Unable to lose weight despite working out hard? These 4 psychological factors could be to blame

Published on:2 February 2020, 16:00pm IST
Weight loss is a mind game and here’s how to win it like a boss. Overcome these psychological factors and then ace your weight loss goal.
Sonakshi Kohli
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Run..run…run…but no results? Read on! GIF courtesy: GIPHY

A healthy diet, some amount of calorie restraint, and exercise—sounds like the perfect weight-loss mantra, doesn’t it? Well, if you just nodded your head in agreement, congratulations! You belong to the ignorant majority that thinks weight loss is completely physical.

Hello! Have you completely forgotten that none of these physical factors can be achieved if your mind is not in the right place? The point we are basically trying to make here is that certain psychological factors might be stopping you from treading on the path of fitness and unless you overcome those barriers in your head, you can’t get what you want.

Also, read: If weight loss is on your mind then stick to these 5 rules for better results

To be precise, these are the four “barriers” we’re talking about:

1. You’re too harsh on yourself
If you’re one of those people, who have an all-or-nothing philosophy in life, you’ve got to change your approach before changing your diet and lifestyle.

According to a study, published in the Journal of Obesity, thinking of your weight-loss journey as a success only till the time you’re sticking to your diet and as a complete failure after indulging in, say, just one cheat meal can do you more harm than you can imagine.

The logic is simple. One heavy meal or one day away from the gym, and you’re likely to dismiss all your hard work as some sort of a debacle. The result? You get back to your unhealthy ways and get stuck in a rut.

2. Your self-esteem is as low as your calorie-intake
Y’all know how cutting down calories is the go-to approach for weight loss, right? But have you ever considered the fact that what you really need to cut down on is your habit of underestimating or being overtly critical of yourself?

“I don’t look good”, “I will look weird working out with the fitter people at the gym”, “I can’t do this”. These are just a few of the negative affirmations, courtesy your low self-esteem. Trust us, these are only keeping you away from enjoying a fitter, more-fulfilling life.

“Most people think that losing weight is a near-impossible task and they continue being overweight irrespective of how hard they may try. Many of them compare their physique to others too. Such people suffer from low self-esteem, which is yet another impediment to weight loss,” explains Dr. P.K. Manglik, member, Indian Association of Private Psychiatrist, Royal Society of Health (United Kingdom).

3. You think of exercise as an escape
In our experience, weight loss journey usually begins out of utter dissatisfaction with your looks, a lifestyle disease that requires you to control your weight, a wedding that you want to look good at or simply as an escape from your emotions or problems. Seldom does the idea of actually leading a healthy lifestyle motivates you to start working out.

Surely, it’s a good idea to vent out your frustrations in your workouts. However, turning them into means of escape can really backfire.

unable to lose weight
Don’t consider exercise as an escape. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

So, you hit the gym when you’re angry or upset to feel better. But what happens when your mood is good? You simply let go of the workouts and indulge! And that’s where you lose the game.

Also, read: These exercises will help you to shed kilos and tone up without going crazy at the gym

4. You’re ruled by your emotions
When you’re sad, an ice cream tub is the key to bringing your smile back on. When you’re stressed, that bowl of pasta makes you feel better. When you’re happy, nothing’s better than a celebratory butter chicken.
There’s something for every mood. And that’s exactly what can ruin your weight-loss goals according to The Clinical Obesity Maintenance Model.

But, don’t lose hope, here’s help
“Overcoming psychological barriers is the most important step for weight loss,” points out Dr. Maglik and suggests the following ways of doing so:

  • Replace the negative self-affirmations with positive ones and start thinking optimistically about yourself and your situation.
  • Stay away from people, who indulge in body-shaming.
  • Try to be regular and consistent with your workouts and diet.
  • Make a list of things you’re doing to lose weight in order to boost your confidence.
    Know that you’re not alone in this journey and form a good network of people with the same goals.
  • Communicate with your friends and family as the emotional support from them can take you a long way.
  • Remember that you can always bounce back to your normal workout regime even after that one cheat meal/cheat day/ no workout week.

So, it’s all about striking that balance!

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Sonakshi Kohli Sonakshi Kohli

Twenty kilos down and struggling to maintain the weight loss by preaching healthy eating, while eating unhealthy every now and then.