3 Common Obstacles to Weight Loss

Be aware of these hurdles to make your dieting regimen a success

In 1999, the National Medical Association declared obesity an epidemic in the United States, and Americans took notice. Dieting programs, weight loss clubs and gyms are becoming more and more popular as people start the weight loss process. For a lucky few people, the weight loss journey is as simple as a decision to change eating habits and start exercising. For others, there are barriers between them and their goal weight, most of which are common to many dieters.

Unrealistic goals

The excitement of making a life-changing decision, like that to change your habits and lose weight, can lead you to make unrealistic weight loss goals. Being swept up in the moment and using that momentum to carry you into health is a great thing, but it's important to slow down long enough to make a rational goal.

According to Weight Watchers writer Melissa Sperl, setting unrealistic deadlines and not meeting them can cause you to abandon the process of losing weight altogether. If you under-promise to yourself and then over-deliver, you boost your confidence in the fact that you are capable of losing the weight. You should also consult your doctor and seek his or her advice about a healthy weight loss pace for your body.

Emotional eating

A common symptom of overeating is emotional eating — eating not when you're hungry, but when you're sad, bored, lonely, angry or stressed out. When you're trying to lose weight, it can be difficult to maintain your resolve in an emotional moment.

In the book The Mayo Clinic Diet: Eat Well. Enjoy Life. Lose Weight., authors Donald Hensrud, M.D., M.P.H., and weight-loss experts at Mayo Clinic encourage emotional eaters to call a friend in a moment of weakness, which is why belonging to a weight-loss support group is a good idea. Get rid of any junk food in your house, and stock your fridge with healthy snacks. When emotional cravings hit you, your only choices will be healthy. You can also use your emotional lows as signals to exercise. Physical activity will give you a better emotional high than eating, which will just lower your self-esteem.

Social settings

One of the great things about our society is that so much of our socializing revolves around sharing meals. One of the worst things about our society is that so much of our socializing revolves around sharing meals! Going to a movie, watching a football game, enjoying cocktail hour and catching up over lunch are all common group activities that are accompanied by food. Of course, the easiest way to overcome that obstacle is to make smart choices while out. Eat smaller portions, less-fattening foods and healthy meals when there's an option. You can also eat a healthy snack before you go out so you're less tempted to indulge.

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