Are you having trouble shedding the weight? Many of us have tried almost every diet and exercise plan out there to no avail. There are great diets that can work, such as a low carb, high-fat diet known as the keto diet, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be mental stumbling blocks along the way. Unfortunately overcoming the psychological barrier that many people face is challenging, but no one should let it stand in their way. So how does one get past the wall? Understand the mental barriers and change should follow. Plus, we’d also like to mention that on the keto diet many report craving less food due to switching a body to burning fat. A diet that’s high in fat cuts down cravings significantly, which can hopefully tackle some of those mental stumbling blocks! The Body Reboot book discusses the keto diet further and also dives into what it takes to succeed. We also touch on this below by arguing that dieters must also address their mental health to achieve more success on a low carb diet.
Science Daily discusses a 2015 study by Orlando Health. The study revealed that even though many people lose weight, it can return because they struggle with seeing food as nourishment as opposed to comfort food. It’s a valid point that can point people in the right direction by deciding to heal their relationship with food and thus learning how to maintain a healthy diet going forward.
Tens of millions of Americans vow each year to lose weight in the New Year, and while their intentions are good, most of the time their results are not. It's estimated that only 8 percent of those who make New Year's resolutions actually keep them.
Even if weight is lost initially, it usually returns. Studies show nearly 2 out of 3 people who lose 5 percent of their total weight will gain it back, and the more weight you lose, the less your chances of keeping it off.
“That's not surprising,” said Diane Robinson, PhD, a neuropsychologist and Program Director of Integrative Medicine at Orlando Health. “Most people focus almost entirely on the physical aspects of weight loss, like diet and exercise. But there is an emotional component to food that the vast majority of people simply overlook and it can quickly sabotage their efforts.”
A recent national survey of more than a thousand people commissioned by Orlando Health found that 31 percent of Americans think a lack of exercise is the biggest barrier to weight loss, followed by those who say it's what you eat (26%) and the cost of a healthy lifestyle (17%). Another 12 percent said the biggest barrier to weight loss was the necessary time commitment.
Only 1 in 10, however, thought psychological well-being was a factor. “That may explain why so many of us struggle,” said Robinson. “In order to lose weight and keep it off long term, we need to do more than just think about what we eat, we also need to understand why we're eating.”
The goal is to take emotion out of eating and see food as nourishment, not as a reward or coping mechanism. If you struggle, don't be shy about finding help. “When we're focused on the physical aspects of weight loss, many of us have no problem joining a gym or hiring a trainer,” said Robinson. “How about joining a support group or hiring a psychologist?” she said. “If getting your body in shape hasn't work out yet, maybe this time start with your mind.”
Wondering what leads to a lack of weight loss? Stress and depression are both significant factors, and it makes sense when you read why by VeryWell Fit.
Common Emotional Barriers to Weight Loss
There is a good reason that comfort food got its name. For most people, eating feels good. And in times of stress, some people use food as the best way to calm their emotions. Studies have found that overeating can become a chronic coping mechanism for managing life's stressors.
So how do you conquer stress wall to lose weight? Avoiding stress is not always possible. But you can identify stress triggers and do your best to avoid certain situations or people that undermine your success. Keeping a food journal may be helpful in the process. Do you overeat or eat unhealthy foods when you are in certain environments or around certain people? If so, take steps to limit those circumstances.
Researchers are not clear if depression causes weight gain or if depression prevents weight loss. but many scientists believe that there is a link. Depression-related symptoms like sleeplessness or inactivity can make weight loss more difficult. And some commonly prescribed antidepressants can cause you to gain weight as well.
So how do you know if depression is preventing you from reaching your weight loss goal? The first step is to get screened for depression. Talk to your doctor about getting a referral to a mental health professional. He or she will be able to investigate further and determine whether you have depression and give you helpful advice for moving forward.
Now that you know why losing weight and keeping the weight off gets challenging, Psychology Today offers some tips on how to maintain your weight loss. They recommend starting a food diary so you can understand why you’re making the decisions you’re making. Journaling may shed some light on what you can change to improve your weight loss efforts. They have a few other tips as well:
So how do you find out what issues are preventing you from maintaining a healthy weight? First keep a food diary. These are very revealing. You need to keep note of everything you eat, how much and what it is, when you eat it and (most importantly) how you're feeling before you eat the food and after you eat the food. This will help reveal what you use food for. Is it to stave off boredom? Is it to avoid loneliness? Do you reach for the biscuit barrel instead of saying how you are feeling? Once you have done this you will have some idea what your issues are. If these are deep seated, involving abuse or neglect, I suggest you seek professional help.
Once you have worked out what your issues are — boredom, anger, loneliness, an unwillingness to confront loved ones — and what food represents for you: comfort, love, swallowing your feelings, then you can decide to do something different.
Anything involving exercise is a good choice. Go for a walk, start swimming, take up a sport or dancing. Generally set about moving more and replacing eating with some other, pleasurable activities — knitting, reading, singing, dancing, anything that's enjoyable and makes you feel good. Making a decision to only eat food you really want and of the best quality you can afford, is a good one.
If you are struggling unsuccessfully to lose weight, Any one of these mental barriers to weight loss may be to blame. So use the psychology of weight loss for you, rather than against you. Think about why your roadblock or “wall” is in place and then take steps to get the help you need to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
Once you have started to lose weight (and you will if you follow the exercises listed above) then you will be in a position to address the real issues. Such as how you wish others to treat you or how you are going to meet more people. You may need to work out what being fat represents for you. Is it safety? Is it anger? Is it withdrawal? And then find other ways to stay safe, be angry or withdraw, ones that don’t involve eating. You could take a self-defence course to increase your safety levels. You could express your anger appropriately (see my article on anger) and you could legitimately withdraw when you need time to yourself. You will need to find what appeals and works for you.
Huffington Post discusses further what else you can do to cleanse yourself emotionally. Emotions are bound to build up once in a while, but instead of allowing them to sabotage your diet goals, talk to a friend, go on a walk, and they suggest many other ways of coping below:
These tips will help you start a conscious emotional cleanse.
Check less baggage. You know how airlines charge for each bag checked? Traveling gets expensive fast. So can emotional baggage. Take time to focus on your biggest issues and clear up unresolved conflicts with friends, family members, or yourself. Lighten your load; enlighten your life.
Get em out. Whether it's with a friend or by yourself, start to speak, write, sing, dance–whatever it takes–to express your feelings. Emotions are energy, and energy is in constant motion. So it is with your body; those feelings need to go somewhere. First get them OUT in a healthy way. Then you can deal with them rationally.
Get help. There's nothing wrong with reaching out when you need support. In fact, the human experience is based on connecting with others. Talk things out with a good friend. If that isn't enough, consider meeting with a counselor — it's their job to help you unwind your ball of emotional string.
Mind Body Green recommends trying to release negative energy visually! Come on, give it a try!
Visual negative energy release:
This is a powerful method of releasing stagnant negative energies stored deep within. You can do this lying down or in a chair. It’s best if you work outside or on the floor so that you feel grounded and connected to a natural substance.
With your eyes closed, visualize negative energy as a substance. For me, it’s thick, gray, goopy oil. You don’t have to think about a specific person, feeling, or event; simply visualize negative energy leaving your body. Picture it pouring out from your chest or heart center and dripping down to the ground you are connected with. Thank the earth for absorbing the energy and repurposing it for good use.
The first time I practiced draining, I could only visualize a small stream of negative energy leaving my body, but as I continued to practice, the visualization became much easier, and the release I felt grew.
Keeping up with your weight loss goals is more than just sticking with your diet — it takes a lot of mental power too. Continue to think of positive ways to stick to your goals, and you’ll be there before you know it! To receive a FREE copy of the Body Reboot book, just help us cover the cost of shipping. Visit this page today and see if there are any copies left.
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