Getting Past the Fear of Quitting (excerpt from Modern Enlightenment)

Do you truly want to quit binge eating, but can’t get beyond the fear of letting it go?  Below I’ve included an excerpt from the book, Modern Enlightenment: Psychological, Spiritual, and Practical Ideas for a Better Life, by Amy Johnson, Ph.D., that may help if you feel stuck in that situation. Amy coaches bulimics / binge eaters, but Modern Enlightenment is not specifically about eating disorders. The following is from a dialogue with one of her clients who felt fear about starting a small business, but I thought the advice was applicable and inspiring.  So, if you are scared to quit binge eating and have a lot of menacing thoughts swirling around in your head, imagine Amy is talking to you…


Okay, stop.  Take a breath.

You are fine. Your mind is moving very quickly telling you lots of lies, but they are not real. It’s just the mind and the ego doing exactly what they do. There is no truth to the thoughts you are thinking.  The only reason they’re affecting you so much is because you are listening to and believing them.

You get to choose which thoughts you focus on and buy into and replay over and over. When a particular thought feels true to us, we embellish it. We fondle it and expand on it and make it seem very real and powerful. It’s not. That’s all that’s going on here. The fear you feel is the consequence of elaborating on and believing those thoughts.

The only way anyone ever does anything new is by taking small steps that scare the crap out of them.  I’m not kidding about this, not even a little bit.

You are at a point right now that every single human being who has ever done anything in life has visited.  You can listen to the fears (lies) and choose to do what you want to do anyway, or you can listen to the fears and take them very seriously.

Most people take the second option.  They’re the same people who wake up at age seventy and wonder  why they didn’t take more chances in life.


You say:  I am so scared.

I know, sweetie.  That’s part of it, too.  But you can do scared – you’ve handled much worse.  You are also scared to not start the business [substitute: not quit binge eating], so you are “doing” scared either way, right?

Scared is how you feel but it has zero to do with how to choose to act.


Remember that anyone who has ever recovered from an eating disorder has felt fear – whether it was fear of what their life would be like afterward, fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of giving up the pleasure, fear of weight loss/gain…etc..  It’s not a unique problem that prevents recovery.

It’s something that must be faced, and not in a ‘fighting the fear’ sort of way; fear is something that can be treated as neurological junk and gently dismissed.

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