Weight loss. Why is it SO hard??
The never-ending desire to lose weight no matter how much or how little. It seems so elusive and difficult for so many.
No matter whom I speak with, when I mention that I am a nutritionist, someone will always say, “I need to lose weight.”
What I find so interesting is that most people know what they need to do to lose weight. The problem is they just can’t do it.
Here are 6 weight loss road blocks that usually keep people stuck and 6 solutions on how to move past them.
ROAD BLOCK #1
I find that most people lack an awareness of their habits and behaviors around food. Think about it. Do you know how many times you walk into the kitchen and open the pantry or refrigerator and grab something to eat? Especially after dinner when you are no longer hungry? How about how many times do you eat what’s left on your kid’s plate after you’ve finished your meal? Or how many times you walk by your co-workers desk and grab a handful of M & M’s, pretzels or whatever happens to be in the jar?
These mindless acts of eating are often the stuff that people don’t even pay attention to and then can’t understand why the weight is either coming on or not coming off.
Pay attention to whether you are experiencing HEAD HUNGER or STOMACH HUNGER. Do you think you are hungry or are you hungry?
We all know what hunger feels like. Create an awareness of what goes in your mouth during the course of the day when its not an actual meal or planned snack. Once you start to become aware of how much extra goes in on a daily basis it will be easier to change this behavior and eliminate potentially hundreds of extra calories by the end of the week.
ROAD BLOCK #2
Going on a restrictive diet is the worst thing you can do when trying to lose weight.
Just thinking about possibly feeling deprived sends most people running for the nearest buffet table.
These diets usually involve fat-free processed foods. Restrictive diets are not maintainable long-term. This is a huge reason why people fail to stay on a diet plan and yo-yo diet. Low calorie diets or diets that remove food groups will, no doubt, set you up for an eating disaster because at some point you will go off the diet plan that you went on to lose weight.
Eat! Eat whole, unprocessed foods. Eat 3 meals and 1-2 snacks a day depending on how long your day is. Find good-tasting, healthy whole foods that you like and make you feel good both physically and mentally since our brain plays a huge part in our satiety. Be sure not to wait longer than 4-6 hours between meals and snacks. Buy a great cookbook and find ways to make your favorite foods healthy and delicious!
ROAD BLOCK #3
You Think it’s About Willpower
I hear over and over again “I have no willower” or “I wish I had willpower. If I did I would be able to stick to a diet and lose weight.” I am here to tell you that weight loss has little or nothing to do with willpower. Willpower, even if you did have it, is short-term. It doesn’t last the rest of your life.
Change your way of thinking about food and eating. Focus on creating maintainable healthy habit changes that you can incorporate into your everyday life. The definition of a habit is: an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary. Once you adopt healthier habits you will never have to worry about having willpower.
ROAD BLOCK #4
That Old Voice in Your Head
We all have it. That voice that tells you any or all of the following:
What’s the big deal?
It’s only a little bite.
I had a really bad day.
I know I’m trying to lose weight but I DESERVE THIS!
This cupcake is going to make me feel SO much better!
That old self-sabotaging voice in your head that always pops up with old ingrained beliefs about what you think and how feel about yourself and how you relate to food and eating. That old voice is one of the reasons why you may not be able to lose weight. That old voice is so used to justifying all the reasons why you should eat vs. justifying the better reasons why you shouldn’t.
Start to practice listening to the OTHER voice in your head. The logical, practical voice that we all have in there but we tend to ignore. Start exercising your brain to listen to that practical voice because that voice will always lead you towards a better choice that will ultimately help you stay the course and reach your goals.
ROAD BLOCK #5
Lack of Support
I hear all the time from clients that they feel unsupported by a spouse or a partner. I had one client tell me that when she was trying to lose weight her spouse would get upset if she did not want to drink wine at dinner with him or if she wanted to eat something a little different than what he was eating. It made her feel terrible and it was very difficult to make the long-term changes that she wanted to make.
Another example of lack of support is when out in a group situation. It’s crazy that when you tell your friends you are trying to incorporate healthier eating into your life, how they try to push the bread basket or dessert when you say that you don’t want any.
You feel self-conscious and judged. What you have to realize is that often when someone is insisting that you eat when you say no, it’s because they feel badly that they are unable to make healthy changes themselves and that they can’t pass up the bread or the dessert.
When it comes to your spouse or partner, sit down and let them know you are about to embark on a process of change to develop a healthier lifestyle and it is important to you to have his/her support. Ask for them to be supportive especially when the going may be a little tough. When it comes to your friends be firm when saying “No, thank you.” Keep in mind that when they start to push it could be in part because they are transferring their stuff onto you.
If people in your life still won’t support you then stay firm. You need to practice getting comfortable taking care of yourself by asking for what you want and giving yourself what you need. This is about YOU. When you take care of you, everything in your life gets better.
ROAD BLOCK #6
Emotional Eating/Compulsive Eating
This is a big one. Eating your feelings. The majority of my client coaching revolves around emotional eating. Using food as your drug of choice to stuff down or numb your feelings. This type of eating involves more than just stuffing down a few cookies.
Emotional/compulsive eating is usually the whole box or the whole box and a pint of ice cream and then some. If you’ve experienced this, you know that it’s only for those moments the food is in your mouth that you may feel good. When you are done, not only will you still be stressed, depressed, angry etc., but now you feel horrible both emotionally and physically. Food does not fix your feelings. It doesn’t have that much power. It’s just food.
Practice the acronym H.A.L.T. Determine if you are Hungry, Angry or Anxious, Lonely, Tired. Identify the feelings that are driving you to eat when you are not hungry but feeling emotional. Find a Plan B.
Figure out what else you can do with those feelings you are experiencing. Be sure to steer clear of the kitchen. Go into your room and breathe. Do some yoga poses, meditate, call a friend, walk the dog. Find another way to deal with the feelings other than eat. Spend some time trying to figure out where those feelings are coming from.
Try journaling to get your feelings out on paper. My clients tell me that they feel more present and in touch with their feelings when they journal. Rather than holding it in it helps them to get their feelings out by writing it down.
If emotional eating is something you have struggled with for years, click here to schedule a FREE Breakthough Call with me and let’s create a plan so you can bust through your weight loss road blocks.