The Fear of Being Ugly

I don’t work with extreme eating disorders. Because I don’t want to.

I am also not qualified to, and I never personally had one, but mostly… I don’t want to. It’s really hard, dark, heavy stuff.

And most importantly, you cannot save someone who does not actually want to be saved.

You can’t change someone who is only half willing to change.

My personal issue with food and weight was obsessive, miserable, chronic dieting and orthorexia, plus body dysmorphia, horrible body image, and weight fixation. And still, nobody could have saved me from myself. Nobody could get through to me past my own decision about what was important. I had to come to it on my own. And I had to want it badly.

I had to surrender to my biggest fear: being ugly. While at the exact same time, actively changing my beliefs about beauty and worth.

That’s a paradox: do the work to unlearn what you’ve learned about beauty. Unlearn all the reasons you believe gaining weight would make you ugly and unworthy. But at the same time, accept the possibility of actually being ugly.

Because if you feel worthy even if you believe you aren’t beautiful, you can’t lose.

That’s really what it comes down to: Wanting to be happy more than you want to be beautiful.

And I must always remember that I can’t force that epiphany on anyone – just as nobody could have forced it on me.

If The Fuck It Diet helps you with your eating disorder recovery, great. That’s wonderful. But I am not in the business of healing people or converting people, because I don’t believe you can do that.

The truth remains the same no matter how far down the food/weight rabbit hole you are: If you aren’t willing to do the really scary work, you won’t recover, no matter how many of my blog posts you read.

The desire to heal has to be stronger that your desire to stay feeling control.

Your desire to feel discomfort and pain has to become stronger than you desire to numb.

The desire to be healthy has to be stronger than your desire to be skinny.

The desire to live has to be stronger than your desire to wither away.

You have to be willing to face your biggest fear of being bigger. And nobody can force that on you.

Again, your desire to be happy, has to be stronger than your desire to be (your definition of) beautiful.

The Unwillingness to Be Alive

The other thing with eating disorders, both mild and extreme, it is a subconscious unwillingness to be in your body, to have a body, and to be a human.

It is an unwillingness to “be here”. On this earth. In this body.

Your body is where all the pain and trauma is, so the idea goes that if you can just shrink it, you can avoid some of this earthly pain.

But it’s inherently anti-life. And in order to heal, you have to be willing to ride in the messiness of humanity. It’s not easy, that’s why so many people are looking for a way out.

There has to be a major choice for something different, because how do you heal if you aren’t willing to be fully alive? You can’t.

You have to want to be alive and ugly, more than you want to be beautiful.


  1. DY says:

    Well said. I can really relate. As a near 60 y/o I am really seeing I am fat and not beautiful/pretty. I feel old and fat. The world seems like a place for the young and beautiful. Well if I can’t be that, who am I? I do want to live happy and let the rest go. Another important journey in this messy path of life!! But really a hard one!!

  2. Rose says:

    This is POWERFUL! Thank you. I was especially moved by the bit about fears of being here, in this present, on this planet. I’ve been living those fears for the last two decades and I am (finally) ready to feel the discomfort instead of numbing. Thank you. I am finally ready to be ugly and happy instead of being thin and half-dead. This is an adventure!

  3. CK says:

    Thank you Caroline! My sense of worth is 100% bound to beauty, and that’s just nuts. I’m hoping that the fuckiteer academy will help me undo some of this madness, bc logic alone hasn’t helped me to snap out of this shitty belief!

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