Lisa Goldberg: “Identify your limiting beliefs that you have when it comes to weight loss”

Limiting beliefs are beliefs that we have that we believe to be true that limits us in some way. Beliefs aren’t facts. Our limiting beliefs often lead to our own self-sabotage. Our brains look for the evidence of what we believe to be true and out brains believe what we tell it the most. So […]

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Limiting beliefs are beliefs that we have that we believe to be true that limits us in some way. Beliefs aren’t facts. Our limiting beliefs often lead to our own self-sabotage. Our brains look for the evidence of what we believe to be true and out brains believe what we tell it the most.

So many of us have tried dieting. All too often though, many of us lose 10–20 pounds, but we end up gaining it back. Not only is yo-yo dieting unhealthy, it is also demoralizing and makes us feel like giving up. What exactly do we have to do to achieve a healthy body weight and to stick with it forever?

In this interview series called “5 Things You Need To Do To Achieve A Healthy Body Weight And Keep It Permanently” we are interviewing health and wellness professionals who can share lessons from their research and experience about how to do this.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lisa Goldberg.

Lisa Goldberg, MS, CNS, CDN is a Nutritionist and Weight Loss Coach with a Masters Degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. Lisa has been coaching clients since 2001 and focuses her coaching on mindset change, mindful eating and habit and behavior change. Lisa teaches her clients how to break their old patterns of behavior around food and eating so that they can end their struggle with emotional eating that leads to yo-yo dieting. Her clients create sustainable mindset and lifestyle changes that empowers them to change their relationship with food, and with themselves, so that they can lose unwanted weight for good.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

Thank you so much for inviting me.

My story with food, weight and dieting started when I was 18. I began to struggle with my weight as soon as I got to college. I gained 20 pounds in the first two months. Going out for drinks every night, the late-night eating and the dining hall food really took its toll on me. Fancy sweatpants being the rage in the 80’s didn’t help my waistline either. The first time I saw my mom again at Thanksgiving, she actually said to me “what the heck happened to you!”. That’s when my journey with fad diets and yo-yo dieting began. I can’t tell you how many times I lost the weight only to gain it all back again. I had never felt so miserable, unhappy and self-conscious in my body. It took about 10 years for me to actually make lasting lifestyle and mindset changes that has allowed me to keep the weight off to this day.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

My desire to help others attain a healthy lifestyle is what facilitated my career. In the early 90’s, I began to work in the fitness industry as a personal trainer. My clients often asked questions about diet and nutrition. That work inspired me to go on and pursue my Masters in Nutrition. I had considered it as an undergraduate when I gained all the weight, but as a 19-year old, the thought of biochemistry and organic chemistry made me change my mind. At 29, I decided I would go for it despite the sciences.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

I would have to say that this person was my dad. He was an entrepreneur and I got my work ethic from him. I believe that I got my ability to persevere from watching the ups and downs from having your own business. I watched him get up early in the morning and come home late and night. He loved what he did. He was a chandelier manufacturer and he took a lot of pride in his work.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

I would say the mistake that I made when I first started out was following the traditional nutrition counseling route where I focused my nutrition counseling on calories, protein and carbs. While this is what I learned when I was in school for my degree, I was missing the whole psychological/emotional component which is what needs to be incorporated when it comes to lasting weight loss. I realized I was reinforcing what the dieting industry was putting out there by just focusing on changing the food that you eat. When I first started working with clients after I got my degree, it seemed like many of my clients asked the same question, “what can I eat after dinner”. My reply was always, “if you just ate your dinner, why do you want to eat more”? This is what got me thinking about habit vs hunger and the behaviors that really needed to change. I then began to pursue additional education in regard to mindset, habit and behavior change.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

Everything Happens for a Reason. I have believed this throughout my personal and professional life. It helps me have a positive attitude even when something feels negative. It’s helped me not to stay in regret or frustration. I know there is a good reason that will come out of the circumstance. In my heart I know there is something better waiting. I have to just wait for the signs for what is to come next.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I have created an online group weight loss program called What Are You Really Hungry For. By working with a group I get to help a lot more people and it gives women community. When people struggle with emotional eating they feel so isolated and alone. I believe it helps them to see that they are not the only ones who struggle and it’s awesome to see them support each other. This program focuses on doing what I call the ‘inside work’. It covers not just mindset, habit and behavior change, but also self-care, self-love, self-worth and self-esteem. This is critical to losing weight and keeping the weight off for good.

For the benefit of our readers, can you briefly let us know why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field?

I have spent over 20 years as a trainer, nutritionist and weight loss coach. I have the ability to understand how a person who has been dieting their whole life thinks. They have what I call ‘the dieter’s mentality’. My clients have pointed to their head and asked me “are you in there?”. I understand that what they need to change are their old self-sabotaging behavior patterns and their thinking. I offer them the tools to create this change. I also understand what their expectations are when it comes to weight loss and I gently help them manage those expectations.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about achieving a healthy body weight. Let’s begin with a basic definition of terms so that all of us are on the same page. How do you define a “Healthy Body Weight”?

I feel that this question has more than one answer. There are the height weight charts that determine healthy body weight which I lean towards over BMI. I also think a healthy body weight is the weight where you feel good in the skin that you are living in even if it doesn’t match the charts. There are plenty of people who carry extra weight and all the numbers on a blood test are normal. My feeling is that as long as they feel good about themselves and the skin they are living in, they are at a good weight for their body.

How can an individual learn what is a healthy body weight for them? How can we discern what is “too overweight” or what is “too underweight”?

This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to expressly articulate this. Can you please share a few reasons why being over your healthy body weight, or under your healthy body weight, can be harmful to your health? Being overweight can be harmful to your health because obesity leads to chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, all of which can cause heart disease. Often times people determine a healthy body weight based on their height and weight. These numbers don’t take into account people who are fit and muscular. Muscle shows up on the scale and it doesn’t mean you are overweight. The danger of being underweight is that you can be at risk for bone loss, nutrient deficiencies and for women they can lose their menstrual cycle.

In contrast, can you help articulate a few examples of how a person who achieves and maintains a healthy body weight will feel better and perform better in many areas of life?

When people achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, the physical changes I notice are that they have more energy, their sleep is better and overall they feel better because they feel lighter in their body. The biggest changes psychologically and emotionally are that people exude more confidence about how they look and who they are; generally feel happier.

Ok, fantastic. Here is the main question of our discussion. Can you please share your “5 Things You Need To Do To Achieve a Healthy Body Weight And Keep It Permanently?”. If you can, please share a story or an example for each.

5 Things You Need to Do to Achieve and Maintain a Healthy Body Weight

I believe that you need to do the “inside” work before you can have lasting results on the outside.

The process for lasting weight loss begins by acknowledging the connection between your head, your heart, and your stomach.

1. Become aware of the habits, behaviors and mindset (your thinking) around food and eating that has you becoming overweight to begin with.

A habit is something you do without thinking. Our brains are wired for habit. Your actions/behaviors will always follow your thoughts.

Start to notice:

Do you eat when you are hungry and stop when you are content vs stuffed?

Do you snack after dinner? If you do, are you physically hungry?

Do you graze through the kitchen when you are bored?

Do you emotionally eat?

Often times when people eat due to emotional triggers, they use food to stuff feelings down of fill feelings up.

2. Adhere to the 80/20 rule. Eat healthy, whole unprocessed foods for 80% of your meals and snacks and 20% for what I call “indulgences” which are the foods that you love that taste so good but are not so healthy. If you eat well most of the time, you can eat a little unhealthy some of the time and it won’t prevent you from losing weight or cause you to gain weight. You have to adopt a way of eating that is sustainable for the long-term. This is why diets don’t work. You can’t restrict or deprive your way to weight loss or the weight will always find its way back again.

I had one client who indulged in having an ice cream cone every Friday with her family and she still lost 50lbs in six months.

3. Change your Dieter’s Mentality.

People who have lived their life going on and off a diet have what I call the Dieter’s Mentality or the Dieter’s Mindset. They have adopted a very black and white way of thinking when it comes to losing weight. They have thoughts such as:

I was ‘good’ today or I was ‘bad ‘today.

I was good on my diet all day so therefore I can eat those cookies.

I had a hard day so I deserve to eat ‘this’.

I wasn’t perfect on my diet so because I already ‘blew it’ I may as well keep on eating. I’ll be better tomorrow.

You get the picture. It’s this way of thinking that causes them to stay on the diet rollercoaster and yo-yo dieting.

4. Identify your limiting beliefs that you have when it comes to weight loss.

Limiting beliefs are beliefs that we have that we believe to be true that limits us in some way. Beliefs aren’t facts. Our limiting beliefs often lead to our own self-sabotage. Our brains look for the evidence of what we believe to be true and out brains believe what we tell it the most.

Some examples of limiting beliefs when it comes to weight loss are:

I’ll fail anyway so why even try.

I’ll never lose this weight.

It’s easier for others but it’s hard for me.

I don’t have the time to prepare healthy food.

Some subconscious beliefs that stand in the way of lasting weight loss are:

I’m not good enough.

I am not deserving or I don’t deserve to have this.

I have to struggle to succeed.

When you recognize these beliefs are not true and real and you learn to create new and empowering beliefs, you change your thoughts and therefore can change your actions and behaviors that lead to more positive results.

5. Identify if you are an emotional eater.

Emotional eating is an obstacle that stands in the way of lasting weight loss and is often the cause for weight gain or re-gain.

Get connected to how you are feeling. Are you hungry, angry, tired, lonely, sad, bored? Once you are clear that you are not physically hungry, identify what are the feelings you are trying to distract from. These feelings make you uncomfortable and you are using food or alcohol to distract from those emotions. Learn to get comfortable in the discomfort. Feelings come and go like waves in the ocean. If you hang tight, the feelings will pass. You can also find what I call PLAN B- an activity that will give you the relief or distraction you are looking for that doesn’t involve food.

The emphasis of this series is how to maintain an ideal weight for the long term, and how to avoid yo-yo dieting. Specifically, how does a person who loses weight maintain that permanently and sustainably?

How you lost the weight is how you have to continue eating to maintain the weight you lose. This is why fad diets never work. When you lose weight, you have to stay connected to WHY you wanted to lose weight to begin with. You have to stay connected with how you feel at your healthier weight and stay connected to eating because you are physically- and not emotionally hungry. You have to not be willing to trade in how you feel in your body for food for which you aren’t even hungry. This is what most people lose sight of after they lose weight. You also have to eat healthy whole unprocessed food 80% of the time and develop and regular exercise routine. It’s about making true mindset and lifestyle changes. You have to have an I CAN mindset. Unlike many nutritionists and coaches, I believe that weighing yourself only 1x a week helps you maintain the weight loss. I have seen too many clients who have been in denial about their weight gain and before they know it, they have put on 20, 30 or 40+ pounds. In order to sanely maintain your weight, you have to give yourself some leeway of about 4–5 pounds. When you are at the top of your range, you need to be mindful about what and how much food you are putting in your mouth. Mindless or emotional eating will cause the number to creep up. You want to make sure it doesn’t get too far North so it stays manageable and you are not heading back to square one.

What are a few of the most common mistakes you have seen people make when they try to lose weight? What errors cause people to just snap back to their old unhealthy selves? What can they do to avoid those mistakes?

The biggest mistakes I see people make when they want to lose weight is to go on some kind of diet that is not sustainable. They cut out everything they love and then tend to binge on what they’ve denied themselves from eating. Typically, what I have found that sets people back is a stressful or difficult life event. What I call “life’s curveballs, we don’t see them coming. These events lead people to fall back into their old eating behaviors or their emotional eating comfort zone. They have trained themselves to believe that the food will make them feel better so they fall back into old habits. They can avoid these mistakes by 1) finding a routine way of eating that feels and tastes good and is sustainable for the long-term, and 2) manage their mindset. Stay connected to the fact the food won’t solve the problem or take away the bad or uncomfortable feelings; in fact, the food (which is usually unhealthy, processed food) will only make them feel worse.

How do we take all this information and integrate it into our actual lives? The truth is that we all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

Great question! Most people are gatherers of information when it comes to weight loss but do nothing with that information. The main blockage is your own mindset and thinking. I can’t tell you how many times someone who is thinking about working with me will say, “I know what to do but I’m just not doing it”. If people would listen to what they are saying to themselves they will see why they are stuck. They will most likely hear thoughts such as:

“I will start tomorrow”

“I’ll do it later”

“I will start after vacation” (or some other event)

“I will probably just fail again so why bother”

In order to finally put what you learn/read into practice you have to make a new decision and make it a non-negotiable. And then just start…no more tomorrow’s.

On the flip side, how can we prevent these ideas from just being trapped in a rarified, theoretical ideal that never gets put into practice? What specific habits can we develop to take these intellectual ideas and integrate them into our normal routine?

I recommend setting small, short-term goals and doing the easiest ones first. Then commit to do them daily. Repeated actions become habits.

Get to the store to buy the healthy food you need. Plan out your meals and snacks. Schedule an appointment for yourself on your calendar to get in some exercise. Schedule everything else around it. Remember, some minutes are better than no minutes. So even if you only have 15 minutes…do something! Write in a journal daily to remind yourself what you want and WHY it’s important for you to stay committed to get what you said that you want.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I would love to gather a group of health professionals who also focus on habit, behavior and mindset change to combat the dieting industry’s quick fix, non-sustainable diets and calorie counting. If diets produced lasting results, we wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic. It would be so impactful if we could all work together and have a platform that reached the masses.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

I would love to have breakfast with Oprah Winfrey. She is someone I have always admired and by whom I felt inspired. She has literally changed thousands of people’s life for the better. My ultimate goal is to do the same, change the life of people who aren’t able to do it on their own. She is a successful, powerful and generous woman.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Your readers can find me at www.lisagoldbergnutrition.com On Facebook, they can ask to join my private group, Right Mind Right Weight. My Instagram is https://www.instagram.com/lisagoldbergnutrition/

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

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