Weight loss is not as simple as it seems. You may have learned the commonsense approach that weight loss is about less calories in and more calories out. However, if you’ve found yourself stuck and wondering why you cannot lose weight, you are about to learn several reasons why. In addition, there are 4 limiting beliefs that keep you from being happy, not only with your weight, but with life in general.

Let’s dive into the 6 main reasons why you cannot lose weight.

 

  1. You’re not drinking enough water. Drinking water can help increase your calorie burn and decrease appetite. Especially if you mostly drink sugary drinks or sodas, these are considered empty calories that create more sugar cravings, not less.
  2. Poor sleep. When you go through the day tired due to poor sleep, the tendency is to reach for food or sugary options to boost your energy. A recent study showed that people with poor sleep tend to eat 300 more calories per day.
  3. High stress. This is a huge contributor to why you cannot lose weight. Stress causes your adrenal glands to over produce cortisol, your stress hormone. When cortisol is consistently high it leads to high blood sugar, weight gain, poor immune system and more digestive issues.
  4. Emotional eating. If you’re using food to cope emotionally, this will most assuredly lead to excess calorie consumption. Eating for emotional reasons will sabotage your self-care, prevent mindful eating, and be a huge contributor to why you can’t lose weight.
  5. You may be struggling in your weight loss goals because you’re not eating enough. Not enough calories can slow your metabolism down to the point of storing food into fat for needed energy and survival.
  6. Or believe it or not, you could be exercising too much. This is a sure way to shoot your weight loss goals in the foot. Too much exercise leads to adrenal failure and high cortisol which impacts the body similar to high emotional stress.

Ironically, I remember a time when I was running and exercising the most, and I was at one of the heaviest times of my life. The stress I was putting on my body was too much and created a lot of hunger and cravings. I learned that gentle and less intense exercise was more beneficial to my body and overall goals.

Above all, it’s important to understand that it’s not necessarily what you’re eating, but how much you’re eating.

I’ve worked with people who binge on health food and still struggle with weight loss. That is not due to what they are eating, but how much. Even healthy foods that are overfilling your body could be why you cannot lose weight. You wouldn’t over fill your gas tank, right? Then why would you overfill your stomach when you eat?

That is why I teach mindfulness which starts with the basic principle that there is no good or bad food. Seeing food as good or bad is a primary limiting belief. This belief sabotages your weight loss goals and keeps you from enjoying food without guilt or shame.

In addition to seeing food as good or bad, here are 3 other limiting beliefs that keep you from losing weight and having an overall sense of happiness in your life.

 

  1. You’ve learned to attach your identity to your body and weight. That means if you gain weight, you’re bad. Additionally, if you lose weight, you’re good.
  2. You’ve attached shame to your body. When this happens, it’s hard to go out into the world and do what needs to get done, whether that is in relationships or at work. The black cloud that follows shame and your body is all encompassing and negatively impacts your overall sense of esteem and worth.
  3. You have come to believe that if you lose weight, you’ll be happy. It’s the mindset I call, “I’ll be happy when…”. You’re waiting for something external to happen to you so that you can finally be happy. This prevents you from having a sense of control and power in your life because you’re dependent on something outside of yourself.

In short, you have found yourself unable to lose weight and struggle with limiting beliefs that keep you from being happy. All these things are connected. Finding a way to step outside of these beliefs will bring you not only happiness in your life, but weight loss as well.

Are you wondering where to begin? Let’s start with taking your power back.  Learning how to change your overall mindset will rid your limiting beliefs that keep you from being happy.

 

  1. Define happiness. You get to define what happiness means and what it will take for you to be happy. But instead of defining it by anything external, go inward and decide how you want to feel vs how you want to look.
  2. Find new ways to gauge your weight loss success. It doesn’t have to be with a scale. When you define your worth by a number, you are at the scale’s mercy. Instead of looking at a number, get in tune with how you are feeling in your clothes. How is your energy throughout the day? Has sleep improved? Look for alternative ways to define success regarding your health.
  3. Learn mindful eating. This is probably one of the most important steps you can take. Mindful eating starts with awareness. For example, what are your judgments around food? How do certain foods make you feel? Are you aware of hunger and/or fullness? Ultimately, you want to remove all shame around eating and have a healthy relationship with food.
  4. Learn how to put yourself first and increase your self-care. This includes but is not limited to how you prioritize your sleep, eating, and water consumption.
  5. Finally, change how you define your worth and value. Stop looking for external validation that you are an amazing person. Instead, look inward at your heart. Your heart is where your values and inherent traits exist. Who you are inside never changes and is consistent regardless of what the scale says or what size pants you have on.

In other words, changing your mindset and ridding the negative and limiting beliefs, can and will help you lose weight and find genuine happiness in your life. The mind and body are strongly connected. Taking care of both with love and gentleness will help you attain your weight loss goals and have the added benefit of creating happiness in your life.

Lesley Goth, PsyD is a psychologist and sustainable weight loss coach. Lesley has created an 11 week online sustainable weight loss intensive teaching mindfulness and getting underneath all the deeper issues that keep you stuck in your weight loss journey. You can find out more here.