The 7 Sabotaging Mindsets Preventing Your Body Losing Weight & Keeping It Off

Mindset skills for weight loss

We've previously looked at the 12 biological (physical) reasons (other than excess calories) that can get in the way of losing weight. But that's only half the story, because weight loss is so much more than just a physical challenge.

So it's time too turn our attention to the psychological (mental and emotional) barriers that might also be tripping you up.

We've all heard (probably many times) before, that in order to change our body, we must first change our mind.

But what does that really mean?

Well, firstly it means just being aware of all the unhelpful thinking patterns that are preventing you from taking action and being successful. Because to succeed with anything, you have to be willing to understand exactly how you are sabotaging your own progress. Awareness is the key here. Only then can you learn to actually do something about it.

So here goes...do any of these thinking patterns sound familiar?

1. You're stuck relying on what used to work even though it's not working anymore

When something works the first time, it's only natural to try it again...and again...and again. But there eventually comes a time when whatever used to work, doesn't anymore. It totally sucks. But it's just what happens.
So you could either continue to do what isn't working (and get really frustrated), or you could find a different strategy.

Perhaps in the past you never had to worry about calories, but now you might need to.
Perhaps you never had to do much exercise, but now your body is telling you otherwise.
Perhaps you've always been able to get away with poor sleeping habits, but not so anymore.
Perhaps in the past, skipping meals was a useful strategy, but may be now you need more regularity.
Perhaps in the past, eating every 3 hours worked well, but may be now you need to eat less frequently.

Don't get stuck in the mindset of relying on stuff that used to work. Be curious and open to a new way of doing things.

2. You're full of excuses

Your 'escape clauses' are the (often very logical) reasons and justifications (excuses) you give yourself for why you can't do something. They give you 'an out', so you can keep your life running on easy. But they also keep you stuck in the pain of your current reality, and keep you struggling with your weight.

Do you recognise any of these?

I don't have the...time...willpower...energy...
I'm too...busy...tired...fat...unfit...stressed...anxious...embarrassed...sad...
I don't feel like it
It's not a good time right now
I'll do it tomorrow...next week...next month...later
It's too...hot...cold...wet...windy
I'll fail
I'm just no good at it
It's only a tiny piece
I don't want it to go to waste
I'm feeling like crap. I deserve it
It's free
I'll be extra careful tomorrow

3. You're still waiting for the motivation

When you talk about 'being motivated' to do something, you probably mean that you are in the mood or perhaps 'in the zone'. You probably have a heightened sense of energy, willingness, desire, optimism and excitement about whatever it is you want to do. Unfortunately the feeling of motivation never lasts. It can't. After all, it's an emotional response, and you can never be on an emotional 'high' all the time. So like your emotions, which go up and down from day to day, your motivation does exactly the same. Sometimes it will be there, and other times (perhaps even most of the time) it won't.

But here's the thing. If you only rely on motivation to keep you going, you're basically saying that you're only willing to take action to achieve your weight loss goals, when you 'feel like it'. So what happens for the rest of the time when you don't?

Those who succeed at long term weight loss are the ones who commit to action even when they don't have the motivation or they don't feel like it. Stop waiting around for the motivation to show up...you could be waiting for a long time.

4. You're not willing to get uncomfortable

Let's face it, change is messy. That's because it involves:

  • New experiences (learning a new skill or strategy; establishing a new habit; getting your heart rate up; responding to a craving differently; having a difficult conversation; going to bed earlier; etc.)
  • Obstacles (time; money; triggers; people; life / busyness; etc.)
  • Difficult thoughts (I can't do this; I'm a failure; this is too hard; I'll do it tomorrow; I don't feel like it; I don't have the time; I've got no willpower; I'm fat; etc.)
  • Unpleasant emotions / feelings (fear of failure; embarrassment; rejection; anxiety; worry; guilt; shame; anger etc.)

Success ultimately comes down to how badly you want something and what price you are willing to pay to get it.

Are you possibly afraid of changing (your choices, habits and behaviours) because it involves stepping out of your comfort zone?

Those who really succeed at lasting weight loss aren't any more talented, smarter, or harder working than you. And they certainly don't have any more willpower. But they are at least willing to get uncomfortable to get what they want.

5. You're feeling pressure from others

Let's be honest, we're all social creatures. We all want to be accepted by others and avoid offending those with whom we come in contact. However, the desire to please can also keep you from making the right choices when it comes to your health and weight. Just think of the last time you felt obliged to eat that piece of birthday cake.

So how are you allowing other people to influence the way you take care of yourself?

6. You're trapped in black and white / all-or-nothing thinking

Do you tend to see things in black and white, and forget that there is often a middle way?
And do you feel that unless you get something perfect, it isn't worth doing at all?

Here are some classic examples:

You couldn't fit in that walk today, so you quit trying for the rest of the week.
You ate that choc muffin at morning tea, so you wrote off the rest of the day.
You didn't have enough lettuce to make the salad for your lunch, so you had take-away instead.

Not allowing yourself to slip up from time to time is just setting yourself up to fail. All-or-nothing thinking and giving up just because you couldn't do something perfectly is really just an excuse to let yourself off the hook. It's actually a defence mechanism or a way of minimising disappointment. If you believe (even subconsciously) you are going to fail; you'll make sure you do, so you won't be disappointed.

Failure is nothing more than a perception, a name, or a label you have given to some event or experience in your life. Unfortunately, however, once you have labelled something this way, you become very critical, focus on the problems (rather than the solutions), lose motivation, and give up.

So cut yourself some slack, be willing to stuff up, and remember, it's progress you're after, not perfection.

7. You're too self-critical

We all have inner conversations with our self, and a large part of this self-talk is spent beating ourselves up. Our minds are particularly good at comparing us harshly to others, finding fault with our lives, and being very self-critical. It's what they seem to do best.

Do any of these thoughts sound familiar?

I'm fat...ugly....boring....hopeless....stupid...weak
I'm a failure
I'll never lose the weight
My bum's way bigger than hers
My job sucks....my body sucks....my life sucks
I'm not smart enough

So, how do you respond when you get stuck thinking one of these unhelpful thoughts?

Let's be honest, it's unlikely to make you feel motivated. Not for very long anyway.
When you constantly focus on all the negative stuff, you're much more likely to lose focus on your goals, feel overwhelmed, and give up.

Now, although you may not be able to just suddenly stop thinking these self critical thoughts (after all, they just happen all on their own), it is possible to learn how to respond to them differently so they don't push you around so much, and so they don't have the same power over you.

Which Mindset(s) are You?

So which of these 7 mindsets are keeping you stuck and making lasting weight loss success a fantasy instead of a reality?

When you just pay attention to all the physical stuff (food, exercise, sleep, hormones etc) you will lose weight. But if you want to actually keep it off, you'll need to focus on the self-sabotaging thinking patterns as well.

This is the essential difference between those who succeed at lasting weight loss and those who continue to struggle.

If you'd like some help breaking free from any of these mindsets give us a call or book a FREE Strategy Session with one of our Health Coaches.

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