Health & wellbeing

How to break through your barriers

Ready for a life-changing year? It’s time to remove those stumbling blocks holding you back from your health and weight-loss goals.

Whatever is getting in your way, learn how to blast past it with expert advice from Weight Watchers magazine psychologist Honey Langcaster-James…

Barrier 1: You have a lack of willpower around food

Your block-buster: Willpower is in your head, and if you think you’ll fall at the first stumbling block, you will! To cultivate positive thoughts, don’t dwell on the things you regret. Instead, think of the times when you’ve shown real sticking power; for example, when you reined in your spending to pay off debts. This will boost your self-belief, and in turn, your resolve. Also, willpower is a bit like a muscle – the more you use it, the stronger it becomes. If you say no to that second slice of cake one day, your confidence to say no will be stronger next time. Know, too, that willpower ebbs and flows throughout the day, week and month. Your resolve might be bulletproof on a Monday morning, but by Friday, when you’re tired and stressed, those Kit Kats can call your name! So, identify your willpower weak spots and find solutions. For instance, keep the kids’ snacks out of sight (and out of mind). 

Barrier 2: You're living a crazy-busy life

Your block-buster: So many of us put everything we’ve got into caring for others – keeping people at work, friends or family happy – but then end up neglecting our own lives. Yet, to take care of others, you must care for yourself. As the aeroplane safety video says: ‘Put your own oxygen mask on first.’ You can’t help other people if you’re running out of air. And, no, that’s not being selfish! Many people actually find that taking time out for themselves makes them a better employee, parent or partner, as they feel happier and healthier. Not only that, but if you have children, following this principle will make you a great role model, showing them that valuing yourself is important. To help you find pockets in the day for this, schedule in a certain amount of me-time to your diary, give yourself permission to ask for (and accept) help, and know that ‘good enough’ is almost always enough.

Barrier 3: You're feeling overwhelmed and daunted

Your block-buster: Breaking down your ultimate goal into bite-size pieces will stop you feeling overwhelmed, so focus on mini-targets that you feel are do-able, which you can celebrate achieving – for example, losing 5lb. Take the same approach to healthy habits, trying one new one at a time. This will soon have a domino effect, so even a few small healthy changes could stop a free-fall of bad habits. Ultimately, doing this little by little will help you to reach your end goals. Another trick is to celebrate the actions themselves, not the results. Focus on all the great changes you’re making, how you’re solving problems as well as how great it’s making you feel – and reward yourself for this process. Simple things such as reaching for water instead of a sugary drink are real achievements, so celebrate them!

For more expert advice, read the latest issue of Weight Watchers magazine