8 Mental Hurdles Keeping You from Losing Weight
By Melody Foster
It’s easy to identify the tangible reasons you’re not losing weight. Eating too much (or too little), eating the wrong kinds of foods, stress eating, not getting enough exercise (or exercising too much but not getting enough nutrition) can cause you to gain weight or make it difficult to lose weight.
What’s harder to put your finger on are the psychological factors that come into play and the ways in which your mental state and emotions may be holding you back from reaching your goal. If you are overweight and are ready to lose weight, it’s time to address these psychological hurdles preventing you from shedding those unwanted pounds.
You’ve Developed Bad Habits — It may be the little things you do day in and day out — the daily habits you do without thinking, such as not getting enough sleep, drinking too much coffee, not drinking enough water, grabbing a handful of candy on your way past your co-worker’s desk, hitting up the drive-thru on your way home, your evening cocktail — that are keeping you from losing weight. Not only do you need to learn to recognize these habits, but understand the underlying cause that may be the driving force for these habits. Evaluate your emotions and circumstances surrounding these habits. Address those context clues to help you break the cycle of bad habits and replace them with new, healthier habits, such as exercising when you’re stressed, rather than reaching for another glass of wine.
You Worry About What Others Think — If you’re more worried about being accepted and not offending those around you, then you may struggle to make the choices that are right for you and your health goals. It’s time to learn you don’t have to say yes to every invitation to Happy Hour or to eat the cookies your coworker brought to work today. When you do find yourself in social situations, have a plan of attack. Drink water, situate yourself as far from the food as you can, and focus on conversations with those around you rather than the buffet of food that’s in front of you. Over time, you’ll learn that most people don’t notice and you’re not as strange as you think.
You’re Afraid of Fat — Say it with me, “all fat is not bad.” We’ve been so conditioned to assume all fat is bad, but there is such a thing as healthy fats, and consuming a high fat, low carb diet can be healthy. Eating the right amounts of healthy fats — such as fatty fish like salmon, hummus, avocado, Greek yogurt, grass-fed beef, coconut oil and nut butters — can help improve your blood cholesterol levels and lower your risk of developing heart disease. You may even find that when you watch your carbs and eat the right amounts of fat, you’ll have more energy and lose weight more quickly.
You’re an Emotional Eater — We’re all guilty of eating for comfort from time to time. It’s ingrained in our culture. We both celebrate and mourn with food. When you’re stressed or upset, eating food can make you feel better, but developing a habit of emotional eating will only lead you down the road to obesity. If you’re struggling with emotional eating, talk to your doctor or seek help from a psychologist who may be able to help you address the underlying issues of your comfort eating.
You’re Too Embarrassed to Go to the Gym — First of all, it’s important to remember that everyone at the gym is there because they are trying to lose weight, build muscle or simply stay healthy. And many of them are just as self-conscious as you. Don’t be so embarrassed by what you see in the mirror that you hold yourself back from changing your reflection. Schedule an appointment with a personal trainer who can help you develop a plan that suits your body type, abilities and needs. Working with a trainer can also help give you the confidence you need to make exercising a habit. If you can’t overcome your fear of the gym, dedicate yourself to working out at home, going on regular hikes or bike rides. There’s plenty you can do outside the gym to get your workout in.
You’ve Given Up — As long as you have breath in your lungs, it’s never too late to get healthy. Hitting a weight loss plateau is completely normal, and it’s even normal for a stall to last months on end. When you have a lot to lose, the weight may fall off quickly at first, but those last 10 or 20 pounds could take months. Although this is discouraging, do not give up. Stay focused on the milestones you’ve accomplished. Keep working at improving your fitness level and take measurements, as it isn’t uncommon to lose inches while the number on the scale stays the same. Stay committed and you will reach your goal.
You Have an All-or-Nothing Mindset — Having one bad day doesn’t mean you’ve fallen off the bandwagon altogether. Don’t bail because you can’t afford what you deem to be the “healthiest” food. Simply make better choices with what you have in front of you, and you’ll reap the benefits. It’s possible to be “less than perfect” and still lose weight.
You Play the Comparison Game — It’s instinct to constantly compare ourselves to others, but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Basing your choices on other people’s experiences will keep you running from one diet or fitness plan to the next. Stop worrying about what your friend is doing and instead focus on what works (or doesn’t work) for you.
If you need help finding a weight loss solution that works for you, contact Nicholson Clinic today.
About the Author
Melody Foster is a Dallas-based freelance writer and contributing author to the Nicholson Clinic blog. Melody researches and creates content for clients in industries ranging from health care, fitness and nutrition to interior decorating, legal and social good.