Limiting Beliefs and Weight Loss: Five Limiting Beliefs That May Be Holding You Back
Limiting beliefs are one of the biggest reasons people have a hard time losing weight and keeping it off. Here are five common limiting beliefs that may be holding back your own successful weight loss.
We tend to see weight loss as a physical process, but there is actually a LOT going on beneath the surface - and much of that "hidden" stuff can dramatically affect your success in everything you do, including weight loss.
Your beliefs are one of the major guiding forces in your life because you tend to think and act in ways that agree with your existing beliefs. For example, if you believe you can't achieve a goal, chances are you either won't bother to try at all or you'll give it such a halfhearted effort that your results will be minimal. Through those actions you will have "proven" your belief to be true.
This process is no different when it comes to weight loss. Your limiting beliefs have the power to hold you back no matter how much you might want to improve your life.
Below are five common limiting beliefs that could be holding back your weight loss success:
Limiting Belief #1 - Losing Weight is Hard Work
How many weight loss programs have you been on that were incredibly hard to stick to? Whether you followed a program that severely restricted calories, fat intake, carbohydrates, or anything else, you probably have memories of struggling mightily to lose the weight - and resenting the entire process as you went along.
But does weight loss HAVE to be that hard? There are many different ways to lose weight, and some of them are gentle and easy. Some of them focus on behavior modification; some focus on exercise; some focus on specific food combinations, and so on. Making weight loss easier simply requires choosing a plan or program that works better for YOU; something that compliments your goals and objectives and suits your lifestyle a bit better.
Limiting Belief #2 - I Can't Lose Weight Unless I . . .
Other limiting beliefs that can be detrimental are the ones that impose strict requirements. For example, "I can't lose weight unless I give up sweets entirely." Or "I can't lose weight unless I exercise for at least an hour a day." The problem with these kinds of beliefs is that if you don't abide by the rules, your mind won't allow you to lose weight.
The good news is that there are always exceptions to these rigid "rules" that can disprove the beliefs. For example, you might ask yourself if there are slender people in the world who do eat sweets, or if there are slender people who don't have to exercise for an hour a day? When you start challenging these rigid beliefs, you see that they are more often perceptions based on your past experiences.
Limiting Belief #3 - I Can't Lose Weight Easily Because . . .
You may also have limiting beliefs related to self-perceptions such as, "I can't lose weight easily because I have a slow metabolism." The question to ask yourself is, "How do I know this?" Is it a perception you have adopted over the years, or did someone tell you that? And does it necessarily have to be true?
Beliefs like this can often be overcome by simply repeating an opposing belief such as, "My body metabolizes food perfectly." It does take time to replace limiting beliefs, however - don't expect an overnight miracle.
Limiting Belief #4 - I Must Follow a Formal Diet Plan to Lose Weight
Many people have developed a perception that their own body cannot be trusted to know how much food it needs, so they must follow a formal diet plan. Of course, there's nothing wrong with following a specific eating plan if that's what works for you - but not everyone wants to do that.
The conflict arises when you really hate diet plans but don't think you can lose weight any other way. Ask yourself if it's really true that your body can't tell when it is hungry, how much it needs to eat, and which types of food make it feel good or bad. It knows! Of course, the trick is to learn how to actually listen to it rather than eating mindlessly.
Limiting Belief #5 - I Must Force Myself to Lose Weight
Another common limiting belief is that you must force yourself to lose weight or you won't do it. For this reason people often choose the strictest, most difficult plan they can find - because they think it's going to "whip them into shape".
Unfortunately, this thinking often backfires as the person is brought face to face with the issues that caused them to gain weight in the first place, and they don't know how to handle them. Their usual response is to slip right back into destructive eating habits and give up on their weight loss goals.
These are just a few of the limiting beliefs that can prevent you from losing weight, but there are many more. Keep in mind also that your limiting beliefs may differ from everyone else's.
Here's a good way to figure out what your own limiting beliefs might be:
Then jot down everything that comes up in your mind as a possible reason why you can't. You may be surprised by some of the beliefs that you didn't even know you had!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Wendy Betterini is a lifestyle and fitness coach in the Pacific Northwest specializing in helping busy moms juggle work, family and wellness. Her interests include running, organic gardening, and writing.