How To Acknowledge And Overcome Your Health Barriers
The New Year is here (2019 can you believe it?!) and the mindset of “new year, new me” is in full swing, which, for the record, isn’t a bad thing at all. Fresh starts are good, it’s nice to feel like we’re able to press a reset button and let go of all the weight and baggage of the previous year.
A common resolution I hear is weight loss goals. Losing weight and committing to be healthier as a whole is a great resolution but too often it becomes hard to follow through with for a variety of reasons.
There can definitely be mental roadblocks along the way to becoming a healthier version of you that are often overlooked. Many factors outside of exercising more and eating healthier can affect your relationship with weight loss and your overall health, mental, physical and emotional, since they go hand-in-hand.
There are many “quick fixes” out there now that make you want to believe that change comes quick and easy, and if it doesn’t we feel frustrated and want to give up, but true weight loss happens over a long period of time. There is no quick fix and that’s where your mental health comes in. We’re conditioned to want things immediately. We want to see changes after eating salads for a week and going to the gym a couple days after work, but that’s not how it happens. It happens with little changes that happen consistently over a longer period of time.
Losing weight and gaining better health takes rewiring of your brain, just like any other habits. If you want to change your spending habits and start saving more money then you have to work on it and change the way you see money. You have to set limits for yourself, plan and budget. It’s the same thing with your diet and health, you have to be willing to put in the time to see changes. There will be mental blocks in the way that you have to work through.
It’s important to remember your brain works with you and for you, not against you.
Changing habits is hard! If you drink a soda every day for lunch or grab candy from the dish that’s always stocked, those habits are going to be hard to change, but you can change them. You have to acknowledge what you’d like to change and replace that bad habit with a good habit over time.
You have to understand why you want to lose the weight in the first place. Beyond the reason of looking better and feeling better, what are you after? More freedom that comes with being healthier, the opportunities you will have when you are richer mentally and physically.
There are more psychological issues that can affect your goal of losing weight including eating out of comfort, not when you’re hungry. If you’re stressed out you go for something you know and you enjoy and it makes things less stressful. The problem isn’t necessarily the food but it’s the stress. You have to start seeking and changing the habit of eating comfort food whenever something stressful happens and exchange that with going for a walk or writing in a journal. The little changes are key.
Another psychological issue we face when trying to lose weight is fear of failure or embarrassment. Weight loss and health isn’t a linear path, it takes time and figuring out what works for you. You might be embarrassed and scared to go the gym alone, so don’t! Try going on walks and then throw in some running, try some at-home YouTube videos and if you feel like you’re confident enough with where you are find a gym that feels comfortable to you and try out a trainer there so you don't have to navigate the gym on your own. You can also ask a friend if you can join them for a few days on their buddy passes at their gym to learn the ropes. There are plenty of alternative options, just don’t let fear of not hitting your goal or fear of embarrassment stop you from turning your life in the direction you want it to go.
This goes with comparison to others. Never look at someone else and think you’re not good enough or capable or able to do what they’re doing because everyone has to start somewhere. Don’t let this comparison of outside looks be a psychological roadblock for you in the gym.
You have to evaluate what works for you and it might not be the same thing that works for your friends. Also, don’t get caught up if something that used to work for you is no longer working. Your mind and body change and sometimes with those changes we have to change up our habits and routines, again. Don’t let it discourage you. Don’t let missing a week for a vacation or for being sick discourage you from getting started again. Your mind might say “why bother” but there are so many reasons to continue with your progress. Don’t give up and don’t let your mind stop you from being where you want to be.
It’s time to acknowledge and let go of all the past behaviors and mindsets that made everything feel so heavy.
Weight loss is a long process that doesn’t happen overnight; it’s an investment in yourself. You have to change your mindset and change the way you think about your relationship with food and exercise. Sustainable change takes time and you should embrace the process.