Are Your Beliefs Making you Fat?

Walking to the doctors’ office that day with her 12 year old daughter by her side, Belinda thought it would be the same old thing.


She needed to improve her diet, get more active, yeah, yeah, yeah.  There was no point really.  She had seen her mother spend most of her life dieting, and what had it done for her? Just made her fatter. Belinda knew she had no willpower, plus, she loved her precious food. Besides, they gave her a pill that took care of her Type 2 Diabetes. Adjust her dosage, and go home.

Belinda was smarter than most. She hadn’t even bothered dieting because she saw the yo-yo cycle of deprivation followed by excess all too clearly. Yet her perspective had an unfortunate side-effect.  She believed it was impossible for her to lose weight and keep it off so, she reasoned, there was no point in trying.

Belinda’s belief that she wasn’t capable of weight loss is common to so many veteran dieters. Jaded by too many frustrating attempts, they reason “why bother”. Even when they rustle up the motivation to try one more time, inside their heads is a little insistent voice that tells them this won’t last because…and a host of reasons follow, like it’s too hard, or you don’t deserve it, or you’ve never succeeded before, and besides, your mother is fat, your brother is fat and your goldfish is fat.

Her doctor looked very serious as she entered the room.  “Belinda” she said, “your medication is no longer working.  Your blood sugar is out of control and if you don’t lose weight and get active, your life is at risk. I recommend bariatric surgery”.  Belinda’s daughter burst into tears.  “What can we do to make you better Mommy?” she sobbed.  As a single mother, there was no one more important in Belinda’s life than her daughter, and no one who depended on her more.

Belinda was forced to seek solutions. Strolling through iTunes, she found a free audio podcast called “Inside Out Weight Loss”.  Listening immediately made her feel better. The reason diets don’t work, the podcast explained, is that a diet is the wrong tool for the job of lasting weight loss.  It’s as if you have a door covered by thick planks that have been screwed in either side.  You want to pass through the doorway, but all you have is a hammer, so you bang away.  You become exhausted, and make a mess of the wood, but you still can’t get through. Sweating, you pound and pound again, desperate to get to the other side, but still the planks hold fast.  Then someone comes and gives you a Philips screwdriver, showing you how to use it.  You unscrew the screws, and the planks easily release, one after another.  It’s so easy!

As these realizations sank in, Belinda started making small changes. She began walking and discovered she felt better when she moved.  Soon she discovered some exercises she found downright fun, like Stand Up Paddle Boarding. She began sharing these activities with her daughter, and created a virtuous cycle where doing a little made her feel so good she wanted to do more.

Today Belinda has reversed her diabetes and is completely off the medication. She has maintained a 70 lb. weight loss for over 3 years, and she and her daughter have become fitness buddies.  And it all began when she started to believe she could do it.

What limiting beliefs do you hold about yourself? Try this exercise to find out.  Complete the sentence “I can’t lose weight because________”. Then start to question that belief. You just might be capable of more than you realize.

Renee Stephens

Renee Stephens, PhD

Who is Renee Stephens?

Renée Stephens is on a mission to end the weight struggle by teaching the world to be naturally and easily slim, from the inside out. She is the author of “Full-Filled”, and the host of iTunes top weight loss podcast, Inside Out Weight Loss. You can find her at


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