Is your weight loss journey a constant up and down? Do you often find yourself sabotaging your diet plans by either overeating or not sticking to the plan at all?
If so, this blog post is for you. In it, we will discuss how to stop self-sabotaging weight loss and start seeing lasting results!
What is self-sabotage?
A behavior is considered self-sabotage when we deliberately hinder our own success and wellbeing by undermining our personal goals and values.
When it comes to weight loss, this often means not sticking with a diet plan or going back on the same unhealthy habits that led us down the path of being overweight in the first place!
Your weight loss self-sabotage can happen without even realizing it at all. One minute you are following your diet and the next thing you know, it’s time for a snack or mealtime hits, and suddenly that “healthy” lunch is forgotten.
What causes self-sabotaging behavior?
There are many things that can lead to self-sabotaging behavior.
Lack of self-esteem
Lack of self-confidence can lead to a person not feeling like they are worth sticking to the plan.
When you lack self-confidence, small victories may not seem like anything to be proud of.
This can lead to the person feeling as though they are never going to make progress and gives up on any weight loss efforts altogether.
Fear of success
This is when a person feels that if they succeed, it will only bring more pain. This could be from past experiences of success not being enough or it could also come down to fear of what others will say.
This type of self-sabotage behavior is most common in people who are trying to avoid the pain that comes with judgment and ridicule.
Fear can hinder a person’s ability to make their goals happen because they are too afraid to take the first step.
Fear of failure
If a person fails at something, then there’s no point in trying to do anything differently because things can’t possibly get any worse. This leads them to stay the same and not make an effort towards change.
Fear of failure is the most common type in people who self-sabotaged weight loss.
The fear can be a result of past failures or it may come down to not believing that they are able to succeed with their goal at all because there’s no point in trying if they’re going to fail anyway.
Not feeling your emotions
Feelings are a natural and normal part of life. They can be both negative or positive, but no matter what they should not be ignored!
When people ignore their feelings it means those emotions go unchecked and manifest as other behaviors that may lead to self-sabotaging weight loss.
One example is overeating when you feel sad because you’re trying to cope with the emotions.
When you are able to feel your feelings, it is easier for them to pass and become something that can be processed in a healthy manner!
Looking to the past for results
As humans, we have a tendency to look to our past experiences for potential future results.
This can be a good thing because it allows us to learn from our mistakes.
But when you look back on your past failures, it is easier for that fear of failure mentioned earlier to take over. This fear can cause you to avoid taking any steps towards changing your weight because of the fear that things won’t work out.
It’s also difficult to have a different result if you can’t find past examples of success.
When you tell yourself “I can’t do it because I’ve never done it”, it can stop you from even trying.
Most people who suffer from self-sabotage weight loss are in denial about their feelings.
This leads them to react to unprocessed feelings by coming up with excuses as the reasons for why they couldn’t make it work this time, but will next week!
Some of the common types of excuses are “I’m too busy”, “I’m too tired”, “it’s too hard!”
Lack of support
Another problem might be a lack of support from family and friends. If your loved ones discourage you when you’re following a weight loss plan, it can be difficult to stick with it.
It’s challenging enough being in a situation where you have self-doubt, but when other people are telling you that they don’t believe in your abilities either, it is easy for the person to start believing them and give up on their weight loss efforts altogether.
How to stop self-sabotaging weight loss
1. Increase your awareness
The first step to being able to stop self-sabotaging weight loss is by becoming aware of your habits.
If you are not aware that you’re doing something, then there’s no way for a person to change it!
Do you eat out of hunger or out of habit?
Do you avoid the gym because of a busy schedule or do you feel like it’s not worth going to?
What are the thoughts that led you to self-sabotage your weight loss the last time this happened?
Once you know what those habits and thoughts are, then they will be easier for you to identify. This is when it becomes much easier to make the change.
One way to do this is by keeping a journal of your thoughts and behaviors throughout the day, then going back over it later when you have more time.
This will help you become aware of what’s really happening in your life so that you can stop self-sabotaging weight loss before it starts!
2. Change your unhealthy habits
Once you have awareness of your unhealthy habits, it’s time to make changes.
You need an action plan for how you will stop self-sabotaging weight loss. This may involve:
- Eliminating unhealthy processed foods from your diet and replacing them with clean eating options like vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and beans.
- Making a list of all the positive things about weight loss and keeping it in a visible place to remind yourself of those benefits
- Reconnecting with your feelings by doing some deep breathing exercises, or talking to someone who is supportive.
3. Feel your feelings
How can you stop self-sabotaging weight loss if you’re not even aware of what is causing it in the first place?
It’s important to allow yourself time to notice, acknowledge, and feel your feelings.
Doing so will help process them, give you clarity on how they are affecting your behaviors, and eventually lead to a healthier life.
4. Watch your self-talk
Watching your self-talk is a great way to stop yourself from engaging in self-sabotaging brain chatters.
People who use negative phrases like “I can’t” or “It’s not worth it!” are setting themselves up for failure before they even begin their journey!
Instead, you should find new ways of talking to yourself.
One way is using the “I can” phrase, which tells your brain that you are capable of making a change even if it’s not easy or feels out of reach at first!
Another thing people do when they’re self-sabotaging weight loss is they talk about how difficult something will be rather than focusing on the benefits.
It’s much more encouraging and empowering to talk about how great you’re going to feel when you’ve lost those pounds, rather than talking about what it will take for you not to lose them!
5. Eat to nourish
Don’t deprive your body of nourishment with restrictive dieting.
When we’re not eating to our full potential, it causes the body to crave foods more.
This leads people to overeat and then feel guilty about what they’ve done which can lead them into a vicious cycle of self-sabotaging weight loss!
Instead, you should find ways that you can nourish your body, such as by eating a variety of real whole foods and clean healthy snacks when you feel physically hungry.
Monitoring your intake is also important to help avoid overeating in the future!
6. Plan your meals
Making a plan for your meals is an important step to stop self-sabotaging weight loss.
It’s so easy these days to grab something quickly, healthy or not when you’re hungry but it will only make you feel worse in the long run!
Our primitive brain is designed to seek pleasure and avoid pain and when you make on-the-fly decisions, you’re more likely to choose something that is high in calories and low in nutritional content, which will increase your weight.
Planning our meals ahead of time engages the more advanced part of our brain, the pre-frontal cortex.
This part of the brain will help you make better, more rational decisions when it comes to what you’re eating and how much.
And when you plan things out and record them, you are also setting concrete intentions that help you to be more likely to achieve your goal!
7. Stay accountable
It’s also important to stay accountable when you’re trying to stop self-sabotaging weight loss.
We are all human and we will slip up from time to time, but it is the fact that we start over again after a mistake that makes us successful!
One way of staying accountable is by creating weekly or monthly goals that you want to accomplish.
This will give you a clear direction for the week ahead and help avoid self-sabotaging weight loss behaviors by giving yourself specific tasks that can be completed!
Another way is through journaling or writing down your progress towards achieving your goal each day in an accountability log.
It’s also important to find a support group or person that can help keep you accountable.
Having someone to answer to will do wonders for your success!
And last, but not least, don’t forget about self-compassion and giving yourself the love and attention that we all need in order to be successful.
We are our biggest cheerleaders so make sure to take care of yourself!