It may seem to some people that they are always on a diet plan, always trying to drop the last few pounds and always slogging away in the gym with very little results. Many clients that have come to me throughout the years have attempted to lose weight before and many may have achieved it only to find a year down the line that they are back at square one. Others never achieve the weight loss goals they want, so they give up until their weight becomes a burden and they will attempt the same path again with the same results.
These people are experiencing barriers to weight loss and until they overcome these barriers weight loss will continue to elude them. There are 3 major barriers to overcome and they include physical, emotional and environmental roadblocks that get in your way.
In my experience, emotional barriers are the hardest to deal with. These include:
- Fear of Failure
- Lack of Motivation
- Quick to Blame Others
- Unwilling to Accept Responsibility
If someone has attempted weight loss before and failed, fear of doing it again is a real drawback. They will have a negative response to exercise and a lack of motivation because the hard work never seems to pay off. However, this attitude could be the reason that they fail each and every time. Negative thoughts invoke negative responses.
Journaling and meditation are great tools for overcoming emotional barriers. Writing down each workout and meal along with the day’s thoughts and feelings can help to track when negative thoughts occur and also when positive responses are felt. If a client has written down their feelings of elation after tackling a particularly grueling workout, this will have a trickle-down effect into all subsequent workouts. Their positive feelings they remember when reading the journal will ultimately push them to try again.
Goal setting and visualization cannot be disputed when trying to boost motivation. I have many clients who refuse to exercise when I’m not around because they claim they cannot motivate themselves. The fact that they are constantly pointing out their lack of self motivation to themselves further reiterates the point and places them mentally in a position that they cannot overcome. The bottom line is if you want something badly enough you should be able to go and get it. Setting some realistic goals and posting them all over the house, on Facebook and in your diary will ensure those goals are at the forefront of your mind all day long. Take before and after photos and keep updating them. Photos are great for showing small changes in muscle definition and they really help to boost motivation when you are feeling discouraged.
Vision boards are great for placing everything you want to achieve in one picture. This could be your desired body, the feelings you want to get by having that body, lifestyle changes you will make, the dress you want to fit into, the marathon you want to run when you have lost the weight and the dream holiday you will treat yourself to when it’s over. Visualizing yourself having all those things already as you look at the board will really inspire you to go for your dreams and put in the effort to get there.
Emotional barriers however can be offset by environmental barriers. These include:
- Hectic Work Schedules
- Eating On The Go
- Company Lunches
- Lack of Support
This is often a big deal in corporate companies whose employees may spend hours sitting at a desk, eating on the run and enduring company meetings with limited access to healthy foods. Colleagues who don’t really appreciate or understand may offer sugary snacks throughout the day or push you to have just one alcoholic drink while at the pub. The phrases “you only live once” or “just one won’t hurt you” comes up a lot in this category.
To overcome these barriers, I feel the emotional ones must be attacked first, as a change in attitude is vital to break through the environmental factors. Education is the key here. Learning how to prepare foods in advance for days when there is no time to cook and knowing what healthy snacks to grab when you are on the go. There are many companies who now deliver healthy lunches or snacks to your office or home that save lots of time.
Find exercise routines that take very little time such as intervals and Tabata training that can fit into your busy schedule and are really effective fat burners. Exercise doesn’t have to take hours.
Talk to friends and colleagues and tell them the situation. If you have realized the importance of self motivation, this shouldn’t be too difficult to do but it requires determination and will power which is why the emotional barriers must be over come first. Learn to say NO! Bring in your own snacks to work to avoid those sugary treats that may be offered around the office and stand firm when at the bar and have an orange juice or tonic water. Eventually these friends will respect the difference that they see in you and really, their lack of support comes from their own fear of failure.
Alternatively, encourage your friends to join you for workouts which is a great way to provide support and encouragement on both sides. Making exercise a social event has many positive benefits like the encouragement it provides to work harder but also saving time by having the weekly gossip covered while jogging!
Finally we come to physical barriers. These include:
- Medical Issues
- Reoccurring Injuries
This section can include anything from thyroid to arthritis to adrenal fatigue. Again, once emotional barriers are overcome they will be easier to tackle but they will require specialist input.
Always consult with a physician before attempting any type of exercise plan. This is vital for making sure that an exercise program is set at a suitable level to begin and progress is equally important. Hiring a certified personal trainer or a certified physiotherapist is highly recommended also. There is no reason that physical barriers cannot be overcome and a professional should be able to write a suitable program that is tailor-made just for you. If you have the motivation and the belief, weight loss can easily be achieved.
The path to a desired weight loss goal can be long and hard but with the right attitude, anybody can achieve and maintain results. Make a list of all the barriers you experience in your life. Be honest with yourself, stop making excuses and start making those small changes that will eventually make that big difference.