By Jason Hodge
On any given day, 56% of the American population would like to lose weight, but the reality is that many fail to accomplish their weight loss goal. We all know that diet and exercise are important, but sometimes it doesn’t seem to be enough, does it? So why do some people have such a difficult time losing weight and what can be done about it?
Most of the time, we think about physical aspects (diet, cardiovascular, strength training) related to weight loss, but the psychology can have a profound impact on your ability to lose weight. If you can win the psychological battle with yourself, the body almost always follows.
“I will fail”
Failing time and time again is one of the most discouraging things that most people face. After all, no one likes to fail. It’s humiliating, discouraging, and frustrating, but everyone fails sometime. The important thing to realize is that failing at something doesn’t define who you are. Just because you fail, it doesn’t mean that you are a failure. If that was the case, Alexander Graham Bell, who failed 1,000 times to make the light bulb, would only be known as one of the greatest failures of all time.
What to do
You have to realize that failure in what you are trying to accomplish does not define who you are as an individual. However, it does give you a chance to learn what works and does not work for you. If you are struggling with the right method to achieve results, find some help from someone who is an expert in the health or medical field. Take the time to interview the professionals you meet with to make sure they will be the right person to help you. Make sure you surround yourself with supportive, encouraging people; not someone that will rub your nose in your failure. Eventually, with enough determination and a healthy, positive environment, you will be successful.
“I will lose my friends/family”
Fearing the loss of friends and family is a huge obstacle for many people trying to lose weight. Eating has become such a social activity in our culture, and when we decide to change out personal habits, the people we care about most will often push back. While losing weight is already hard, it can become even more difficult when the people we care about the most discourage us from making our health a priority. Our friends/family may do this because they feel self conscious about their own health/weight issues, but it is one of the most powerful psychological battles we could face.
What to do
The fear of being alone is a hard reality to face, but you do not realize how many new people you will meet on your journey to be healthier. When you begin to take on a new lifestyle, you will find others who are also losing weight, others who are inspired by you, and many people who will want to be friends with you as well. On your weight loss journey, you will meet many people who are self-conscious about their weight loss struggles, and they will have the same fears as you. Reach out to them and you will be surprised at how strong your positive support system will become.
“I don’t know what will happen”
Taking the first steps on a journey to weight loss can be frightening. Things you have known your whole life (foods that you enjoy, how to prepare certain recipes, your daily routine) are being disrupted for this new life you are supposed to embrace. Making so many changes at once can seem overwhelming and push you to just give up instead. You may not be happy with the extra weight, but it does feel comfortable. So instead of pushing ahead, you find yourself falling back in to your comfort zone.
What to do
During situations like this, it is easier to change one thing at a time. Replace one bad habit with one good habit. Write it down, and stick to it. One of the first bad habits I ever changed was quitting my two liters of Dr. Pepper each day habit and replacing it with water. That day happened in February of 1995. While I was overwhelmed with the thought of changing all of my bad habits, changing one bad habit was tolerable. Every month, I changed another bad habit. For me at the time, it made sense. Sure the change was slow, but by following this method for one year, I made steady, progressive changes in my lifestyle. Most people will tell you that I follow a very strict, healthy nutrition plan, but few people realize how far I have come.
While this is a simplistic approach to addressing psychological weight loss issues, if you are having serious psychological issues related to weight loss, please consult a professional. This article is intended to be general in nature and is not a replacement for working one-on-one with a professional to help you face your own personal obstacles.
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