Difficulty Losing Weight: Factors That Can Hold Us Back

Many clients tell me that they know how to lose weight- it’s just the ‘doing’ that they find hard. So what are some of the key things that can contribute to difficulty losing weight, as well as difficulty maintaining weight post weight loss? We have to make multiple food choices every day, and unless we become more aware of how, why and what we eat, unless we consider our current attitudes towards food, our behaviours around food and our beliefs and knowledge about food and nutrition, any attempts to eat better and lose weight will be futile.

Deeply Ingrained Habits Are Automatic

Difficulty Losing Weight: Factors That Can Hold Us BackIf you’re having difficulty losing weight it’s important to address your eating habits. We all have deeply ingrained habits that we do automatically- we might start a diet and try to eat differently, but after a few days, our usual habits normally kick back in because our brains are hardwired to behave in a certain way. That’s not to say, however, that habits can’t be undone- they certainly can, but it just takes practice. The more you carry out a new behaviour, the more it will ‘stick’ and become an unthinking habit. For example, if you have a tendency to eat very quickly but attempt to eat more slowly, you need to keep practising eating slowly, otherwise it will be easy to fall back into eating quickly. I always emphasise to clients the importance of practising new behaviours until they become rock-solid habits. Persistence is key!

Not Thinking About The Consequences

It’s important to live in the moment- it’s easy to worry about the past or the future and not thoroughly enjoy ourselves now. However, when it comes to eating, although it’s important to enjoy our food we mustn’t lose sight of the future. If we constantly indulge in food like tomorrow doesn’t exist, then we’re never going to lose weight. If you’re having difficult losing weight it’s important to strike a balance between enjoying your food whilst thinking about the consequences of your food choices. If you’re really keen to take control of your eating, you need to consider both the short-term consequences (such as feeling guilty, sick or bloated) and the long-term consequences, such as difficulty losing weight. Having a dialogue with yourself, asking yourself how you will feel if you eat a particular food can help you to think twice. It’s fine to have moments of pleasure with food, but if you find that you regularly indulge without considering the consequences, weight loss won’t happen. To help you indulge less, it can be helpful to ask yourself if a food is really going to be worth the calories- food often looks better than it actually tastes, and so imagining how something will taste can help you to refrain. I help clients to get into the habit of thinking before they eat, as well as looking ahead rather than just eating mindlessly in the moment.

Difficulty Losing Weight Due To Poor Nutritional Knowledge

There can be lots of conflicting information out there, and if we get confused about what we should be eating it can be easy toDifficulty Losing Weight: Factors That Can Hold Us Backnd what to do instead take no action at all, and just carry on eating as we normally do. Once you gain an understanding about which foods can help you with your weight loss attempts and which foods can hinder weight loss, you can start feeling empowered- once you feel empowered you will feel more inspired to keep making better food choices. I often teach clients about the physiological impact of foods on the body, which really motivates them to make better choices.

Difficulty Losing Weight: Common Factors That Can Hold Us BackLack Of Support From Others

We may have difficulty losing weight if we don’t get encouragement or support from others- especially those we live with, who may sabotage our weight loss efforts perhaps without even realising they’re doing so. If a partner or family member insists that you eat foods you’re trying to avoid or cut down on, the pressure to eat may cause you to give up completely. I emphasise to clients the importance of getting support from others by communicating their needs, as well as including the family in food planning, preparation and eating.

Impatience To Lose Weight

Some people are impatient to lose weight- they have a ‘quick-fix’ mentality, and if they see the weight isn’t coming off as quickly as they’d like, they may give up. Patience is absolutely key when we’re trying to lose weight- weight lost gradually over several months is more likely to stay off than weight that falls off in just a few weeks. I always encourage clients to recognise the benefits of more gradual weight loss rather than rapid weight loss. The advantage of more steady weight loss is that you can eat more flexibly, too.

Eating In ‘Perfect Mode’

When some people try to lose weight they enter ‘perfect mode’- but then the second they eat something not on the plan they feel they’ve blown it and give up. This is the all too common ‘black and white’ mindset, and it can be very detrimental to weight loss. There will always be social occasions to work around, and times when food choices are out of your hands, but you can still adopt techniques to help you stay in control. For the vast majority of people perfect eating just isn’t sustainable- it’s not only impractical but it’s also unenjoyable, and if we deprive ourselves too much or inflict on ourselves too many rules we will rebel! I help clients to adopt a more flexible mindset.

Using Food To Manage Emotions

Difficulty Losing Weight: Common Factors That Can Hold Us BackMany people use food for things other than to fulfil hunger. If we regularly rely on food to make us feel better psychologically, we can become over-reliant on food and have considerable difficulty losing weight. It’s very common for people to reach for food when they feel bored, stressed, upset, lonely or angry- I help clients to identify when they use food, to address their main triggers and to find ways of relying less on food to solve problems.

Using Food As Fuel And Not Nourishment

Some people see food simply as fuel- they see it just as something to keep them going throughout the day. They don’t see food as nourishment and generally don’t value or prioritise healthy eating. As a result they may find they experience symptoms such as feeling constantly tired, digestive issues, poor skin, poor concentration, poor memory or low mood. When we feel under par, we’re much more likely to abandon weight loss efforts. Many people are busy sorting out other people in their lives and don’t prioritise themselves and have difficulty losing weight because they’re not focusing enough on themselves and their own needs. I teach clients to understand how any symptoms they’re experiencing might be a result of a poor diet, to help them start making better food choices, and where necessary, I help clients to adopt more self-care strategies.

Seeing Your Weight Loss Goal As A Mountain

If a person has a lot of weight to lose, they might see it as a huge, unsurmountable task. When we’re faced with a big task, it’s essential that we break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks. I encourage clients to take each week as it comes, helping them to focus on their actual eating behaviours, rather than focusing on what the weighing scales says, and the entire amount of weight they want to lose.

If you’d like to discuss with me how I could help you, give me a call (Emma Randall) on 07961 423120, or email me: info@mindfuleating.org.uk. I’m based in Lightwater, Surrey.

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