According to the current statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of all American adults are obese. That’s a big percentage, and a big problem for our health care system and current state of national health. Obesity is linked to a number of serious diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and various cancers.
What is it that stands in the way of our population’s ability to lose weight? Many are trying, without the results they want and need. We work out, diet —some of us even get weight-loss surgery! And yet, more often that not, the weight we lose comes back. How does one lose weight in a healthy way and keep it off? To answer this question, we need to look at the #1 barrier to weight loss.
Did you know the #1 barrier to weight loss lies in your head? No, it’s not your wacky hormones — although those do play a part. And it’s not your genetics, although those play a role, too. It’s your mental and emotional capacity to stick to a weight-loss plan even when the going gets tough. It’s also the mental and emotional attitudes toward our attempts to lose weight that sabotage our efforts. Let’s take a look at these sabotaging perspectives.
Are your emotions the #1 barrier to weight loss?
According to a recent poll of psychologists conducted by Consumer Reports National Research Center and published by the American Psychological Association, the answer is a resounding yes. Not only do emotions play an integral role in your weight-loss efforts, they may very well be your greatest obstacle. If you’ve ever made a plan to go to the gym, but then got sidetracked by the blues or lack of motivation … if you’ve ever experienced guilt due to the ice cream binge you seemingly fell into … you’re no stranger to the way your emotions often get the better of you.
If you pay attention, you’ll find this emotional impact isn’t a rare thing. It happens all the time! The psychologists polled in the survey believed emotions and associated behaviors must be addressed in any weight-loss program. The good news is, the majority of these professionals have found emotional solutions to help with weight loss, which include:
- Mindfulness practices
- Cognitive therapy techniques
- Problem-solving solutions
The psychologists made it very clear that while our emotions are the #1 barrier to weight loss, there are ways to reconcile with them and find effective solutions to make our efforts to lose weight worthwhile. Pay attention to the following emotional obstacles in order to address them on your own, or with a professional should you need to.
The all-or-nothing mentality does more detriment than good when it comes to sustainable weight loss. Any kind of extreme thinking typically does. To lose weight and keep it off, the pounds need to be shed slowly, over a gradual period of time.
When you’re caught up in all-or-nothing thinking, you tend to view setbacks as bigger failures than they actually are. People often give up after a setback, thinking they’ll never succeed. In reality, there are always setbacks on the path to positive change. We must remember this during the weight-loss journey.
Another major barrier to weight loss has to do with the way we view ourselves. Far too often, we hold on to patterns of negative thinking about the way we look. When we have a negative body image, for example, there’s a good chance we’ll wind up shaming ourselves into weight loss. The journey then goes awry because we’re distracted by our own negative thoughts. A positive attitude and belief system is everything when we want to make positive changes in our lives.
Comparing ourselves to others
It’s easy to get caught up in the comparison game. We compare ourselves to movie stars on TV. We compare ourselves to our skinnier friends. We compare ourselves to the Facebook highlight reel. All of this comparison sabotages our personal efforts to lose weight.
We think, If I can’t look like her then what’s the point? I’ll never be a size 4 like so and so, why bother? The comparison game often makes us give up. But, we need to remember that the beauty of life lies in our uniqueness. How boring if we were all the same! Your body is yours. Your health is yours. Your life is yours. Bask in this reality and delight in the fact that your weight-loss journey is unique to you.
Do you suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder)? Maybe you have postpartum depression. Are you going through a difficult period in your personal life? The state of your mental health greatly impacts your ability to lose weight.
If you’re depressed, for any reason, your ability to stick to a weight-loss routine will prove more difficult. Certain mental health issues (like depression) affect eating habits and appetites. Some people eat their emotions, so to speak. Many find themselves eating from the carton of ice cream to soothe emotional distress. Others lose their appetite completely. We’re all different, but there’s no doubt about it — emotional issues must be addressed if you want to lose weight.
Emotional and mental stress
Modern life is stressful. And there are times when we’re more stressed out than usual. If you’re in a stressful period of life, it’s going to be much harder to lose weight and keep it off. When we’re emotionally and mentally stressed out, our physical body responds. A cascade of stress hormones take over, which can actually lead to weight gain. Stress hormones sabotage our sleep, and good sleep is a necessary ingredient in weight loss. What’s more, we tend to eat our emotions during stressful times just as we do when we’re depressed. We look for comfort in junk food, without knowing how to cope with stress in a healthy way.
At Elite Physique, we believe an equal balance of nutrition, activity, rest, and confidence is the foundation for achieving a healthier you. Our personalized weight-loss programs are custom-tailored to help you meet your goals and to address the underlying factors that can make weight-loss difficult. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!