This guide is a manual for getting past the mental blocks that afflict everyone who makes changes to their diet and lifestyle to improve their health.
It explains why we sabotage our own well-meant efforts to eat healthy and keep our weight where it should be. It seems inconceivable that we do this, but you will learn why you do, and how to overcome it.
This guide contains hard-hitting advice on getting serious about weight loss, and how to deal with weight-loss plateaus and setbacks.
It also gives advice and encouragement for making weight management a lifestyle and lifetime project.
Reasons Why You Are Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Efforts
If you haven’t attempted to lose weight, then you probably know many people who have. For the moment, just pretend that you only know one person who has tried to lose weight (and failed).
Now, imagine that every adult in the world only knows one person who has done so. That’s a lot of people. You will find a wide collection of reasons for this and combinations thereof.
There may be health issues that complicate the need for exercise, physical reasons that contribute to it, emotional reasons, or just fear. With so many reasons for failure, many people engage in a bit of self-sabotage that ensures failure is the only outcome. Sadly, most of us do it subconsciously.
You have boarded the weight loss train and you’re feeling great. It means changing almost everything about your lifestyle, but you’re doing it. You’re losing weight steadily, you feel better, you are proud of your progress. You’re walking a little straighter, there’s a swagger in your step. Then it stops. Why?
You’re Afraid of Success
With success comes change. Your life will be very different when you achieve any type of success. Ultimately, there’s a price to pay when you obtain that success. Success comes with a new set of responsibilities.
You don’t even know that you’re afraid of success. Your brain is fueling this fear and it manifests in different ways. You think about your past failures and start to believe that you don’t deserve to succeed.
Success means hard word. Yes, because once you achieve something you have something to lose. You did the hard work to succeed and now the hard work amplifies. We are subconsciously resistant to change, but success brings that change and increases the workload.
The thing about change is it’s unknown.
We’re comfortable doing what we’re doing, we know how to lead our lives the way we’ve been doing it. What comes with the change? Instead of finding out, we engage in a bit of self-sabotage.
It’s easier to sabotage yourself when you don’t have a substantial reason for trying to do what you’re doing. You can talk yourself out of doing the hard work if you can’t answer your own questions as to why you need to change.
You Believe You’re Not Worth It
Well, you are. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing you’re not worth it. Especially after you’ve experienced failure. Imagine for a moment, an all-powerful being has appeared in front of you. They want to strike a deal.
If you can just lose all that weight and keep it off, your family will live long, healthy, happy lives. It’s easy to imagine yourself losing the weight when you’re doing it to protect the people that you love, isn’t it?
Well, aren’t you worth it? Isn’t your health valuable? Doesn’t your life matter?
You refuse to believe this to be true because you look in the mirror and you don’t like what you see. You see your weight as a weakness, yet you can’t flex your muscles to “fix” yourself. You can’t stand to look at pictures of yourself. It hurts. When you’re forced into group photos you hide yourself behind other people.
You treat yourself like an unwanted piece of bubblegum stuck to your shoe. Nothing is worse than going somewhere special and having to find an outfit for it. So, you punish yourself actively for that weight gain.
This cycle will continue as long as you allow yourself to self-sabotage, all because you bought the lie that you’re not worth it. Don’t punish yourself, don’t self-sabotage.
Tough Love - Get Serious About Losing Weight
It’s time for a bit of tough love. It’s love because we care enough to help you leap over the obstacles that stand in your path. It’s tough because even though it’s true it’s still going to sting a little.
Look, you enjoy chocolate (popcorn, nuts, candy, pretzels or any other snack). In fact, you probably enjoy eating those snacks between meals, after meals, and in a lot of cases for meals.
Sure, nuts are healthy, bragging loads of healthy fats, fiber, and even protein. They’re not so healthy when you don’t control your portion and have a tendency to mix them with chocolate, though.
Still, you’re trying. Right? You hit the supermarket’s health food aisle and you fill your cart with protein bars and healthy supplements. Are you really doing everything that you can?
If you’re serious about losing weight, then you can do better.
The Biggest, Most Important Change
When it comes to nutrition, there’s a major change that you can make, but you’re not going to want to hear it. You want a silver bullet, the easy way out.
You want to eat anything and everything you want, but still look like you belong on the cover of Sports Illustrated. That’s not how life works. The biggest, most important change you can make nutritionally is to keep tempting foods away from you.
Don’t keep them in the house, don’t hide them, don’t stash them, don’t have them in your life. You will make the wrong choice if it’s available to you. Keep healthy snacks handy so they are the options you turn to when you need a snack.
This doesn’t mean that you’re never allowed to enjoy treats. It just means that you have to limit your interaction with temptation and only buy the treat when you plan to eat it.
Lists Make Life Easier
You know where you are most likely to slip up. We recognize our weaknesses.
For example, you know how easy it is to grab a protein bar even though you’ve been doing really well. Sure, it’s a healthier choice when compared to what you could be eating.
It’s not the healthiest choice, though. It’s not the right choice. So, make a list of your nutrition weaknesses.
Once your list is complete, you can go back through it and add an alternative (or two) to each one. You’re creating solutions for your obstacles. Keep your list with you always.
Deal With Life
Perhaps the toughest aspect of eating well and losing weight is doing so while you’re trying to deal with real life.
You have a long commute, a demanding boss, and while you’re juggling your full-time job, you have a family at home. It’s easy to understand why life can derail the weight loss efforts of so many.
In a world of complications, the easy choice is… well, easy. This is where you need accountability.
Use the people around you to hold you accountable for your actions. You’d be surprised at how helpful it is.
When you know you have to report to others on your choices and behaviors, you’re more likely to stick to the plan.
If you knew you’d need to file a report on your eating habits to your doctor on a daily basis, would you choose the berries and natural yogurt or would you grab the candy bar anyway?
The hardest truth of weight loss is that it will take time and effort on your part. There isn’t an easy path to follow.
There is only one, long-term solution. It’s eating right, exercising, and looking after your health. As you embark on your journey and consistently make the right choices, you will boost your self-discipline, which will inevitably benefit your life in every area.
Don't Stress About the Weight Loss Plateau
There is nothing more rewarding than finally achieving something that you have worked hard for.
In the early stages of your weight loss journey, you set your mind to it and you saw the loss begin. It started dropping steadily, and as you proceeded on your path you likely hit the weight loss plateau.
It was fine though, because you felt great and you’d already made progress so it was easy to keep it up. Until it wasn’t.
Now, you’ve been at it for a while and the closer you get to your goal, the harder it gets to shift those last few stubborn pounds.
Does this sound familiar?
It’s easy at the start because you know exactly what’s causing your problems. It’s the extra can of soda, on top of the three others you drank today.
The pizza that you order every weekend, the muffins in your office every morning. You know what’s causing the problem so, you cut it out and when your body responds you are motivated to keep on keeping on.
Then you hit that plateau. So, you cut your portions down, start drinking more water, and you’re doing the thing! Yet, you still can’t shift those extra pounds!
What is going on?
Well, there’s more than one weight loss plateau. That’s why losing weight is so hard.
When it comes to losing weight, your diet is so important, even more important than exercise (that doesn’t mean you can stop working out). Yet, it’s exercise that could be contributing to your plateau issues.
It’s easy to focus on the scale when you’re so close to your goal. You become fixated on that number and give it all of your power. You don’t need to stress out about the weight loss plateau, though, you just need to get smart.
Your approach to beating the weight loss plateau is two-pronged. It’s all about being aware of the following.
You’re feeling great, you feel comfortable in your clothes, but the number on the scale is still wrong. You can’t quit until you shift those final pounds.
Consider your exercise regimen. You may need to switch things up. If your focus has been on strength training, swimming or spin classes, then it might be time to trade them for barre class or yoga.
Those intense workouts will build muscle, which is great, but it does add density which increases your weight.
Remember, by volume, muscle weighs more than fat, so what the tape measure shows is more important than what the scale shows!
Now would be a good time to determine how important those final pounds are. Is your number goal still the most important thing when you feel great doing what you’ve been doing?
It might be that there’s more to this final push than just exercise and diet.
Perhaps you’re battling your biology. It’s also difficult to lead an ideally healthy life when you’re also stressed out and busy.
It’s not that they’re incompatible, it’s just that stress makes it harder to shift weight. All those stress hormones make you crave junk food, your heart beats faster, and essentially, it’s easier to be bad.
So, getting stressed out about your weight loss plateau is only going to make matters worse. It’s natural to run into the plateau. Stress management is an important aspect of healthy living, especially when you’re trying to lose weight.
If you feel stress rising, take a time out. You can spend ten minutes in meditation or take a long bath.
The two biggest issues contributing to the weight loss plateau are stress and exercise. All you need to do is make some tweaks, refine your regimen, and keep pushing forward.
How to Overcome Mental Blocks to Losing Weight
Are you struggling to lose weight? If you have tried numerous diets, exercised regularly and you still can’t drop weight, then you may have some mental blocks. Mental blocks are difficult to overcome, but they are by no means insurmountable.
Think of this mental block like you would a brick wall. If you were on a physical path and ran into a brick wall you would look for a way to get beyond it. This is the same thing you need to do when you are dealing with mental blocks. They can be overcome.
It’s important to note that mental blocks are normal, especially when change is involved. You might not think of weight loss as a change per se, but that’s exactly what it is. Even positive change can be scary.
When you set out to lose weight you have the best of intentions. You want to eat well, exercise often, and trim those pounds.
The majority of us know the basics of healthy eating (and unhealthy eating).
However, even the best intentions can be derailed, especially when we get bored, feel exhausted, get stressed or just grow frustrated. We are a swirl of emotions and those emotions can influence our weight loss journey.
Humans are creatures of habit and unfortunately, routines feel comfortable. So, when your routine has been built around food and behaviors that have caused you to gain weight, it’s difficult to shake them.
Your routine makes you feel safe in the short-term, even though it’s making you feel bad in the long-term.
Frustratingly, you use your smarts for evil by rationalizing your unhealthy behavior and habits. You feel better once you eat, what’s the problem?
To overcome your mental blocks, you have to recognize them and break them down.
Common Mental Blocks & How To Overcome Them
Eating feels great so when you are stressed out, it’s easy to use food as a relief from it. Stress is one of the biggest mental blocks you will have to overcome in your weight loss journey.
How can you conquer it? It’s impossible to avoid all stress, but you can identify your triggers and learn how to limit them. A food journal might be helpful.
You will be able to see patterns in your habits and limit those circumstances. In cases where you cannot avoid the stress, you can use a relaxation technique to mitigate it.
Consider trying an exercise such as guided imagery. This is a great way to deal with your emotions.
For some, depression seems to cause weight loss, but for others weight gain. We are all different, and we all experience different symptoms with depression.
Often, depression is accompanied by an inability to sleep, as well as inactivity. These issues contribute to weight gain and make it difficult to lose that weight.
Additionally, many anti-depressants come with a side effect of weight gain.
Could depression be your mental block? Visit your doctor for a diagnosis if you suspect that you are depressed.
People who have experienced trauma are higher risks for obesity. Whether it was sexual or physical abuse or even bullying at the hands of peers, weight gain may serve as a protective solution.
It creates an emotional protection that helps abuse survivors cope.
If you have experienced trauma, then it might be the mental block creating your weight issue. It can affect your eating habits and prevent you from losing the weight that you want to.
How can you overcome this mental block? You have to get to the root of those issues with the help of a professional.
If you’re finding it difficult to lose them, then it could be any of these mental blocks or others that are standing in your way.
Use psychology to work in your favor instead of against you. Think of that brick wall in front of you and move to create steps to walk over it.
Tips to Keep the Weight Off For Life
Finally. You have reached the magic number on the scale. Now what? Now you have to keep it off. Sadly, only a third or so of dieters do this successfully.
As seasoned dieters know, keeping the weight loss off requires vigilance. Unfortunately, for a lot of people, that’s even more difficult than losing the weight was in the first place.
To keep the weight off for life, you will need to modify your lifestyle. This will be a permanent change. If you allow yourself to resume your old habits, then you will regain weight. It’s inevitable.
If you want to keep the weight off, you have to continue to eat healthily, exercise regularly, sleep well, and hydrate appropriately. A lot of people hit their goal and that vigilance drops and they start to gain the weight back. Yes, you can relax a bit once you achieve your goal, but only a little bit.
It’s common to regain weight because your diet is too restrictive, your mindset changes, and your habits aren’t sustainable. Now, though, you need to consider the tips that will help you keep the weight off. So, let’s take a look.
In order to maintain your goal weight, you need to exercise regularly. Not only will it help you burn off extra calories, but it will provide your metabolism with a boost. Those are two factors that contribute to a healthy energy balance. That simply means that you are burning the calories that you consume.
The result is you maintain your weight. In order to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume. You should aim to exercise for half an hour every day in order to maintain your weight.
When you lose weight, it’s common to also lose muscle mass. Muscle loss can negatively impact your metabolism causing you to burn fewer calories, so incorporate weight lifting into your exercise routine.
If you lift weights after losing weight, then you are more likely to keep that weight off. Aim to run through strength training twice a week and don’t forget to work all of your muscle groups.
Protein is your new best friend when it comes to maintaining weight. It helps you feel fuller for longer, which means you’re less likely to give in to temptation. Of course, it also provides you with a helpful energy boost.
Stick to the Plan
It’s time for your cheat day/weekend! This might sound like a great idea, but the idea of cheating often leads to junk food binges. This is especially true if you make it a regular occurrence. Be consistent with your plan. You can still enjoy treats, just don’t make it a whole day or weekend. Keep up your healthy habits.
Sleep, Manage Stress, Hydrate
Sleep is important. A lack of sleep can cause serious weight issues. Poor sleep increases stress levels and also the levels of ghrelin in your body.
Ghrelin is the hunger hormone and increases your appetite. When coupled with stress, you are tempted by all of the worst foods. So, get at least seven hours every night to maintain your weight.
Sleep is also an important part of managing stress and stress is the enemy of weight maintenance.
Cortisol and belly fat go hand in hand. You can manage stress by looking after your diet, exercising regularly, and having relaxation exercises to turn to.
Since you should already be looking after your diet and exercising, you should experience less stress.
Hydration is key. When you drink plenty of water, it promotes fullness which can help you manage your calorie intake.
Enjoy a glass or two shortly before every meal.
Most people have started a diet, then let it slide. Many have lost weight, with real effort, congratulated themselves, then been horrified to see it all come back in quick time.
Our diets, as in what we eat, are the basis of our health and wellbeing. We cannot do the things we want to do, or live our life to anything like its fullest, if we are sabotaging our health by bad food and lifestyle choices.
Lifetime good health requires lifetime management and control. Temporary diets that don’t give lasting results usually do more harm than good, physically and mentally.
Apply the suggestions you have just read to help you stay on track to achieve your weight goals, for your health’s sake.