Emotional Barriers to Weight Loss: Your Beliefs

There are many emotional barriers to weight loss, but your beliefs are one of those concepts that I believe you have to master before overcoming those barriers. Having an understanding of your belief system will allow you to have those realizations that maybe it really is you that is stopping me from getting your goals. You could write a book on transforming beliefs, and maybe one day I will, but for now this article will be enough to give you a base level understanding on a new health belief model for yourself.

It’s important to understand beliefs as a very common mental barrier to weight loss, due to where they come from and how they have built references in your mind. These references allow them to be a certainty whether constructive or destructive, and not just another passing idea. Understanding your beliefs requires you to be open minded as what you are potentially going to learn what could just be the game changer for you. The reality is that people who have the most limiting beliefs about themselves are the ones that complain the most about not being able to lose weight. Conversely the people that have mainly empowering beliefs are the ones that are most confident at losing weight. Let’s try and understand it more.

Where Do Beliefs Come From?

Essentially beliefs come from four areas of life. Beliefs are like your spectacles to the world and your guidance system around you reality. You weren’t born with them, but every morning you wake up, put on your specs (metaphorically speaking) and start playing out your day ahead. Look at the table below as a metaphor of one of your beliefs (the table top). During the days, weeks, years and as you get older, top level beliefs are slowly implanted in you as ideas. Then they get strengthened with reference legs (the table legs) from certain areas of your experience. The more reference legs you have the stronger that belief becomes. Imagine how many beliefs you have, both ones that serve you and ones that don’t?

emotional barriers to weight loss



The Four Areas of Life That Your Beliefs Get Their Reference From

Your environment: Think of the place you work, the media you listen too, the celebrities and TV shows you follow. This is the environment that you are subject too, which help to create many beliefs within you. I’m going to use the media for this example of a limiting belief. Magazine and TV shows have praised and publicized so many ridiculous diets out there that have unfortunately created a strong global belief that you can’t lose weight without starving yourself or cutting out whole food groups, like the Atkins Low carb diet.

Opposite to that limiting belief and you don’t have to travel far to see how many beliefs you adopted from your environment? Where did you eating habit come from? Was it your family, your parents? I’ll use an example in my family who never really ate out and the belief was that food made from home was much better. But their belief, as part of the Italian culture, was to eat and eat and eat, beyond what’s really necessary. So, I grew up in an environment which encouraged eating 2 to 3 servings of pasta dishes. God bless my parents for giving me food when the majority of people around the world are starving, but unknowingly to them that is what help lead to me becoming overweight in my teenage years. Exercise was never an issue as always played sport, but my belief of you can eat as much as you can without was enough to make be well overweight at the age of 18.

Your environment is probably one of the biggest influences in your emotional barriers to weight loss or gateway to success.  I’d say growing up with a bunch of friends that consistently ate junk food day in day out was a huge influence. Who are you listening too or hanging around with the most these days?

Past outcomes and events in life: If you have tried a diet before and failed, do you think that would lead you to believe that it works? What about an exercise program, if that works for you do you think you would believe in it and then recommend it to a friend to increase the belief in the program? Events in life such as let’s say being over weight and then losing a whole lot of weight. Then for some emotional reason you put on all the weight again. Because you have lost weight before do you think that you would have more belief that you could lose all your weight again? Most likely yes, as you have done it before.

mental barriers to weight loss

Education: School canteens that supplied us all the pies, lollies, chips, fried foods, donuts, sugary flavoured milks and soft drinks played a part in educating your belief around foods, hence it too also helped me to become overweight at such a young age. Thank god we are starting to change our education of nutrition in schools, but can you see how powerful education is in increasing your beliefs around areas of your life such as health. That’s why personal trainers or health professional know how to get results from their clients when they’re clients have failed so many times in the past, they simply have different beliefs about what works and what doesn’t because they have been properly educated in that area.

Creative thinking: This way of creating beliefs really is the one that is going to create the most success. Just think of the biggest achievements in history, from the man on the moon to the underdog athlete that comes from behind to win gold at the Olympics. This all started as a dream for someone, but unreal for the majority of people. The truth is that people that creatively believe that it can happen also eventually make it happen. Let’s think about your situation now, do you think a belief that said – “I can never look like this role model!” Would that serve you? Probably not. Conversely if you truly believed you could look like your role model, don’t think you would be more inclined to take the action required to have their body? That’s creating thinking, and you can find plenty of proof out there that it works.

The mind can’t distinguish between what is real in your head and what is real in the physical world. The creative images that you hold in your mind are what are what is going to drive you forward in achieving your goals. But unfortunately, creative thinking can of course work both ways, so most people make out that their reality is worse then what it really is. They have created psychological reasons for losing weight that stops them from ever going forward, rather than seeing it better than it is and creating that reality.

How to Turn Your Emotional Barriers Around

If you see yourself with many limiting and negative beliefs then, there is an easy to follow process to removing the weeds (limiting beliefs) and planting new seeds (empowering beliefs) and you can discover more about this in my Really Really Fit Program. For now we’ll start off with some empowering creative thinking. Do it now, right now I want you to clear your headspace by writing any issues on your mind down. Then file that for later and answer these questions:

  • What does the body of your dreams look like? (picture it)
  • When you get that body, what are you seeing around you?
  • What do you hear?
  • How do you feel?
  • Who is envious of you?
  • How do you look?
  • What are you doing that you couldn’t do before?
  • How good does that make you feel to picture it?

This is starting the process of creative thinking also known as visualization, and helping you to remove your emotional barriers to weight loss. In the next post we’ll talk about the Self Fulfilling prophecy and how that relates to your beliefs.


As a Trainer and Coach for over 10 years now, I've helped many people reach their goals as well as achieve my own including having lost 35kg. I'm my very own guinea pig when it come to achieving a fitter, healthier life and now I'm here to help you. Start by signing up to the Really Really Fit newsletter, Free Book and Video training that will change your mindset and life.

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