There’s no question limiting beliefs will hold us back from losing weight and getting the body we want. In this post, I’m going to share some examples and what to do about them.
But first and foremost, I’m extremely excited to welcome my son, Zachary Leo, to this crazy, amazing and miraculous world.
He was born on April 5th, and over the last 20 days, I’ve stared at him in awe so many times.
I can’t help but think how we all start off as a blank slate loaded with nothing but potential.
Sure, we have our natural temperament but our surrounding environment has a big impact on us as well.
Our fears, hopes, and dreams are impacted by who we surround ourselves with along with what has happened to us in the past.
Which led me to this thought experiment: What if somehow, someway, our memory of ourselves was erased?
We wouldn’t have any limiting beliefs or self defeating thoughts.
All of our failures, screw ups and mistakes would be gone from our brain.
Our assumptions about what we’re capable of, or not, based on our past experiences wouldn’t exist.
In other words, we’d have a spotless past.
[Though, no matter what our past has been like, we all do have a spotless future.]
Sounds nice, right?
It’s important to think about the limiting beliefs we might have. If we never address them all the tactics in the world won’t matter.
Total Reading Time: 4 minutes. Please don’t read the rest of this post until you have some free time. I work very hard on my posts, and I know they can help you a lot.
Here are some common ones:
“I can’t do it.” —-> If you have tried to lose weight in the past unsuccessfully then you might feel that you can’t, no matter what you try. (Many of our clients felt this way too at first.)
“I’m doomed to stay this way.” —-> Sometimes, it feels like everything is working against us. Some people feel this way even though they don’t have any logical evidence to support such a belief. This tends to happen when we feel stuck in other areas of our life as well. (This is why starting with ourselves is the best way to change other areas of our life. Once we feel confident about our ability to change ourselves, it snowballs into so many aspects of our life.)
“My family is overweight.” —-> Many people feel that because their family is overweight they’re destined to be overweight, no matter what they do.
“It’s too hard.” —> This is so common. Maybe the ways you’ve tried in the past seemed too hard but do you truly know that every way to lose weight is too hard? (So many of our clients are surprised at how easy our program feels. Bingo!)
“I can’t stick with it.” —-> You can’t stick with it, or you don’t want to stick with it? Big difference.
Tip: Replace all of your “cant’s” with “I don’t want to”. Then ask yourself why you don’t want to…
There’s very real reasons why we don’t want to stick with it. Sure, many plans are just not sustainable. But many times it’s fear holding us back. We fear sticking with it because we’re scared to give up “using” food to soothe ourselves. We think we’ll never be able to eat our favorite foods again. So whenever we get close to sticking with something we let this belief get in the way (instead of exploring) and just quit.
“I’ll never be able to eat my favorite foods again.” —-> Ugh, any plan that asks you to do that is a guaranteed failure. Reminds me of a client who told me she was once asked to sign a contract before she started a diet. She had to sign something promising that she’d never stray from the plan.
Hahahahaha what?! Ugh. If only it was as easy as just signing a piece of paper. But many people feel that they’ll never be able to eat their favorite foods again if they want to lose weight. So they never bother to try to lose weight. I don’t blame them! (Of course, us MBT-ers know this isn’t the case.)
“Now isn’t a good time.” —-> If not now then when? There is never a perfect time. The stars never align and we tell ourselves, “I’ll just focus on my health once…” or, “I’ll just focus on my health when….” Once or when what? We’re deluding ourselves to think we’re going to be less busy in the future. This is also something many clients say once the change starts to feel more and more real. It’s an “easy way out”.
“It’s too expensive to lose weight.” —-> Expensive compared to what?
Let’s talk about live music for a second. People don’t go to cheaper concerts. They just don’t value the concert enough to go at all.
Here’s the thing: Everyone values their health and fitness (unfortunately, many don’t think about it until they don’t have it). I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t desire to be healthy and fit. It’s that they’re scared to change. So they’ll find every excuse and reason in the book to make themselves feel better about not taking any action. “Ah, yes, it’s too expensive.”
Remember: Our desires never go away. We just cover them up with rationalizations.
Also, it’s expensive to eat indulgently! Clients tell me all the time how much money they’re saving on food.
It’s interesting. We don’t think twice about running across town to buy overpriced junk food when we have a craving but we’ll question spending the same amount of money on healthy food. We don’t question buying stuff that is usually very fleeting – yet we’ll question investing in ourselves for what is the most important thing of all?
I sincerely believe that our health and wellness is priceless. We’ve heard it before but health is true wealth.
“No matter what I do…” —–> Ever hear people say, “No matter what I do I can’t lose weight”? This is a self-fulfilling prophecy because they are essentially waving the white flag before they even allow themselves to succeed. Again, many people talk about the fear of failure but the fear of success is just as limiting, if not more.
“I’ve tried everything” to lose weight. Hm, interesting…
Check this story:
There is a story about a woman who attends a weight loss seminar, and complains to the keynote speaker, despite trying everything, she can’t lose weight.
“You’ve tried everything?” asks the speaker.
“Everything,” the woman replies.
“What were the last hundred things you tried?” asks the speaker.
“Well,” the woman admits, “I haven’t actually tried a hundred things.”
“Then what were the last twenty-five things you did?” asks the speaker.
“I haven’t tried twenty-five things, really, either,” the woman responds.
“So how many things have you actually tried?” asks the speaker.
“Well,” says the woman, sheepishly, “maybe five or six.”
This is just the tip of the iceberg on some of the limiting beliefs we have when it comes to being healthy and fit. I’ve heard them all, and I understand them all.
The purpose of our limiting beliefs is to protect us. Every behavior we do – positive or negative – serves us in some way. Limiting beliefs give us a way to rationalize doing the easiest thing of all: Nothing. This way, we can remain the same and blame it on these beliefs we have.
Until we identify and deal with our limiting beliefs, we’ll never succeed for the long term.
This is why we’ll go from one diet or program (if we even give ourselves a chance by starting one) to another thinking we’re “lazy” and “unmotivated” and lack “willpower”.
This is when the salesman chimes in, “It’s not your fault!” Uchhh.
But you know what? In this case, it’s not.
Did you know 10% of all bestselling books are diet books? If the books worked, there would be no reason to write them anymore.
Us MBT-ers are smarter than that. We know focusing on tactic after tactic, without the critical mental side of weight loss, is as useless as a screen door on a submarine.
Sometimes, it’s not so obvious what our limiting beliefs are, and it takes a little (or a lot of) digging. Sometimes it is. But, knowing what they are makes a big difference.
Most people would rather write about tactic after tactic because it’s easier but that doesn’t actually change habits and behavior.
Featured image: “Clean Slate” by Michael Coghlan and used under a Creative Commons license.