Losing weight can be a challenging journey that requires a combination of determination, dedication, and patience. It often involves making changes to one’s eating habits, exercise routine, and overall lifestyle. But, it’s not just a matter of sticking to a diet or exercise plan. Sometimes, for even the most motivated individuals, the road to weight loss is filled with mental blocks that can prevent them from achieving their goals. Have you found yourself starting, stopping and then restarting on your weight loss journey over and over again? Are you tired of making yourself get back on the weight loss journey yet again? Do you feel like you have tried everything out there and yet, here you are, right where you started? Perhaps there’s a psychological factor involved that’s sabotaging your efforts. Here are 3 mental blocks that prevent weight loss, and how you can overcome them.

Fear of Failure

‘Fear of Failure’ is a common mental block that many individuals face when trying to lose weight. This fear can stem from a variety of sources, such as past experiences with weight loss, low self-confidence, or unrealistic expectations. When individuals feel like they are going to fail, they may be more likely to give up before they even start, or they may fall back into old habits. This can be discouraging and can lead to a vicious cycle of trying and failing, causing them to give up on their weight loss journey altogether.

I often hear people lament that they’ve tried everything under the sun to lose weight and they’ve just given up. “It’s too hard and nothing ever works for me, anyway.” These are the words of people who have struggled with the weight loss journey, possibly believe that all diets fail, and have now given up on ever trying to lose weight for fear of failing yet again.

To overcome this fear of failure, it is important to have realistic expectations and set achievable goals. Instead of focusing on the end result, focus on small, achievable steps that will help you get there. It is also essential to celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may be, and to not be afraid of making mistakes.

know failure to know success

Setbacks and failures are a natural part of the process, and it is important to view them as learning opportunities to make positive changes.

If you’re finding it difficult to go at it alone, it can be helpful to seek support from friends, family members, or even a professional counsellor. This approach can provide you with encouragement and accountability, and can help you to stay motivated on your journey. Lastly, practice self-compassion and be kind to yourself. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a friend, and remember that everyone makes mistakes and experiences setbacks.

Being Unrealistic

‘Being Unrealistic’ is another mental block that can prevent individuals from successfully losing weight. When individuals set unrealistic expectations, they are setting themselves up for disappointment and failure. This often stems from comparing oneself to others, focusing on quick fixes, or having unrealistic expectations. When people are unrealistic about the weight loss process, they are more likely to feel discouraged, lose motivation, and give up. For example, expecting to lose 5 kg in a week is not a realistic goal and can lead to frustration and discouragement.

There are no unrealistic goals, only unrealistic deadlines. Brain Tracy

To overcome being unrealistic, it is important to set achievable and realistic goals. Start by setting small, achievable goals, such as losing half to one kg a week, and gradually increasing the goal as you become more confident. It is also important to understand that weight loss is a gradual process and that it takes time to see significant results. Focus on the journey, not the destination, and you will find yourself making the progress you desire.

In addition, it can be helpful to keep a journal to track your progress and to celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may be. This can provide you with a sense of accomplishment and can help to keep you motivated. Focus on making positive, sustainable changes to your lifestyle and don’t be afraid to seek help if needed. Surround yourself with supportive people who will encourage and motivate you, and engage in self-care practices like mindfulness, exercise, and treating yourself with kindness and compassion, as you tread steadily towards your goals.

Stress Eating

Last but not least, ‘Stress Eating’ is a ubiquitous mental block that can prevent individuals from successfully losing weight. When individuals experience stress or emotional distress, they may turn to food as a source of comfort, leading to overeating and weight gain. This type of eating can be difficult to control and can quickly sabotage weight loss efforts.

Interestingly, people often learn emotional eating patterns in their childhood. For e.g., if a child gets candy as a reward for achieving something like a good score on an exam or a big win on the sports field, then that child will associate candy with achievement. But, on the other hand, if a child receives candy as a bribe to stop crying, then that child is likely to associate candy with comfort and reach out for sugar-laden food as a way of soothing ruffled emotions. This can be the silent conditioning that leads to stress eating as an adult.

Eating dessert when stressed

To overcome stress eating, it is important to identify the triggers that lead to emotional eating and find alternative ways to cope with stress and negative emotions. This may involve seeking support from friends, family, or a professional counsellor, practicing mindfulness or meditation, or finding healthy ways to cope with stress such as journaling, doing simple exercise routines or keeping up with hobbies.

It is also essential to have a healthy relationship with food. Instead of using food as a source of comfort, find other activities or strategies that can provide you with a sense of calm and relaxation. Plan some downtime for yourself. Sign up for a meditation class or a Pilates workout. Read a book or a magazine with your coffee instead of going through your email and to-do lists. Bake. Garden. Paint. Do something that you can label as ‘me-time’.

Additionally, planning ahead and having healthy snacks available can help to prevent stress eating and promote healthy eating habits. It might be a good idea to get rid of those ice cream tubs that call out your name every time a deadline is looming. And those candy bars that you find yourself reaching for when you’re stuck in traffic and running late for a meeting with a prospective client, or even worse, your boss! Stack up some healthy dips, nut butters and crudites in your refrigerator. Even jars of your favourite pickled olives will do. Instead of trying to completely do away with the urge to eat something when you’re stressed out, find a healthy replacement instead. Slowly, as you become more mindful about the times you ‘stress eat’, you will gain the ability to positively manage the emotion and not completely sabotage your weight loss efforts.

In conclusion, losing weight is not just about following a healthy eating plan and engaging in regular physical activity. It also involves addressing the mental and emotional barriers that can prevent individuals from reaching their goals. Fear of failure, unrealistic expectations, and stress eating are 3 mental blocks that prevent weight loss, but they can be overcome with effort and determination.

By identifying the specific mental blocks that are holding you back and developing strategies to overcome them, you can break through the barriers and achieve your weight loss goals. This may involve seeking support from friends and family, consulting with a professional counsellor or nutritionist, or developing self-care practices that can help manage stress and emotional eating.

Woman walking on a road

Remember that weight loss is a journey that requires patience and dedication, and it may take time to see results. However, with the right mindset and a commitment to making small, sustainable changes, it is possible to achieve long-term success. Celebrate your successes along the way, and don’t be too hard on yourself if you encounter setbacks. Instead, use them as opportunities to learn and grow. With persistence and determination, you can break through these 3 mental blocks that prevent weight loss.