Why Your Mind Doesn't Want You to Lose Weight

| Weight Loss

In theory, you're doing everything right. You're counting calories, exercising, getting enough sleep, etc, but the pounds just won't fall off. Could it be mind control? Women's Health has the story below.

decode your food feelings
(Photo: Women's Health)

Counting calories, measuring portions, tracking steps — when it comes to dropping pounds, we like our efforts to feel tangible. But there’s a pretty critical side to weight loss that a lot of us ignore, and that’s the mental game. According to a new survey, only one in 10 people believe that emotional issues (which can lead to overeating) factor into weight loss.

The national survey by Orlando Health asked 1,005 Americans what they thought the obstacles were when it comes to losing weight. After taking a look at the data, the study authors found that 31 percent of participants think lack of exercise is the hardest thing to overcome, 26 percent said eating the right food is the toughest part, and 17 percent said the financial burden of living a healthy lifestyle is the biggest obstacle. Only 10 percent thought that "psychological wellbeing" was the most crucial barrier to dropping pounds.

Though the survey takers may have been confused about what one's "psychological wellbeing" actually meant (it kinda sounds like a person's mental stability, right?), it's apparent that many of us are convinced that you can muscle your way to a fitter body by diet and exercise alone.

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“We tend to think that our mind and body are separate, but they're completely intertwined," says Michelle May, M.D., author of "Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat".

Every single one of us is an emotional eater, says May, and that’s totally normal and healthy. (Woo hoo!) We celebrate holidays and birthdays with food, and we connect with our partners and friends over big dinners. Though food makes us feel loved and comforted, sadly, the effects are only temporary. That's why we often keep going back for more and more and more. Plus, no matter how much you restrict yourself or clock in gym time, your emotional need for food can keep you from meeting your goals.

While that is super-frustrating, pausing to notice how you feel physically and emotionally in the moment can make a huge difference in reaching your weight-loss goal, says May.

Check out the strategies May's clients use to conquer the emotional side of eating by clicking here.