Facing Fears

fearThanks to the amazing beast that is Google, I just read the leaked script of Buried, the indie flick my “crush” Ryan Reynolds is supposedly filming in Barcelona right now as we speak.

If you’re not familiar with it yet, you will be in 2010 when it’s released — and there’s plenty of buzz about it now.

It’s the one-man film of an American contractor in Iraq whose convoy is ambushed by Iraqi insurgents.

Kidnapped and buried alive, he comes to in a coffin … with only a dying cell phone, a lighter and a knife … oh, and desert sand trickling through a tiny hole in the wooden box.

Reading the 80-page script, I felt nauseous and sick, as though I was in his shoes myself.

I won’t say anything more about the plot, other than that this movie is going to make its audience  squirm — that is, if they can sit through an entire film shot in one very claustraphobic location.

I bring this film up not because I adore Ryan Reynolds (and I do) but because Ryan’s character — Paul — is facing the absolute of fears: certain, imminent death.

He’s literally trapped, and he has no way out … unless by some miracle he gets rescued.

At a time like this, all Paul’s problems (his anxiety disorder; choosing to go against his wife’s wishes to go to Iraq for this job; being admittedly not the best dad to his son; grappling with his aging/ailing mother suffering from Alzheimer’s) seem miniscule in comparison to what he’s facing: death at the hands of insurgents.

Which brings me to my own notion of fear.

I know I have said here at times that I fear getting heavy again, but that fear is ridiculous when you think of it in terms of a life or death situation like Paul’s.

Granted, most of us will never face our mortality by being buried alive in the Iraqi desert. But every day, we choose to face challenges either head-on, or skirting around them.

As you know, my biggest challenges I pound away at here are disordered eating/body acceptance/food issues.

Some days, I think I face disordered eating head-on: when I choose to listen to my body and eat intuitively, when I end my workout a little early because my body is tired, when I suggest to my husband, “Let’s go for Italian tonight (like I did this past Saturday night), or when I resist the urge to emotionally eat.

Some days, I skirt around disordered eating: when I journal Points even though it’s not necessary at this point; when I convince myself extra exercise is a great way to “kill some time;” when I buy FF fro-yo even though I really want chocolate, when I wake at 2 a.m. and am on autopilot in the kitchen.

But regardless of how I’m facing the challenges, I’m dealing with them now, with a clarity and awareness I didn’t have a year ago … and that is, indeed, priceless.

Two of my biggest real fears are drowning and being in a runaway car with no brakes. I’ve had nightmares of both of these things happening since as far back as I can remember — maybe age 3 or 4?

Do I let these fears paralyze me? Do I not swim, or not drive? No, not at all. I have to face them head-on. Likewise, living a life of “fearing fat” would be ludicrous.

I find it almost a form of self pay-back that those (pre-blogging) three or so years I spent living in fear of gaining weight back (obsessing, over-exercising, restricting) … the slow creep I feared did happen in the end, at my own hands, no less!

I didn’t gain back all of it, but enough. And though I gained weight, it wasn’t the end of the world.

Hello, it’s not the end of the world. In the grand scheme of things, it’s just weight.

And unlike Paul, I’m not trapped in some (DE) coffin forever. I have options, and I can choose to breathe.

Ok, so how am I going to “breathe?” you ask.

Well,  in the comments yesterday, Lorrie asked if I’ve been eating intuitively or counting Points.

The truth is, I’ve been doing a little of both. Technically if I were solely following WW, I’d have gone “over” every week (which, to me, means I’ve eaten all my given target and extra points but then needed to use some activity points, too). I realize this might still sound obsessive to someone who isn’t familiar with WW, but it is just a language as natural to me as any other now.

I argue it’s not obsessive because I’m eating first and journaling after most days (which allows for more mental freedom) . Plus, I stopped with the spreadsheets and Sparkpeople when I agreed to try IE, and I have not deprived myself of anything really these past couple weeks of trying to eat intuitively as I can.

I can’t ditch my food journal — it’s too ingrained in who I am. But I’m trying not to sweat the fact that I “go over.” I realize this is still not 100% IE, but it’s the best I can do for me.

And I’m breathing a little easier without the looming cloud of  “Oh no, I already finished my Points for the day!” hanging over me. Part of listening to my body means just that: listening to my body. Even if it means eating pretzels when I know almonds are the “healthier” option.

Ultimately, all fears are rational to the person feeling them; it’s what we do about that fear/how we handle the fear that makes us who we are.

And if we’re blessed enough to have a choice in how we handle that fear then we might as well face it head-on; we might as well breathe.

Because there will always be people/characters like Paul who don’t have a choice, who are struggling for breath.

How about you? What do you fear the most?


13 thoughts on “Facing Fears

  1. Thanks for responding to my comment! You’re very honest. I hope you can reach a point where intuition comes natural to you. Looking forward to reading more of your journey =)

  2. I’m just starting to read “Intuitive Eating,” and although I’m not very far into it, I already know I won’t be able to fully do IE (at this point). But, there are many concepts from the book that I love and I’m utilizing already. Like they say, progress…not perfection.

    I think if the journaling is a part of you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Especially since you’re journaling after you eat. And yes, sometimes we just have to go with those cravings! Even if we know they are not the “healthiest” option (like last night when I REALLY wanted chocolate pudding, not an apple or strawberries!).

    Wow, I’m a HUGE Ryan Reynolds fan, and this moving sounds amazing!!

  3. Hey sweets~

    I had not at all heard about that movie and it sounds really interesting. My fears have always been of failure — and I see gaining weight and being fat as a big FAILURE. I have to be good at everything and have to be successful at everything — but not only successful, perfect is more to the point. It’s irrational and my life would be happier without this fear, but it’s where i am at right now.

    Take care.

    1. Kahluaabba–that’s what I think needs changing; your thoughts that fat = failure. You don’t have to be successful or perfect and until you realize that … the vicious cycle continue. It’s very black or white thinking … and there are shades of gray in life ((hug))

  4. Yikes, just reading that little bit made me anxious and claustophobic LOL I fear illness. I tend towards some hypochondria so getting a major illness is a huge fear of mine.

    Gaining weight was always a huge fear of mine after I went through the ED and maintained a low weight for several years. Then it happened. I gained about 30 lbs during a very happy time in my life when I was really relaxed and felt I could truly be myself with the person I was with at the time. All the years of restricting really caught up with me and I just ate a lot (no binge eating or anythnig, just lots of treats, meals out etc). And while I wans’t happy about the weight (It put me above my healthy range) the world didn’t end, the sky didn’t fall. I had faced one of my big fears and realized it wasn’t that bad and in the big picture of life it was nothing.

  5. I totally appreciate this post. Sometimes I let my little fears get the better of me. I too have the fear of gaining the weight back or getting injured again so I can’t exercise. But like you I work on controlling them. Its a learning process and I don’ t think I’ll ever be perfect at it. But I’m really interested to see this movie now.

  6. Fantastic post. I fear I am not going to be as passionate about working out as I was earlier in the year. For me, when I get into a good workout groove, balanced eating seems to naturally follow. Workout groove not coming back so easily …

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