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The Real Reason You’re Not Losing Weight

When you’ve tried every diet program out there, why is it still so hard to lose weight? You know you want to be slimmer yet the scale doesn’t budge. And in those rare moments it does, those pounds keep coming back.

If you’re not creating a slimmer body even when you’re “doing all the right things,” it’s time to dig deeper and discover what’s holding you back.

Your Conscious vs. Subconscious Beliefs

When there’s something you desire but can’t seem to make it happen, chances are that your subconscious, hidden beliefs and fears are preventing you from having what you want.

Let’s use an iceberg analogy. Your conscious mind is the tip of the iceberg. It’s visible and obvious. From this place your goal is clear. For example, “I want to lose 50 pounds.”

Your subconscious mind is the mass of ice below, hidden and lurking beneath the surface. It is much more powerful than your conscious mind. When something is hidden, you don’t know the impact it can have until you bump up against it.

To release weight more easily—and permanently—your conscious and subconscious minds must agree.

If your subconscious mind says, “I’m ready to lose weight and feel safe to do so,” you most likely will lose weight. But when your subconscious mind holds fear and doubt, chances are you’ll have a harder time and may sabotage yourself despite your best intentions.

How to Shift Your Subconscious Blocks

To move beyond subconscious blocks that exist within you, you must discover what they are. Be gentle with yourself.  It’s not your fault you’re having a hard time releasing weight if you don’t even know what hidden obstacles are blocking you.

If you experienced trauma as a child—abandonment; loss; physical, sexual or emotional abuse—chances are your subconscious mind may still hold the energy of low self-worth, guilt, shame, and lack of trust in yourself and the world.

Perhaps you’re wondering, “But what does this old pain have to do with losing weight today?” Let me explain…

Adverse experiences in childhood take a toll on your self-worth. When you feel unlovable as a child, you carry this belief into adulthood and it influences all the choices you make. Especially around taking good care of yourself. Until you’ve healed from these early wounds, deep inside you may not feel worthy to create the life—or body—that you want.

Subconscious negative images of yourself affect you in ways you may not even notice. For example, you know that portion control at mealtime is necessary to lose weight. But even when you’re physically full, you keep eating. Your determination to lose weight doesn’t stop you from adding more food to your plate. That’s because food can never satisfy emotional hunger.

Sometimes it’s obvious when you’re using food to soothe yourself—those days you feel sad, lonely, or frustrated and head straight to the fridge. Other times, you may not recognize that a deeper hunger lies within. But when you eat that second—or third—helping, time and time again, it’s a sign that something deeper is getting in your way.

The Limiting Beliefs That Keep You Heavy

Here are five common limiting beliefs and fears that I’ve heard from clients over the years. Some clients knew the beliefs that got in their way but didn’t know how to change them. For others, it wasn’t until they dug deeper in our work together that they discovered the hidden fears that were holding them back. Can you relate to any of these?

“I’m afraid to lose weight because if I’m thin men will find me attractive and hurt me sexually.” (This is commonly experienced by sexual abuse survivors.)

“I’m afraid to lose weight because if I’m thin and still don’t meet anyone, then I’ll really feel like a failure.”

“If I lose weight, people will expect more from me. I’m not ready to be more engaged in the world.”

“If I’m thin I won’t be like everyone else in my family. I don’t want to be disloyal and separate from them.”

“If I lose weight, then who am I? I don’t know who I am if I’m not a fat person.”

When you acknowledge that hidden, fear-based beliefs like these exist within you, you’re taking an important first step to overcome self-sabotage. While insight alone isn’t necessarily enough to eliminate them completely, old beliefs lose strength once revealed.

Massaging the Heart

This is one of my favorite techniques to use when working with limiting and fear-based beliefs. This simple energy psychology technique uses your heart energy to help transform fear into self-love and acceptance.

1. Get yourself comfortable and close your eyes. Put your hand over your heart. Feel it beating as you connect with its loving Divine energy. Breathe.

2. Move your hand gently in a circular motion as if massaging your heart and say to yourself or out loud:

“Even though deep down I’m afraid and having a hard time releasing weight, I totally and completely love and accept myself.”

3. Repeat this phrase three times, or more.

Another variation is to mention the specific fear you’re working on. For example, “Even though I’m afraid of failing and having a hard time releasing weight, I totally and completely love and accept myself.

Keeping the phrase general guides your Divine heart energy to all fears (conscious and subconscious), so either phrasing is fine.

When you use the Massaging the Heart technique daily, your subconscious mind absorbs feelings of love and acceptance and strengthens your self-worth. It then becomes easier to overcome self-sabotage.

Releasing fears and limiting beliefs take time. The quick fix is not the path to permanent weight loss; going deeper is. So be patient and have faith in yourself.

You’ll get there.

What fears are holding you back from losing weight?

(Photo Credit: Thomas Leubke)
















5 Responses

  1. Even though I’m not aware of any limiting belief regarding my weight, Diane, I’m sure there must be one that I haven’t uncovered yet. I tried losing a couple of extra kilos last year and managed a kilo or two then hit a a plateau.

    2 months ago my routine checkup indicated high blood sugar (not diabetic) and this time I think my subconscious mind knows it can’t hold me back. I’m doing tapping and following guidance from one of your gifts that I had downloaded a few years back and have already lost 4 kilos. Interestingly, the tapping statement that I start with is the same one as your energy one in this post. It does work!

      1. Hi Vatsala,

        That’s great you’re committing to your health. Good for you.

        I’m glad my download continues to be helpful to you! Thank you for letting me know.

        I learned the Massaging the Heart technique about 20 years ago when I trained in Thought Field Therapy, an energy psychology modality. A man named Gary Craig simplified the tapping algorithms of Thought Field Therapy to create the Emotional Freedom Technique, also called Tapping. So, you’re right, the phrasing used above is similar to what is used with Tapping.

        Thank you for your comment and I wish you all the best.


  2. Dave

    In my conscious mind I absolutely am not afraid to lose weight. When I do temporarily I feel much better about myself and look better etc etc. I am not sure about the subconscious fears or if there is one around losing weight.

    Is it possible rather that something deeply hidden that might prevent me from losing weight that I get a high or a thrill of losing weight and then starting over to feel good again?

    Is that weird? I just can’t seem to go back and find what’s holding me back. It’s frustrating–I can say that as a child from a large family love and compassion and individual attention was absent. I would always go along to get along. No rocking the boat. Be seen and not heard.

    1. Diane Petrella

      Hi Dave,

      Thanks for commenting.

      It’s sometimes hard to know what, if any, subconscious fears and limiting beliefs get in someone’s way of releasing weight. But in my experience, when someone has struggled with weight loss for a long time, something deeper and hidden most likely is keeping them stuck.

      You pose an interesting question. If you’re repeating a pattern to help you “feel good again,” I’d wonder what keeps you from continuing to feel good, happy and content most of the time. From what you wrote about growing up without love, compassion and individual attention, I’d say that’s worth exploring. I’m sorry that was lacking for you when you were a child.

      Children need love, compassion and attention to thrive. That’s how they learn to love themselves and treat themselves with compassion. They do need to be seen and heard. Without knowing you personally, I’d say it’s possible you’re using food to comfort and soothe underlying sadness and loneliness that “little Dave” is still carrying inside.

      Perhaps the fear is giving up food as a source of comfort and not knowing how to cope with the resulting painful feelings that may emerge. Does that resonate with you, Dave?


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