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3 Mental Traps That Keep You From Losing Weight

June 15, 2017

Have you ever played the lottery? It’s safe to say that most of us have at least daydreamed about what we’d do if we suddenly had 10 million bucks in the bank overnight. It sure is exciting to think about. The possibilities seem endless.

So, what does the lottery have to do with weight loss? If you’ve been trying to lose weight for a while, you’ve probably looked into the "weight loss lottery." You know, all those ways of losing weight extremely quickly with almost no effort. You know how hard it can be to see real progress toward your weight-loss goals. It’s easy to go searching for all the ways that promise "easy" and "fast." And trust me, there are plenty of these out there.

We are constantly being sold weight-loss lottery tickets. There will always be a new "trick" that will make the fat "fall off," a new pill that lets you eat whatever you want and still lose weight, or a new weight-loss plan that "requires no exercise" and gives you incredible results.

Because that stuff is constantly in front of you, you can easily fall into patterns of thought that keep you from seeing the change you really want. That said, here are three mental "lottery" traps that keep you from real, sustained weight loss.

1. You are looking for ways to avoid the process.

People play the lottery because they want instant gratification. They want the wealth without all the effort required to really build it (and who can blame them?). We often look at weight loss the same way. We look for the fastest and easiest possible way to lose weight with the least amount of effort. We want to avoid the process.

The process takes time. It takes consistency. It means hard work for days, weeks, and months. That doesn’t sound very attractive. However, the process is also a gift. When you work hard at something and force yourself to make the right choices day in and day out, you start to change. When you finally reach your goal—whatever it looks like for you—you are no longer the person you were when you started.

2. You want to lose weight without changing the way you think.

How come some billionaires aren’t out spending their money all day every day? Why do some super-wealthy people drive old cars and live frugal lives? It’s hard to imagine having all that money and not "enjoying" it.

Wouldn’t it be great to lose the weight you want with the snap of your fingers? It sounds so appealing, but it’s really a trap. You’ll have a hard time losing the weight when you’re constantly thinking the same way that got you overweight.

Losing weight, just like building wealth, often requires a lot of mental rewiring. Billionaires gained their wealth because they thought differently from most people. They were conservative, played the long game, made wise investments, and didn’t go all in when too-good-to-be-true opportunities came along. They followed their gut, did the right thing when it didn’t feel good in the moment, and trained their brains to work for them, not against them.

You need to take the same approach to weight loss. Make your brain work for you, not against you. Do what’s right in the moment, and put off that gratification for a later time.

3. You are trying to lose weight for the wrong reasons.

Why do you want to lose weight? There are a lot of noble causes out there like feeling better, living longer, or looking better. More often than not, though, those reasons don’t hold up so well after a few days on a diet. Why is that?

Wealthy people aren’t necessarily after money because they want to buy whatever they want. Some are after something else. Some build wealth for freedom. Some build wealth because it allows them to explore possibilities. Some do it because it’s a by-product of who they already are.

What does freedom look like when it comes to weight loss? Maybe what you’re really after is all the things that "looking good, being healthy, and feeling better" will give you. Maybe you’re after a life full of freedom and possibility. That’s a wealthy life.

Maybe what you’re really after is all the things that losing weight will allow you to do. But why do you want to do those things? Well, simply because it’s who you really are. The extra weight is keeping you from living life the way you know deep in your heart you should be. It’s keeping you physically and mentally "poor."

Sustained weight loss is an investment. It takes time, hard work, consistency, and patience. If you lost all the weight overnight, you would never gain all the benefits that the process gives you. You wouldn't have the opportunity to appreciate what you’ve built or how you’ve grown. Just like so many lottery winners have gone broke not long after they win, you could find yourself with the weight back on. It happens all the time.

If you will invest in yourself and avoid instant gratification, you will lose the weight—and find it much easier to keep it off. Just like building wealth in your bank account means changing the way you think about money, you need to change the way you think about weight loss. It’s time to play the long game. Embrace the process.

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