Protective Beliefs – Could They Be Holding You Back From Losing Weight? – Part 1

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By Dr George Blair-West

theroadupA path without obstacles is typically not worth the journey. The weight loss journey comes with obstacles aplenty. We have obstacles from friends and family, like wanting to ‘save us’ from the deprivations of a diet by tempting us with our favourite chocolates, cheese or cake.

As a medico and psychiatrist working in this field, the obstacles that I am most fascinated by, however, are the ones that we inflict on ourselves. I have spent more than a decade now exploring the minds of my patients looking to understand the myriad of ways in which we can all sabotage our weight loss without anyone’s help whatsoever! There are no forces more powerful in holding us back, than the ‘protective beliefs’ that populate our Mindset.


I define Mindset here as the attitudes and their underlying beliefs that we bring to (in this instance) the weight loss challenge. When you find yourself faced with a challenge – from riding a bike to going on the cabbage soup diet – the thoughts like ‘I can do that’ or ‘I can’t do that’ are simple examples of your Mindset at play. To paraphrase Henry Ford who knew the power of your Mindset more than most: Think you can, think you can’t – either way you’ll be right.

It’s like someone rocking up on the day of the marathon without having done any running practice over the weeks beforehand, to prepare for the big day. Time and time again, I see people launch into a new weight loss program without paying any attention to the Mindset they are bringing to the challenge. I believe this is a big factor behind the 80% failure rate that plagues the management of obesity.


Of the beliefs that make up your Mindset, perhaps the most powerful are those that create your own personal glass ceiling. In Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP – think Tony Robbins) they are called ‘limiting beliefs’, but this label does not convey the fullness of their power. I call them ‘protective beliefs’ because this helps us to understand their original purpose and why we need to both respect and manage them.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article shortly…..

– Dr George Blair-West is a medical doctor, psychiatrist and award-winning author. His first book was the bestselling Weight Loss for Food Lovers: Understanding our minds and why we sabotage our weight loss. You can find more on his latest work into Mindset and Motivation at