5 Psychological Barriers to Weight Loss

( - Losing weight is difficult! Weight loss not only requires lots of hard work, but you’re also tasked with changing your way of life and your eating habits.

But unlike other unhealthy indulgences, where you can just cut the cord and abstain, you can’t stop eating (and expect to survive)! It’s a bit like an alcoholic trying to drink just one glass a day – extremely tough (which is why abstinence is the recommended approach for overcoming this kind of tendency).

Shedding those extra pounds is really a mental battle. Your mindset has a huge impact on your weight loss experience. In fact, what’s going on inside your stomach and your fat cells has little to do with your success. It’s what’s going on inside your head that matters!

Unfortunately, there are lots of psychological barriers that may be standing between you and the new, thinner, and healthier version of you! So how do you overcome the psychological barriers that prevent you from losing weight and keeping it off? Well that’s exactly what we’ll explore here today.

1. Habit

Humans are creatures of habit. As mentioned above, your habits are a huge component in your weight loss battle. So to get healthy, you must establish new, positive eating and lifestyle habits to take the place of the negative ones.

To succeed, you must identify the habits that are standing in the way of your weight loss. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What are my unhealthy eating habits?
  • What unhealthy lifestyle habits are contributing to my weight problem?
  • What situations or events trigger those unhealthy habits?
  • How can I avoid those triggers or respond to them in a healthier manner?
  • Why am I prone to a particular habit?
  • What new, positive habit could I use to replace that negative tendency?

By understanding and replacing a negative habit with a positive one, you’ll be more likely to get slim and stay slim in the long run.

2. The Wrong Goals

Goal setting is an important part of the weight loss process. But set the wrong goals and you’ve failed before you’ve even started!

Set a goal that’s too vague and non-specific and you’ll never know if you’ve accomplished that objective. This can leave you feeling discouraged. Or, set a goal that’s too difficult to achieve and it becomes easy to walk away because the goal seems out of reach.

Let’s compare your weight loss journey to a climb up Mount Everest. If your goal is to climb Mount Everest, then you’re going to feel really overwhelmed standing at the base. In fact, it may seem impossible. You can’t even see the summit from where you’re standing!

Instead, you should set a more realistic goal. Endeavor to reach Basecamp One within the next 24 hours. Once you reach Basecamp One, set a new goal to make it to Basecamp Two. Always remember that ultimate goal of summiting, but actively work toward “SMART” short-term goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

3. Comparisons

Comparing yourself to others is a sure-fire way to kill your confidence and your motivation. It’s natural for us to compare, but it virtually never leads to good things.

Compare yourself to someone who’s naturally tall, thin, and willowy and you may be left feeling short, chunky, and discouraged, especially when you realize how much time and work it will take to get a thin, willowy physique. It’s like standing at the bottom of Mount Everest. The summit looks hella far away and it’s easy to give up before you’ve really even started.

Conversely, if you compare yourself to someone who’s much heavier, you’ll find it’s much easier to justify skipping the gym or binging. After all, you’re not that overweight. So you can afford to skip and snack, right? Wrong. It’s self-defeating and it’s going to send you off track.

4. The Wrong Words

Are you using positive terminology as you think about your diet, exercise regime, and other weight loss efforts? Are you opening the door to failure?

For example, don’t say, “I’ll try to eat more fruit.” This leaves room for failure. Instead, say, “I will eat more fruit.”

You also need to make positive statements. Avoid statements like, “I won’t drink soda today.” This focuses on the negative; that which you won’t do. Instead, focus on what you will do with a statement like, “I will drink eight glasses of water and fruit juice today.”

This psychological barrier can be challenging to overcome because you must change more than just your words; you must alter your internal dialogue. Some find it helpful to write positive affirmations on sticky notes, placed in various locations around your home and office. Simply seeing and reading these positive phrases can help you change your internal dialogue.

5. The Wrong Timeframe

How do you view your weight loss journey? Do you view it as a temporary, six-month project? Or are you making changes that you’ll sustain in the long term?

So often, people lose weight only to gain it all back. This occurs because they went on a diet and followed an exercise regime until they reached their target weight. Then, they went right back to what they were doing beforehand. As a result, the weight returned and all that hard work was for naught.

Don’t view your weight loss journey as a “diet” that ends in a few months. The key is to effect lasting, positive change. Once you reach your goal weight, you may opt to back off a bit (e.g., maybe you go to the gym four days a week instead of five). But for the most part, the changes you implement should become a new way of life.

Strive to avoid these psychological barriers to weight loss now that you’re aware of them. In doing so, you’ll soon find yourself a few pounds lighter!


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