Anyone who has ever lost weight will tell you that the process is not easy. Many say that "the road to hell is paved with good intentions," and in a similar way, the road to weight loss is paved with chocolate fences and mountains of candy.
That being said, most of us realize that to lose weight, we need to perform some manner of exercise, eat a balanced diet, and somehow manage to sustain this new lifestyle. Almost all of us seasoned dieters start out with the best of intentions, only to be found facedown in a plate of syrupy pancakes a few days later. Why is this? Are there psychological factors that may be hampering our attempts to shed our wobbly rolls?
Here is an overview of the top five psychological factors which may be hindering your diet attempts, as well as some advice as to how you can overcome them:
The Failure Factor
Especially if you feel like you have been on and off the diet wagon several times, you might be stuck in an emotional cycle of failure. You failed on your last diet, you actually gained weight on the diet before, and so you pretty much know that it is only a matter of time before this new diet fails, right? Wrong! This is a new day and a new diet. Your previous failures are in no way related to this current attempt. Ensure that you have written down a list of goals to remind yourself of why losing weight is so important to you. This way, if you find yourself straying from the balanced diet trail, you will have added motivation to continue.
The Comfort Eating Factor
Most of us have at one time or another come home from a bad day of the office, and raided the refrigerator to find some solace. If you are constantly medicating your mind with food, your balanced diet is unlikely to work. Try to find other ways of relieving stress, like exercise, reading, relaxation, or journaling, to take the emotional emphasis away from your food.
The Depression Factor
If you find yourself feeling low, sad, or depressed most of the time, these feelings could be preventing your diet and exercise regime from working optimally. Perhaps you feel too tired to exercise, or maybe you find yourself lacking the energy required to prepare healthy, balanced meals. Depression is a serious illness, and it is very important to seek help and treatment from a health professional.
The Binge Factor
One of the major problems with fad diets, or unsustainable diets, is that they make you feel horrible. After a few days or cabbage soup and celery sticks, you might find yourself binging on every unhealthy food source you can find. The main thing you can do here is to ensure that you have done some research prior to beginning the diet. If the plan involves cutting out a food group or replacing one food group with another, the chances are that this won't work for you. Choose a well-balanced diet founded on a good nutritional premise, and put the binge factor to bed for good.
The Stress Factor
Stress is at best unhealthy for our bodies, and at worst terrible for our weight! Stress raises our cortisol levels, which essentially means that we end up storing fat much deeper in our bodies than we might suspect. Reducing stress means that we reduce sugar cravings, depression, or binge cycles. Try relaxation, yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises to alleviate stressful feelings.
Losing weight is not as simple as just the diet and exercise. Take steps towards eliminating psychological factors, and you will find that your mind and body feel lighter and happier!
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