, and losing this weight is a success in a society that admires thin people,  as well as those who always succeed at what they do.  Fear of failure is a powerful thing.

Being afraid is natural, especially when we feel that failure can expose us to ridicule at worst, unwanted sympathy at best.  Not only do we think we have to beat ourselves up about it, but we also believe others think less of us for our failure.  This does not have to happen.  If we can accept that failure is not a permanent state of affairs, that it can be overcome by trying again to master the problem, then fear too can be overcome.  

In the dieting scenario fear is a “but what if I can’t” self-doubting emotion that holds us back.  If we start the diet or weight loss program with a positive, realistic mindset that includes “trying to lose weight” and “I will succeed eventually,” we can overcome the fear of failure.   Realizing that nobody is perfect, ourselves included,  can and will disarm the fear and allow us to keep on trying.  But there is no doubt that these are some of the ways as to how fear of failure can discourage people from going on a diet.  Do not give in to it,  you can win.