Why It's So Hard to Lose Weight (And What You Can Do About It)

May 11, 2021

You’ve made up your mind.

You are going on a diet and you are going to lose weight,

You’re doing good, eating the way you should.

Then, you are at an event or a party, and right in front of you is a smorgasbord of irresistible food you know you shouldn’t eat.

You look and say no, I have willpower, I’m not going to do it.

But before you know it, a little voice in your head says, one little bite won’t hurt and you cave in.

You bite into it and it tastes so good!

Before you know it, you’ve gorged yourself.

You know down deep inside it was not a very smart thing.

Now your belly is full, you even feel fatter.

Then regret and guilt kick in.

You’re so pissed off at yourself.

You feel bad, and think - I can’t believe I did it!

It's not your fault!

One of the reasons you are so mad at yourself is because you’ve fed into the belief that if you truly want to lose weight you have to build willpower to make it happen.

Before you start feeling bad about not having enough willpower, do yourself a favor and say the following…


Commit this to your memory.

Willpower is not only over-rated, it’s downright exhausting.

Why?  Because willpower can’t over-ride strong emotions when it comes to eating.

You don’t always eat because you’re hungry

Even though the primary reason to eat is for survival, there are other reasons.

Humans are hard-wired to seek out pleasure and avoid pain.

Eating for pleasure - According to Dr. Douglas Lisle and Dr. Alan Goldhamer, authors of “The Pleasure Trap has this to say…

“In neuroscience, food is something we call a “natural reward.” In order for us to survive as a species, things like eating, having sex, and nurturing others must be pleasurable to the brain so that these behaviors are reinforced and repeated.

Food activity activates a pleasure pathway that releases dopamine in our brain which makes us feel good.”

The mere thought of food can make you feel good.

Feeling good about food goes all the way back to your childhood…

…The good old days when you were rewarded with food when you did something good or when you were bribed with treats.

What about visits to your grandparents or favorite relatives that always included a special treat such as cookies, ice cream, candy, or cake as a way of showing their love for you?

Then there are memories of good times in your life such as holidays and celebrations where food is the centerpiece.

That’s tough competition for so-called willpower.

Emotional eating or eating to avoid pain – Have you ever experienced times in your life when you’ve felt stressed, helpless and hopeless and food seems to provide relief from these feelings?

You know it and I know it – the relief is only temporary because the next time you are stressed, you’ll eat again to feel better.

It’s a vicious cycle.

It becomes a bad habit.

"Bad habits are like a comfortable, they're easy to get into but hard to get out of"

According to Dr. Doug Lisle, author of The Pleasure Trap, “People can be taught to change these habits and replace them with new ones.”

The next time you feel the urge to eat something because you feel stressed…

…Try any or all of these 8 new habits:

  1. Go for a walk
  2. Go for a run
  3. Exercise
  4. Practice yoga
  5. Practice mindfulness
  6. Do you have a hobby?
  7. Talk to or visit someone
  8. Drink water

While you already know that eating only gives you temporary relief, it’s important to keep in mind that your urge is also a temporary event.

Another powerful tool is remembering “your reason why”.

“Your reason why” is your strong desire or purpose for reaching a goal.

It should be something serious that moves you emotionally - a reason that is going to change your life.


Some examples of emotions that you may go through…

You become disgusted, shocked, appalled, embarrassed, or scared.

You hate the way you look.

You're sick and tired of feeling like crap.

Maybe you have a strong desire to be independent so you won’t end up being a burden to your children or to someone you love and care about.

Once you are clear about your "reason why" your next step is to create a picture in your mind of how you want to look or feel.

Get 10 pieces of paper or 10 index cards and write down the “Reason Why” you are making your lifestyle change in big, bold letters.

 Call these “Your Reason Why Cards” – they will come in handy. 

Put them wherever you feel you will be tempted, such as the refrigerator, pantry, pocketbook, wallet, or even your car. 


Dr. Holly Wyatt, associate professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center says, "Even the perfect diet, without the mental part, won't be successful."

Ask Yourself the Real Reason You Want to Lose Weight

Wait, there's more!

Researcher Dr. Jud Brewer shares insights about how your brain forms habits and how you can use a simple technique to change your habits in a permanent way.

A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit

James Clear, author of the New York Times bestseller, Atomic Habits says what you are today is the sum of your bad habits.

In this article, he shows you the science of how habits work along with a framework that can make it easier for you to stick to new habits to help you reach your goals.

How to Start New Habits That Actually Stick

As you can see, there are many ways and ideas that can help you to make changes in your life - pick one that resonates with you.

Until next week.

All the best,

Ed Bishop




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