What is Really Holding You Back? 

by | Feb 14, 2023

I was thinking about how I can help you overcome any obstacles that are in your way? 

What is really holding you back? 

I know with weight loss, sometimes we think what’s holding us back is: 

  • I don’t have enough time. 
  • I need a better workout. 
  • I need different macros.

That’s where our brain goes, because we spent so much time dieting. 

What is really holding you back isn’t that you don’t have the right diet or the right workout or the right sneakers or the right water bottle. It’s something underneath that.

  • It’s the way that we are thinking.
  • The way that we are feeling.
  • The way that we are showing up for ourselves in our lives.

I feel kinda clever today because as I was writing down some of the things that I think are actually holding you back from your weight loss goals, and the life and body you want, the words that came up all neatly fit into the acronym.


You probably see that it’s I Don’t Give a F*ck. This makes perfect sense!

What happens when we are working on our weight loss and we’re struggling? 

  • We’re stuck. 
  • We’re not feeling it. 
  • We feel like we’re failing. 
  • We don’t believe we can achieve it. 

Inevitably we get to the place where we say, “I don’t give a f*ck. I’m done. I’m out. I quit. I don’t care.” This will make total sense. You don’t want to be there and I don’t want you to be there either. 

  • Not because you’re weak.
  • Not because you don’t have willpower.
  • Not because you’re not smart enough. 

But because the human brain is just really built for our own survival, our brain can’t do a lot of things simultaneously. 

Spoiler alert: the A from I don’t give a f*ck, is anxiety. 

If I’m feeling anxious, I’m feeling my heart rate start to go up and tightness in the chest or throat. Or I feel like my stomach has sunk. I’m feeling physically anxious. It’s really hard for me to also be prioritizing weight loss, right? Those things kind of don’t go hand in hand. 

Our brains have to make decisions all the time about what’s a priority and what’s not a priority. 

We want to identify some of the obstacles that could be holding you back from your weight loss. Then you get to look at one, or all, of these and decide for yourself. 

How is my brain indulging in some of these things that are keeping me from getting where I want to go? 

Ultimately, we’re all going to get to that place of “I don’t give a f*ck” when we’re really worn down or tired.

I is for Indecision. 

This is an interesting one, especially as women in our 40s and 50s. If you’ve been walking around with the thoughts of:

  • I need to lose weight, 
  • I want to lose weight, 
  • I should lose weight, 
  • I need to be smaller, 
  • I should weigh less, 
  • I shouldn’t weigh this, 
  • I shouldn’t be so big,

All of these things around weight loss yet, none of those are really a decision to lose weight. Those are all just sort of wishing and wanting, hoping and trying and negative self talk. I’m not really deciding. 

I’ll give you an example of how this plays out in different aspects. 

Is the way you approach weight loss the same way you would approach talking to your kids or in the workplace or in your relationship or with your finances?  When we can look at it in a different sort of segment, it becomes clearer. 

For me, in my business, one of the things that I’ve been thinking about for a long time is adding to the team. Hiring more people and specifically looking for high level fitness executives who come from a corporate fitness background. 

Guess why it’s never happened? I never really decided to do it. I talked about it. I thought about it. I wished. I hoped. But I didn’t decide to do it. Until I decided, it didn’t happen. 

If that is happening for you, in your life, with your weight loss, or anything else that you want to accomplish……have you actually made a decision?

Here’s the thing. Indecision takes up a lot of brain space, it takes up a lot of time. Having all of these thoughts go in and out of your head is tiring. It does bring us to “I don’t give a f*ck.” 

I’ve been thinking about this all day and I’ve been using the:

  • I need to lose weight, 
  • I should lose weight, 
  • I should weigh less, 
  • I should be smaller, 

To guide everything I’ve put in my mouth for the day. I’m kind of worn out. 

If I make a decision that I am going to lose weight:

  • This is what I’m going to do. 
  • This is you know the plan, 
  • This is how I’m going to carry it forward. 
  • This is how I’m going to assess it.

That is very different. 

Ask yourself, is your indecisiveness holding you back?

D is for Drama. 

One of the things I find my own brain indulging in all the time is drama. 

I had a coach once ask me if I had considered using an urge jar for drama. I’ve talked about an urge jar in other episodes. It’s just a clear jar you put in shiny glass beads or rocks or something like that for every time you have an urge to indulge. Usually the urges to indulge in chocolate chip cookies or wine or whatever you have at night. That urge to indulge. 

I have a lot of urges to indulge in drama. Some of it is drama outside of myself. Other people, other things. Life is lifee and we get to a place where we start to think other things outside of us have a bigger effect on us in reality. 

We think, I would have a less dramaful and a more peaceful existence if: 

  • Other people and other things would be different. 
  • That person would stop bothering me. 
  • That person would stop calling me. 
  • This got resolved and that got resolved.
  • This person stayed in their lane then I would be free to move on to do my thing. 

In reality, it is our own brains and our own thoughts that create that drama. They keep us stuck.

I see a lot of this play out in weight loss. 

We get really caught up in the drama of: 

  • I’m addicted to sugar or carbs
  • I need this diet
  • I have to be keto
  • I need new macros. 

It’s so much drama that we never actually make any progress. We’re always looking externally as to what the problem is. 

I can’t lose weight because:

  • I don’t have the right plan
  • The protein macros are wrong
  • I need a different water bottle

All of the things. I get it. I’m a huge drama queen. I have those moments where I say, “you know how to end the drama is to make a decision to end the drama.” 

Going back to the letter i and move forward. Make the decision. Decide that I’m not going to indulge in that. It frees up a lot of headspace. It also takes back your personal power. 

When we’re indulging in a lot of drama around food, diets, the scale and why it’s not working we put ourselves in a place of powerlessness.

G is for Guilt. 

Guilt is an interesting feeling. Sometimes we say it’s coming from someone else or some other thing. Like mom guilt or daughter guilt. Your parents make you feel guilty, or your kids make you feel guilty for leaving to go work out. 

In truth the feeling of guilt is coming from ourselves. It comes from our own thoughts.

Things like:

  • I should be a better mom.
  • I’m not a good mom, if I go and workout.
  • I’m not a good daughter, if I don’t call my dad every day.
  • I’m not a good daughter, if I don’t do this. 
  • I’m not a good co-worker.
  • I’m not good enough, if I don’t do XYZ. 

We carry a lot of guilt about who we are, or are not, and what we’re supposed to be. 

We think that it’s coming from outside of ourselves. Other people don’t understand me or I’m not doing it right. All of these things that make us feel not good enough. 

When we’re feeling guilty, and not good enough, it is very hard to lose weight. 

If you do carry a lot of guilt, get a pen and paper and figure out what thoughts are driving it. You’re not alone if you start to think that the feelings of guilt are coming from other people, but they’re not. They’re coming from your thoughts and that’s a beautiful thing. We can take hold of that. We can see where guilt could be in the way of our weight loss. 

A lot of times women feel very guilty about:

  • Not losing weight. 
  • Not losing weight fast enough. 
  • Spending time, energy and money on themselves, their workouts, gym membership, or coaching program. 

I have a lot of women who want help, but don’t want to say yes, because they feel so guilty. 

They feel like they can’t take money for themselves because that would take away from their kids’ college fund. When in fact, I don’t think your kids are not going to go to college because you spend money on yourself. It’s something to look at. 

I’ve joked about this in the past, my kids will have brand new clothes, brand new sneakers, brand new everything. While I’m wearing workout pants from 2009. 

That’s that quintessential mom guilt. “I can’t possibly spend any money on myself. I don’t deserve that.” 

That’s not true. 

It’s a thought I have and I can choose to think it or I could choose not to. Ultimately we all get to spend time, energy and money how we want. I have to tell you, nobody benefits when you hold yourself back because you feel like you don’t deserve it. Like you’re not worthy of investing your time, energy and money in yourself. Nobody benefits. Nobody. 

  • There is no child that does better in life because you walk around feeling guilty. 
  • There is no business that thrives because you walk around feeling guilty. 
  • There is no relationship that excels because you walk around feeling guilty for not being good enough.

It doesn’t work that way.

A is for Anxiety. 

If you are someone who suffers from chronic anxiety, you definitely need to get help. This is not me saying anxiety is just coming from your thoughts, and you should be a big girl, put your big girl panties on and stop feeling anxious. 

I think we all feel anxious at different times. 

I know that for me personally, there have been times in my life where I had full on crippling anxiety attacks. I remember having an anxiety attack driving my car. I was in terrible traffic so I felt super trapped and I couldn’t go anywhere. I couldn’t pull off the road. I thought, “I’m going to die.” My anxiety attacks were that severe. 

Now looking back, when I had some of my anxiety attacks, I do notice some themes. When I assess and evaluate some of those times in my life. I probably could pinpoint a few things. If you’re someone who maybe doesn’t take a multivitamin, maybe you have a B 12 deficiency. 

When my anxiety attacks first started, it was at a point in my life that I was…..I’ll call it a vegetarian. Really I was having a major eating disorder. I was not getting any animal protein. I wasn’t getting a lot of calories. I think I was having anxiety attacks sparked by a nutritional void. 

We can have anxiety attacks for a lot of different reasons. Essentially, anxiety is being worried about something that has an uncertain outcome. 

In the last couple of years, I think all of our anxiety has probably been a little bit higher. We’ve been through a lot with the pandemic and all the things that came with it.

Coaching yourself through anxiety is important. When we are feeling anxious and we are not just occupied in the brain, but maybe you’re feeling it and other parts of your body:

  • Your heart is racing. 
  • Your chest is tight.
  • Your throat is tight. 

When we’re at that level of physical sensation, our brain is really going to pay a lot of attention to “I need to solve this physical problem. We’re in danger, we’re going to die.” Nothing else matters.

It’s very easy to get to “I don’t give a f*ck” when I have those feelings of anxiety. 

If you are suffering from anxiety attacks, or anxiety is eating up a lot of your thoughts and feelings, and it feels like it is in the way of your everyday life, get help for that. 

If there’s just this anxiety that you indulge in that looks like:

  • I don’t want to start working out because I probably will get hurt.
  • I don’t know about starting that program, diet or plan or work with that person.
  • I’m afraid I’ll fail, I’ll probably fail.
  • I don’t know if it’ll work. 

Then I would go a little bit deeper there. 

It’s normal to have anxiety. Anxiety isn’t always bad. Anxiety is letting you know that something is at stake. That there’s something important that you want and you’re going to do your best to get the outcome. 

There are things that are uncertain, life has always been uncertain. We can’t know and control everything. That is normal. 

We could go down that road. We can go and spend a lot of time in the what ifs. What if it doesn’t work out? What if it does work out? The brain can be scared about both things. 

Be aware if that is something that is plaguing you, and possibly holding you back from getting ultimately what you want. Whether that is to:

  • Lose weight.
  • Lose body fat. 
  • Be more toned. 
  • Be healthier. 
  • Feel more fit. 
  • Have more energy.

If you’re being held back by any of these, ask yourself:

  • What’s going on here? 
  • Where’s the problem here? 
  • What is what is so wrong about not knowing the outcome? 
  • Why do you want to read the last chapter of the book? 
  • Why do you want to know? 

We can’t know. That’s the beautiful thing. As much as we would love life to be like a fairy tale, “and they lived happily ever after,” sometimes we don’t know. That is, okay. 

We’re going to focus right now on what we can do. So by the end of the day I don’t get to, “I don’t give a f*ck” anymore. When your brain and your body is just too tired to deal, right. 

F is for Fear.

Fear is normal. If you don’t have any fear, then there’s something wrong with you. It is something your brain is always on the lookout for. 

I’ve mentioned this many times before, but the motivational triad really has our brain looking out on these three paths. 

1) Reward. That is why certain foods are super delicious. Drinking wine can be so hard to resist. All of these things where your brain feels almost like a runaway train, when it comes doing anything pleasurable. You can thank your neurotransmitter dopamine for that.

2) Danger. The brain is very equipped to be looking for danger. Always looking for anything that could harm us or kill us. 

3) Change. Brains don’t really like change. They are very suspicious of change. Anything that doesn’t seem normal, or in the right order, or in the right place. Our brain is trying to keep us from failing, but it’s impossible to keep yourself from failing. 

Remember being a kid? Part of learning and growing up are lessons around failing. 

Lots of little fails. 

  • Not winning the softball game. 
  • Not getting a Valentine.
  • Not being asked to prom. 
  • Not getting perfect grades. 
  • Not getting into the college of your choice. 

If we let fear run our lives, we obviously can’t win. We can’t be successful. We can’t have the other side. 

I know that fear stands in a lot of people’s way. Sometimes even just fear of, if I did lose weight, and I was in a different size and a different body; 

  • What would that mean? 
  • What if my friends didn’t like me? 
  • What if I was actually somebody different?

I’m just asking you to take the risk to find out, just like you would coach a child or a co-worker or a best friend. 

Don’t let fear stand in your way of being in the life and body that you ultimately want. 


If achieving your weight loss goals and the life and body you want seems unattainable, there is probably a reason why. But it’s probably not what you think.

It’s not that you don’t have the right diet, the right workout, the right sneakers, or the right water bottle.

It’s something actually buried deep underneath all that. ‘ So- what is it that is really holding you back?

Well…it is actually in the way that we are thinking and feeling and the way that we are showing up for ourselves in our lives.

I came up with a little acronym for some of the possibilities, I.D.G.A.F.

You can probably see that it’s also the acronym for I don’t give a f*ck. And this makes perfect sense.

Let’s explore the elements that are holding you back and figure out what those letters stand for in episode 32 of the Unf*k Your Weight Loss podcast, now!


Bonnie Lefrak is a Life & Body Transformation Expert and Founder of Self Made, a program designed to help you tackle the physical aspects of health and weight loss as well as the beliefs and thoughts that drive our habits and behaviors. It is her goal to help women create certainty in their own lives, their own results, and their own abilities.

Weight loss is not about the one “right” diet – it is about MUCH more than that. Weight loss is not about the one “right” workout. Weight loss is not about being positive and putting a big smile on. Weight loss is about FEELINGS. All of them. Not trying to bury them or hide from them but knowing and allowing the full human experience.

Weight loss is not about grinding hustling and will powering your way to some end line. Transformation (when done well) is done from the inside out.

By addressing both the physical and mental aspects of dieting and weight loss, she has coached thousands of women ages 30-55+ from all over and helped them ditch the mindsets that are holding them back, achieve permanent weight loss, and get the bangin’ body of their dreams.

Bonnie is an expert at Demystifying weight loss. She helps you unf*ck your diet brain.

She is on a mission to help women love themselves, to find PEACE in the process of losing weight, taking care of themselves, and leveraging the power they do have to become who and want they want right now.

Connect with Bonnie-

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