Stress, Emotions, Weight Gain - OH MY!

We all know there are so many barriers to losing weight and meeting your fitness goals.  Women have to juggle family schedules, work, PTA, sports activities and home maintenance.  Some also have to be caretakers to their children and their adult parents.

On top of all the day to day realities women also have to battle changing hormones, undiagnosed illnesses, pre-diabetes and inflammation as well as lower back issues, knee pain, frozen shoulders or chronic neck pain.

Between all of these issues women are expected to be able to make their body transform into a lean, toned figure because after all the solution really is simple.

The formula requires eating well 80% of the time while getting in a reasonable form of exercise 2-3x per week preferably in some form of resistance training and getting your nutrient needs met so your body stays healthy and well balanced.

That doesn’t sound too hard – does it? Then why is it so hard to get into a good rhythm and make progress?

Why is it so hard for so many women to make what is really a simple solution to a common problem become routine and a lifestyle?

Why does losing weight seem so evasive? And more importantly why when we are making progress do we mentally self sabotage ourselves?

What we have found is that even though we may know all the metabolic issues our clients may be facing that make weight loss very difficult (such as autoimmune diseases, pre-diabetes, inflammation, etc.) and we may know all the physical mobility issues that impede effective training while devising a plan to conquer these issues so our clients have a smoother road to reaching their weight loss goals – the one factor that gets in the way time and time again is the inability to handle EMOTIONAL STRESSORS and NEGATIVE EMOTIONS.


How many times do we hear:

  1. I fell off the wagon - it's been a tough week.
  2. Life has been crazy this week - I just haven't been able to get my workouts in.
  3. I have been eating so clean - I just felt like I deserved a treat.
  4. I've been so busy at work I haven't had time to eat and then by the end of the day I was so hungry and stressed I couldn't stop eating the Cheez- It's!
  5. I just haven't been motivated to work out!
  6. I feel like I am losing my focus and just don't FEEL like doing this.
  7. I am bored with my food.
  8. I don't really like eating those types of foods.
  9. I don't want to feel deprived.
  10. I have been so overwhelmed and when I get stressed I.....(binge, give up, get off track, etc.). 

This mindset is enough to derail the BEST LAID PROGRAM because so much damage can be done simply by engaging in self-sabotaging behaviors.

A survey, conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, asked more than 1,300 licensed psychologists how they dealt with clients’ weight and weight loss challenges. When asked which strategies were essential to losing weight and keeping it off, psychologists cited "understanding and managing the behaviors and emotions related to weight management" as essential for addressing weight loss with their clients (44 percent). Survey respondents also cited “emotional eating” (43 percent) as a barrier to weight loss, and included "maintaining a regular exercise schedule" (43 percent) and "making proper food choices in general" (28 percent) as keys to shedding pounds. In general, gaining self-control over behaviors and emotions related to eating were both key, indicating that the two go together.

We have to learn to be very aware of our:

  • patterns
  • self talk
  • coping skills (or lack of)
  • slippery slopes/triggers
  • mindset
  • attitude

Then we have to develop a plan to handle all of this and cope in a more effective and less SELF DESTRUCTIVE manner.  This is what will create success.

One simple derogatory comment from a co-worker or spouse can easily strengthen the voice that makes you self-sabotage.

Addressing the fragility of your emotions and being 100% honest with how you are really feeling while learning to quiet the thoughts that do not serve us best is a start.

That’s why it's called “stinkin’ thinkin’ ” and it's so very hard to be alone with ourselves when we are engaging in STINKING THINKING.




We change when our habits change.  Try applying some of these tools when you know you are self-sabotaging or when your mindset is spiraling downwards.

  1. Drown out negative thoughts by listening to podcasts, audio books, motivational speeches that give the message of the opposite of what your thoughts are saying.  For example, if you are overwhelmed find something that speaks about staying in the moment, taking it one step at a time, letting go, staying calm, etc.  Learning to change your thoughts is a skill that needs to be practiced and sometimes if we listen to our own tape that plays in our head we find that we are not making progress.  But if we purposely work at changing our mental tape eventually we will notice that our self talk becomes more empowering and less destructive.
  2. Avoid engaging with the "Negative Nellie's" or the "Debbie Downers".  Protect your environment and protect who has access to your mind via conversation.  Surround yourself those who have qualities that you WANT not qualities you don't want.  It's one thing to help people/friends/family when they are struggling but there is a percentage of the population who frankly just don't want to change and would rather complain.  Avoid this type of company at all costs!
  3. Create a vision board!  Because if you can see it you can achieve it.  Remind yourself of what you WANT instead of thinking about what you DON'T want.

I worked daily to change my thoughts through journaling, vision boards, mantras, quotes, etc. and ANYTHING that served as a reminder of how I SHOULD be thinking.

You can do the same but it takes doing things DIFFERENTLY for you to change your ways.

While you begin using techniques to address your negative thoughts you also have to avoid GIVING IN TO YOUR EMOTIONS because FEELINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS FACT.

  • So when you don’t “feel like” working out – GO WORKOUT.     
  • When you don’t “feel like” getting up – GET OUT OF BED.     
  • When you don’t “feel like” putting down the chips, cookies or wine – PUT IT DOWN.     
  • When you don’t “feel like” meeting your macros – MEET THEM.

Lastly, do yourself a favor – make yourself a MINIMUM BASELINE RULE for yourself that you absolutely no matter what will not go below unless you are in a situation where you truly cannot hold your commitment to yourself (ex: illness, injury, family extreme emergency, arm fell off or bleeding from every pore). 

For me it’s getting my allotted amount of protein in and getting some sort of workout in minimum 4 days per week NO MATTER WHAT even if all I do is core and leg circles on the floor in my living room.

Lastly, avoid the DEFINITION OF INSANITY which is doing the same thing again and again while expecting a different result.

If you want something different to happen – DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT.

You will be glad you did.  I promise!

Then it’s simple – RINSE AND REPEAT.


(n.d.). Retrieved September 9, 2018, from


CASE STUDY:  How Lisa Finally Stopped Yo-Yo Dieting

PCOS WEIGHT GAIN:  What do you need to do to lose weight?

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