If there’s one thing most of us have in common, it’s the need and effort to shed some pounds. When you look at the mind-boggling numbers for people who are overweight or obese, it’s no wonder Americans always seem to be struggling to lose weight.

We may not be aware of all the risks attached to being overweight, but we know we’re pushing the envelope when we push the numbers on the scale. And yet, most of us have the toughest time making a commitment to our health. And many of those who make it out of the gate at full speed still end up struggling to lose weight.

Why is that?

It’s important to realize that weight loss isn’t just a numbers game. It’s not even just a physical game. It’s also a mental and emotional game. And that piece of the puzzle — the “head” component — is a game-changer.

That’s why, in the SprintSet Energizing Weight Loss System, we consider the whole person. We teach you how to cleanse and heal your body and how to eat for a lifetime. Just as importantly, we teach you how to embrace the discovery of your healthiest self by meeting emotional eating and self-sabotage head-on. After all, when you are struggling to lose weight, you can be your own worst enemy.

So, what helpful tidbits of information can you put into your toolkit to help you come out the victor when you’re struggling to lose weight? Here are 5 essentials to keep in mind:

  1. Your reasons for losing weight matter. 

This is all about your “why.” It’s the difference between being pushed to the starting line by external motivation and social status, and marching yourself to the line because you’re after something deeper. 

Sure, most of us can recall more than a few times we have caught an unpleasant view of ourselves in the mirror. And that dissatisfaction, along with our favorite jeans sitting in a lonely corner of the closet, can be enough to make us say, “Enough!” 

But what’s going to keep you going when the scale doesn’t seem to be onboard with your intentions? And what’s going to make you adopt your new behaviors for a lifetime? 

The difference between weight loss for today and weight loss for life lies right at the core of you.

  1. Your approach to weight loss matters. 

If you are embarking on a weight-loss program because of a rude awakening in the mirror, you may be inclined to reach for a quick-fix program that promises to help you shed the pounds rapidly if you will only do xyz. 

But if you aren’t following a program that you actually enjoy, guess what? You will have a line of temptations out the door, offering you every palatable and easy reason to throw in the towel. 

Weight loss is dependent on both nutrition and activity, so finding a sustainable program with components you enjoy will make all the difference in success.

  1. Long-term vision matters. 

If you are checking days off the calendar so you can “get back to normal,” your mind isn’t in the game. 

A temporary mindset leads to deprivation. Sure, anyone can give up every forbidden temptation for a while, but that approach only leads to cravings and hunger. Instead of just withholding what isn’t good, you end up depriving your body of what is essential. 

When your body becomes confident that it can count on you to provide it with all it needs, it will allow you to stop struggling to lose weight.

  1. Hormones have their own agenda. 

Two hormones in particular come into play during weight loss. Leptin, which signals satiety, decreases during weight loss. And ghrelin, which increases hunger, increases. And those shifts can continue long after the pounds have come off. 

This is why pacing yourself is so important. Anything more than one to two pounds a week can mess with your metabolism and lead to muscle loss. 

  1. Aerobic and strength-building exercise are important. 

Muscle keeps the furnace burning, so don’t skip out on the weights because you’re afraid the scale won’t go down. Resistance work will help you burn the fat more quickly.

If you are struggling to lose weight, remember that it’s your whole self that is in the game. You are, in essence, an athlete in this unique effort. You have to show up physically, mentally and emotionally.

But you certainly don’t have to show up alone.