4 Psychological Blocks to Weight Loss and How to Overcome Them

By Ilse de Graaf

Have you tried every diet and exercise combo but you just can’t seem to reach your weight loss goals? As you will know from my previous posts or if you follow my work on social media, mindset is everything when it comes to weight loss therefore not being able to reach your goals might be due to a psychological block. Weight loss is an uphill battle for anyone, but those dealing with emotional struggles may have an even more difficult time reaching their goals. Your life is about emotions. They are always there, positive as well as negative ones.

The good news is that I am here to help you overcome these emotional struggles and psychological blocks. I have dedicated a whole section of my signature framework ‘The Power Method’ to Emotion & Energy.



If you are an emotional person like me, then those emotions cause feelings that are difficult to turn off. Feelings you don’t enjoy (sadness, anger, fear of failure, disappointment, disbelief, powerlessness, and so on). These feelings trigger certain actions.

The majority of us have good intentions when it comes to eating well and exercising more often, we generally know the basics of what to eat and what to avoid. But unfortunately, even the best of intentions don’t always cut it. We still find ourselves derailing our progress when we feel some of the aforementioned emotions.

We are all creatures of habit, we find comfort in a routine. So if your current routine involves unhealthy eating patterns or a lack of exercise it is normal to seek out those things when you are feeling emotionally triggered. ‘Comfort eating’ can relieve those emotions in the short term, leading you to continue this behaviour. I mean why wouldn’t you? It’s like a warm, cozy comfort blanket. You can read more on Emotional Eating and how our habits are connected to our emotions in a previous blog post.

All is not lost my lovely Ninja, we can form new, healthy habits to get past our psychological blocks and to reach our weight loss goals but first, we need to pinpoint exactly what that block is. The first step to a healthy resolution is identifying the issue.

Negative body image
There are many different reasons for wanting to lose weight, it could be societal, it could be health based but it could also be as simple as that you are not happy with the way you currently look and you want to change your body size or shape. Of course, there is nothing wrong with wanting to change your health or your appearance however if you are experiencing feelings of negative body image, this can actually obstruct your weight loss journey. It can discourage you from attending exercise classes for fear of being ridiculed, it can stop you from eating in restaurants for fear that you will be judged for ordering a salad – “ah she must be a secret eater, I bet she doesn’t eat that at home!”. More often than not, these thoughts are your own and nobody else’s, that’s why it is important to address these negative thought patterns and implement change.

Diet culture
If you’re a regular here you will have read my previous blog post Weight Loss, why the word diet is unhealthy, which explores this theme in more detail. Diet culture has a lot to answer for, it promotes unrealistic views surrounding body image and promotes a culture of temporary fixes “I’m going on a diet before my holiday”. Following a diet does not promote lifelong change or a mindset change, it does not help you to understand nutrition or the benefits of exercise, it just gives you another element of life to be stressed about.

When you give up dieting and no longer have food to obsess over, it forces you to look at the psychological reasons for overeating.

Personal trauma
Psychological stress is commonly linked to weight gain. There are many potential reasons for this, comfort eating could be a factor, self sabotage another, neglect or poverty as a child can lead to overeating as an adult, survivors of sexual abuse may overeat as a way to protect themselves. If you can identify with any of the examples given please speak to a friend, find a support group or speak to a certified professional. You are not in this alone.

You’re a foodie
So here’s a curveball, being a ‘foodie’ could actually be a psychological block for losing weight. You obsess over food, your instagram feed is full of food posts, you involve food in every social event, you’re a feeder. Food is your hobby and without it what do you have? The chances are that you are subconsciously using food to fill a void. By pinpointing and addressing your emotional need to be seen as a ‘foodie’ this will help you to work towards changing your mindset and creating a more healthy relationship with food.

Becoming self-aware is the first step towards mindset change. Once you’re aware of the psychological blocks, you can start to form new healthy habits that will help you to reach your goals. The best way to develop self-awareness is through journaling, workbooks, and coaching all of which are part of Weight Loss Ninja’s philosophy and are included within The Power Method.

Did you know that I am offering a New Masterclass which will teach you 3 secrets on how to get and stay motivated during your weight loss journey so that you can reach your goals?! To find our more or to reserve your seat, sign up here.

Thank you for reading Ninja, your continued support means the world to me! You are the reason I do what I do.

xx Ilse

Founder & Coach
Weight Loss Ninja