5 Mental Obstacles That are Slowing Your Weight Loss ResultsArticle posted in: Diet & Nutrition
Eat healthier, watch your portions, exercise more: You know you need to take those steps to drop extra pounds. But what you may not realize is that having a healthy attitude should rank high on that list! Losing weight is just as much a mental challenge as it is a weight loss challenge—and sometimes what’s in your head can get in the way and create weight loss obstacles.
Here are five mental weight loss obstacles that could slow your weight loss results and how you can shift your thinking:
1. You expect to lose a lot… and fast.
You probably have a number in mind—your target goal weight at the end of your journey. And you’d like that journey to be short and quick. But aiming to lose 25 pounds in 25 days will only lead to frustration and disappointment. Plus, setting unrealistic expectations will likely backfire: One study, published in the International Journal of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders, found people are more likely to regain weight if they don’t achieve the result they first set out to lose. This same study suggests that aiming to lose one to two pounds per week is a healthy and attainable goal. On Nutrisystem, you can lose an average of one to two pounds per week.
2. Your approach is all-or-nothing.
Even if you start out super-motivated to eat better and exercise more, there will come a time when you eat sugar and skip the gym. Instead of vying for perfection, focus on making a few small healthy changes at a time. Research, published in Annals of Behavioral Medicine, shows that taking baby steps—not huge leaps—is the best way to getting long-term results. Plan to add five minutes to every walk, for example, and cut one high-calorie coffee concoction from your week. Soon these healthy habits will become a normal part of your healthy life. Ready to get started with some healthy habits? Take the first step! >
3. You don’t consider your emotions.
One survey, conducted by Orlando Health, found most people think lack of exercise is the biggest barrier to weight loss, followed by what you eat and the cost of healthy living. Only one in 10 thought mental well-being and emotions were causes of weight loss obstacles. But experts disagree: Another survey, published by the American Psychological Association, suggests that when it comes to dieting, emotions may be the biggest obstacle to weight loss. They can interfere with making healthy food choices.
To avoid weight loss obstacles, you not only have to think about what you eat, but why you’re eating. Do you eat a pint of ice cream after a bad day at work? Have you ever felt guilty after eating a piece of chocolate and then ate four more since you already “messed up”? To help break these patterns, become aware of your emotional connection to food. Then, you can find other, healthier ways to deal with stress and other feelings.
4. You focus on what you can’t have.
As soon as you start a weight loss plan, you think of all those foods you’ll never eat again. But that outlook can set you up to encounter yet another weight loss obstacle. To lose weight and keep it off, you have to make changes you can sustain. Don’t deprive yourself. Eat pizza if you really want it, but only have one slice and skip the fat-filled toppings. Or make yourself your favorite meals but use healthy recipes that cut down fat, sugar and calories.
5. You have low self-esteem.
Research, conducted by the International Journal of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders, has shown body image plays a role in maintaining weight loss. If your body image is poor, or you base your self-worth on your body image, you’re more likely to regain weight after losing.
To help improve body image, recognize that your body is your own—no matter what shape or size. Focus on how strong you are and what your body can do, not the things you don’t like or want to change. When you hear yourself say something negative, tell yourself to stop. Instead, try to build self-esteem by giving yourself three compliments every day.