Discover how to Overcome External Barriers to Weight Loss

What is an external barrier?

An external barrier is an outside influence that prevails us from achieving our goal.

Do you know which external barrier that people say is the number one reason they can not lose weight?

If you said "Time", you are right! When asked people say that with their hectic schedule – they simply do not have the time to exercise or to eat healthy.

According to the dictionary the meaning of the words:

External : being outside of something; acting or coming from without

Barrier : Anything that restrains or obstructs progress

At first glance we might think we have no control over external barriers. But the truth is with the proper tools and knowledge; any barrier can be overcome – If you are willing to do what it takes.

The most common external barriers to weight loss are Time, Lack of Support, Society and Money.


In today's society we tend to always be "running" somewhere. We seldom take time to stop and relax. Because we're always in a hurry we chose to run through the fast food drive through to cook.

Let me ask you ….

How often do you miss your favorite TV show?

When's the last time you missed something you really enjoy?

When's the last time you missed an important meeting or appointment?

If you're truthful with yourself the answer is "probably not very often".
If you stop and think about it, you'll find the time for anything that you really want to do.

The key is to make time to plan your day or week. The old saying "Fail to plan, Plan to fail" is very very true. You know your life better than anyone else does. Make losing weight a priority in your life and you will find the time.

When planning your week, schedule appointments with yourself for the following:

  • To exercise – this can be as simple as a 10 minute walk. Do not fall into the trap that you have to exercise for 30 straight minutes. Studies show 3 10 minute sessions are just as effective.
  • To prepare your meal plan for the upcoming week, and to portion out your servings
  • To have some much needed "Alone Time". Use your alone time for something special … a bubble bath, reading a book, a day at the spa …. What ever you enjoy.

Portion your food in serving sizes. The best time to do this is as soon as you get home from the store. When putting away your groceries, portion out veggies, crackers etc in baggies. This way when you're in hurry and running out the door you can grab something healthy to eat on your way. Always keep fresh fruit handy, it's one of the best "grab and go" foods you can find

To lose weight you do not need to have a gourmet cook or spend hours in the kitchen. You can bake or barbeque steak, chicken, hamburgers etc and portion them out for dinners. That way during the week when you're short on time, just reheat the meat, add a salad or frozen vegetables and some mashed potatoes or brown rice. In less than 15 minutes you can be sitting down to a great home cooked meal. You probably spend that much time in line at your favorite drive through.

If you absolutely hate to cook, you have three options:

  1. Buy prepackaged foods at the grocery store
  2. Subscribe to a meal delivery service like Jenny Craig
  3. Study all the nutrition information from your favorite fast food and sit down restaurants. Know what your options are and you can choose the healthiest options available.

Only eat foods you like. Become aware of what you are eating. Savor the food. Know you are eating to live. If you're eating "just because it's there" then stop. When you eat slowly and are aware of the actual process of eating, you'll soon discover that you enjoy your food more and it takes less to satisfy you.

You'll be surprised at how little effort is required to eat healthy when you have taken the time to plan and prepare.

Lack of support

Losing weight can be extremely difficult if you're trying to do it alone. It's important to have people that understand what you're going through. Someone that you can talk to that will listen to your fears and concerns.

A good friend or spouse may be supportive. Sometimes their support can actually be barriers. Your spouse or friend may think that you will change if you lose the weight and might subconsciously sabotage your efforts.

Be sure your family and friends understand your goals and your reasons for wanting to lose weight. Tell them exactly what you need from them to be supportive.

Do you need gentle reassurance such as "I know you can do it".

Do you need reminders "Is not it time that you take your walk?"

Do you need a bully "Is that on your diet?

Know what is going to motivate you and what might set you back.

Do you prefer group support? Support groups like Weight Watchers or Tops may be helpful for you.

If you do not like interacting in person or there are no support groups close to your home, then you may want to consider an online meeting. One of the best benefits of online meetings is that you can remain anonymous to a certain extent. It may be easier to open up to strangers. Also you can hang out, read and learn without the fear of being forced to participate. Studies show that online support groups are just as effective as live support groups.

Find a buddy. It's always easier to exercise and stay on your weight loss plan when a spouse or friend is doing it with you.


It seems that everything we do in our society is centered on food. If you're hosting a celebration of any kind – birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, holidays etc, your main concern is probably "What will I serve?"

At work, anytime someone retires, gets promoted, has a birthday, or there's any kind of holiday … What happens? You celebrate with food and have a potluck or a dinner party.

Our family and friends are always pushing food. "Have another plate of spaghetti". "Have another piece of dessert." etc. We want their acceptance – so what do we do? We eat.

Our family and friends do influence our weight. Keep this in mind and learn to tell them simply … "It is delicious but I simply can not eat another bite."

This is where planning comes in again. Eat a small salad or drink a can of V8 juice prior to going to these functions. This will help you to eat less.

If you're in charge of the food or even if you're just brining a dish, bring something you can eat. Fill up on the lower calorie foods and enjoy a taste of higher calorie foods. Allow yourself only one plate.


"Losing weight is expensive" is one of the largest diet myths there is. It's only expensive if you make it that way. There's nothing saying you have to join a gym, or expensive support groups or buy expensive foods.

Tops (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) is a great weight loss support group with a membership fee of $ 24. / year. Compare that to Weight Watchers which costs approximately $ 12. / week.

Meal delivery services or prepackaged food at the grocery stores can be less expensive than eating out every day.

When you shop wisely healthy food is not much more expensive than the junk food you've been buying.

Stop making excuses and begin planning for success today.