When you spend your days talking to people like I do, you start to see patterns. And when it comes to weight loss, there are patterns to the ways we sabotage ourselves. I have compiled the top 10 ways that I have seen patients over the past 2 decades sabotage themselves in their weight loss attempts.
But if you look at these closely, you may find the same thing I did, and that is that these are the ways in which we sabotage ourselves, period.
1. Old Baggage
It’s hard to start a new endeavor without thinking about the past. Past weight loss attempts, the success, the failures, the weight loss, the regain. Clinging onto our past attempts, good or bad, keeps us from being fully present, fully engaged and fully committed to giving this opportunity our full attention and chance for success.
We often strive for perfection, a perfectly clean diet, a perfect daily exercise routine, a perfect…yet unattainable goal. Striving for perfection will set us up for failure because, as we cannot be perfect, we are destined to fail. The more failure we experience, the more likely we are to give up completely. But here’s the thing, we need not be perfect in order to be effective and giving up the pursuit of perfection will make us all the more likely to succeed.
Striving for perfection will set us up for failure because, as we cannot be perfect, we are destined to fail.
3. Managing Setbacks
We will all experience dietary setbacks — overly indulgent meals, vacations when we got off the wagon, maybe a weekend in Vegas? The problem is not so much the setback itself but what we do the moment after. The ability to take our setbacks with stride allows us to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and resume our efforts. The alternative however, catastrophizing setbacks, will always make us feel inferior and ultimately sabotage our goals.
4. Lack of Self Acceptance
It is one thing to have a desire to do better, it is quite another to be self-deprecating, self-loathing and unable to accept ourselves as we are. In fact, lack of self acceptance makes us less likely to engage whole-heartedly in our attempt for self- improvement. And the science backs this up. While being self-accepting as we are right now and in this moment, allows us to direct positive energy into the effort required for sustainable change.
Goals, yes. Self- acceptance- double yes.
By the time we are old enough to tie our own laces, we have already accumulated hundreds of labels and self limiting beliefs, by the time we are old enough to covet our neighbors Louboutin’s, well, that number is more like thousands. We label ourselves as not the athletic type, not the fit type, not the thin type. We are not strong enough, capable enough, strong-willed enough, and as a result we limit ourselves and our opportunities. What if we dared to imagine that we were, well, enough? We might trust ourselves a little bit more, stretch ourselves a little bit more and thus achieve a little bit more. You are as capable as you allow yourself to be- so allow yourself. Mic drop
6. Trying to Outrun your Diet
A recent study came out this week that showed a 3% increase in obesity rates in the US during the pandemic, despite a 4.4% increase in exercise, reminding us once again that we cannot outrun a poor diet. Exercise can help preserve lean muscle mass during weight loss, can help burn calories, but it is a failed strategy when used to compensate for a poor diet.
7. Falling for Fake News
There is so much fake news out there! Cleanses, fasts, detox, keto sticks, gut busters, metabolism boosters. Seriously, if it sounds outrageous, ridiculous and too good to be true then it is outrageous, ridiculous and too good to be true.
How often have you munched on chips while binging on Netflix, only to reach into a somehow empty bag. How many handfuls of nuts do you grab when passing the kitchen counter, or m & m’s from your office mate’s desk without even registering having consumed them. We eat on auto-pilot so much so that studies have estimated that we consume upwards of 2000 calories per day without even noticing. Try this, make a point to sit down at the table every and anytime you want to eat. Just bringing your attention to the consumption is half the battle.
9. Failing to Create an Environment for Success
You can have all the best of intentions but if you don’t set yourself (environment) up for success you will not succeed. Cleaning out your pantry of triggers, stocking your fridge with wholesome food, meal prepping for work, even the act of cleaning and cutting your fruit as opposed to keeping it in the fridge will increase the likelihood that you will reach for that option as opposed to a less healthy one. If the right ingredients, foods, options are readily available, you are more likely to take advantage of them. But setting yourself up for success also means getting adequate sleep, setting boundaries around work, people and content that does not serve you and maintaining a mindset conducive to success. These are the ways that we can be intentional about our goals.
10. Restrictive Mindset
Have you ever told a child that they cannot touch a electric outlet? It becomes their goal in life to do so. Tell yourself you cannot eat something and you will be met with the same drive to consume it. Rather than restriction, adopt a mindset of abundance. Eat so much of what serves you, so that you have less room, less space, less desire for that which does not. Don’t focus on what you cannot do, focus on what you can.
Take some time to think about these common saboteurs. Do any of these resonate with you? Do you notice any of these patterns in your own life? Awareness is the first step. Once you are armed with the knowing, you can set your mind on the doing; doing the work necessary to prevent your saboteur from sabotaging your success.
I would love if you find me on Instagram and let me know how these tools served you. Let me know what your biggest cravings are and how you’re managing them.
You can also shoot me an email HERE. I read every single one of my emails myself. You can also find other offerings like journal exercises, my book Hungry For More, and a catalog of our prior podcasts.
To a happy and healthy week.