The 4 Most Common Weight Loss Challenges (and How to Beat Them)

Don't let one of these be the roadblock to your success.

American writer, E.E. Cummings once wrote: “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” It’s difficult to imagine a more fitting description of the journey to weight loss and healthy living.

The process of changing your life is fraught with difficulty. At every turn, we are inundated with reasons to quit, give up, give in, let go, and stay the same. And it’s not enough to know the process will be difficult—you already understand that. But having a better idea of just what’s lurking behind the corner can help you through the tough parts, since you’ll know how to attack when you get there.

To that end, we’ve put together the 4 biggest obstacles likely to block your path to a healthier you. Equipped with this knowledge, you’ll be able to make it to your journey’s end and achieve your goals; and along the way, you’ll find within you a courage more resilient than you ever imagined you had.

1. The Emotions

Americans have an emotional attachment to food. So why would the process of losing weight or getting healthy be void of emotion? People pack on the pounds to comfort themselves and mask emotions, and losing weight means you’re dropping your emotional force field. Feelings you’ve not had to face may come bubbling to the surface as the new you continues to develop.

All this peeling back of emotional layers means you might need some extra help in the sorting-things-out department. Don’t be afraid to book a few sessions with a counselor in order to better understand what you’re feeling. Weight loss can highlight fears you’ve been overlooking or ignoring, new feelings you didn’t know existed, or challenges you haven’t had to deal with yet. Remember, you’re changing on the inside as well as physically, so be prepared and open to the possibility of facing a whole host of feelings.

2. Hit Me Baby One More Time

Have you ever noticed that you seem to encounter the same life situation multiple times? And each time, a voice in your head says how did I get here, again? Is yo-yo dieting any different? Consider this: what if we face the same scenario over and over again until we learn what we’re supposed to learn?

When it comes to your health, don’t hang out on the hamster’s wheel. Try to examine why you tend to find yourself in certain situations again and again. What’s holding you back? What trips you up? Why are you not succeeding? Dissect your behaviors and emotions. Get honest with yourself. Are you eating when you’re alone? After a bad day at work? Do you quit working out once you’ve lost a few pounds? Are you feeding your fear, isolation, depression? Why are you doing the things you do?

Once you pinpoint your problem, study it. Get help from someone who specializes in what’s causing you to fail. If you search for solutions and genuinely want answers, you’ll get them. From that point, you can set up a new set of circumstances to lead you off the hamster wheel and onto a path forward.

3. Commitment-Phobe

We live in a Quit-It society. If something’s boring, if it requires too much work, if it just isn’t fun, we have the ability to write our own Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card. In most cases, this serves us well. We should be able, at any time, to stop doing something that doesn’t feel right, taste good, or create personal fulfillment in our lives.

However, this ability can backfire, as it means we’re all too eager to quit on ourselves. Sure, any number of factors can get in the way—addiction, convenience, inconvenience, family, work—but committing to yourself should take priority.

It’s not easy, and may even require the courage to stand up to those around you and say, No, I’m putting myself first! However, with some thought and a little planning, you can make a commitment to your own health while still caring for those around you. Best yet, you’ll set an example by showing those closest to you how important it is to commit to yourself and honor the wonderful person you are. With every healthy meal and mile you walk, you’ll show them what commitment is.

4. Sure You Are **wink wink**

We all know the Quitters. The one who’s going to quit smoking, get out of the bad relationship, quit the horrible job? The people who talk about change, but never follow through. Eventually, you stop believing them.

Well, here’s a thought… is that you? Have you told yourself one too many times you’re starting tomorrow? Have you let yourself down so much that the self-talk about weight loss and healthy living has no meaning? It can be difficult to admit the lies you’ve told yourself, but it can also be the beginning of real change.

The only way fix the “Quitter” mentality is to… well, quit quitting. Find an accountability partner or create a reward system for yourself. The things that have been preventing your success must be good, because they’ve worked for a long time—but I’m pretty sure you’re better than they are. Get audacious and change your mentality. Face the challenge one meal at a time and prove you’ve got some nerve.

For many of us, we have to hit rock bottom before we can see our way out. But take heart in the fact that the bottom is where our gumption has been hiding. Just because things haven’t worked up until now, doesn’t mean they won’t work this time. You might be tired, uncertain, and feeling a bit overwhelmed, but that’s okay. Those things mean you’re getting ready to make some mighty big changes… and the end result will be more remarkable than you ever thought possible.

Make it WayBetter

Do these 4 obstacles resonate with you? If yes, write down how specifically you will deal with each. If not, try to identify the 4 biggest obstacles holding you back from your goals.