Understanding (and Overcoming) Common Psychological Blocks to Weight Loss

Oct 01, 2023
Understanding (and Overcoming) Common Psychological Blocks to Weight Loss
Psychological barriers are more powerful than they may seem on the surface, especially when it comes to reaching disciplined goals like weight loss. Let’s go over some of the most common psychological blocks and how you can work past them.

Psychological barriers can stand in the way of weight loss more than physical barriers like medical conditions or poor mobility. They can be challenging to identify and even more difficult to work past. If you’re not seeing progress with your current weight-loss strategy, perhaps your own mind is standing in the way. 

Our team of medical weight loss experts at Physicians Weight Loss Center Highlands Ranch in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, offer personalized counseling services for exactly this reason. We delve into the psychological and behavioral side of weight loss so you can better understand yourself and your goals. Personalized counseling helps you stay focused and motivated as you navigate your weight loss program and make the necessary changes to your routine.

The common misconceptions holding you back

Your mental and behavioral approach to weight loss hinges on how you think of yourself and about weight loss in general. There are many common thought processes and misconceptions that may ultimately prevent you from changing your habits or committing to long-term weight management. Here are a few that might sound familiar:

All-or-nothing thinking

All-or-nothing thinking involves seeing the world in black and white. This is a common cognitive distortion that might drive you to give up on your goals before ever seeing progress. You may wrongfully believe that you’re a total failure if you’re not seeing the instant fruits of your weight-loss efforts and that you should give up because of it. 

In reality, most things in the world have some gray area, and that includes weight loss. Many people run into plateaus while losing weight, but that doesn’t mean they’ve failed or that their health isn’t benefitting from the changes they make. 

You might also become overwhelmed and stressed if you can’t picture yourself achieving your goals. Try to pace yourself and avoid taking on more than you can handle. Our experts can help you set reasonable goals and take small steps toward a healthier, weight-friendly lifestyle. 

Negative self-talk

Negative self-talk has more of an impact than you might assume, which is why many therapists encourage daily affirmations. While disliking your body’s appearance may be a motivator for losing weight, low self-esteem can also be a significant barrier to weight loss. 

If your body image is poor, your overall self-esteem may be low, too. This pattern of thinking can lead you to believe you’re incapable of losing weight or prevent you from exercising publicly for fear of what people might think. As you can see, a negative self-image can easily lead you to stray from your weight-loss program or give up entirely.


Comparing yourself to others is closely tied to a negative self-image. As you go through your weight-loss program, try to stay focused on yourself and your own progress instead of becoming discouraged because you believe someone else’s efforts have been more successful. Everyone is on their own timeline and has different needs, which is why care personalization is vital in the field of medical weight loss. 

Diagnosed disorders

Depression affects almost 4% of the population worldwide. In fact, obesity is a risk factor for depression. 

Many people who are depressed experience appetite changes which can be especially challenging for those who are trying to stick to a low-calorie diet. Plus, depression often comes with low energy or fatigue which can prevent exercise, healthy cooking, and other habit changes for losing weight. Many antidepressants can cause weight gain, too, which presents additional barriers to weight loss. 

Overcoming your own barriers

Every weight-loss patient experiences their own unique set of challenges, psychological or otherwise. Our team has plenty of helpful tips and tricks to help you adopt healthy patterns of thinking and stay motivated as you work toward your goal weight. Fortunately, no psychological challenge is too large for you to conquer. 

After a careful evaluation of your health, goals, and outlook, our team can offer personalized recommendations. While it may take time to change your perspective, these strategies may help:

  • Keeping a journal
  • Setting smaller goals along the way to your ultimate goal weight
  • Taking antidepressants as prescribed
  • Prioritizing your sleep 
  • Practicing positive affirmations
  • Practicing relaxation techniques
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Starting psychotherapy on your own time
  • Educating yourself about weight loss and what it entails

The team at Physicians Weight Loss Center of Highlands Ranch is eager to answer your questions and offer you the extra guidance you need for success. If you need extra assistance overcoming the emotional or psychological barriers to weight loss, contact our office online or with a phone call to make an appointment today.