Are You Sabotaging Yourself?

This week’s topic was spurred by a member question. After successfully finishing up the 7 week Maintain Don’t Gain Holiday Challenge she wondered, “Why do people sabotage themselves after they’ve hit a fitness or weight-loss goal?” We think lots of people encounter this same issue and it’s a common challenge among the fitness crowd.
Here’s a typical example of self sabotage as it relates to fitness or weight loss. Maybe your goal is to drop 10 pounds over the course of two months. For those two months you are consistent with your exercise and adhere to a strictly healthy diet. At the end, you step on the scale and BAM! You’ve hit your target. You’re 10 pounds lighter and feel confident and proud. Maybe at that point you’re feeling a bit too confident and you start to think, “I achieved my goal and I deserve a reward.” Since you’ve been dieting, your reward is probably some kind of food you’d been staying away from. And that triggers the self-sabotaging spiral of making poor choices and the guilt that inevitably goes with it.

According to health and wellness coach, Jason Christoff the reason people self-sabotage is nearly always the same. “The psychological research is firm…that most people actively sabotage their own health and fitness success simply because they believe subconsciously that they don’t deserve that sort of empowered lifestyle or hyper successful living scenario,” he wrote.

The key to breaking this pattern is first to recognize it when it starts to happen, then to understand what triggers it and learn to overcome it. As soon as you find yourself rationalizing your behavior, making excuses for what you’re eating or trying to convince yourself that “just one won’t hurt” it’s time to pull the reins. Know that if this does start to happen, you are not alone and more importantly you do not have to succumb to your temptations.

Although you may not be able to stop these thoughts and feelings from popping up, you can be prepared and change the way you react to them.
  • See if you can recognize a pattern to what triggers your self-sabotaging behavior. Do certain environments make you feel more vulnerable?
  • Determine when you’re most likely to self sabotage. Are you more susceptible when you’re stressed or tired? Or, does being around certain people or groups soften your will?
  • Think about how self sabotaging behavior makes you feel afterward. Chances are even if it brings you momentary pleasure, it makes you feel guilty and remorseful afterward.
  • Ask yourself whether you’re being realistic with your goals or too restrictive with your diet or fitness routine. Very often following too strict of a diet results in binging on “forbidden” foods. And, pushing yourself to exercise excessively can quickly lead to burn out no matter how zealous you felt initially.
If you do fall prey to self sabotage, remember it is never too late to get back on track. Cut yourself a little bit of slack and remind yourself of why you started your journey. Most importantly, don’t let your subconscious fears or feelings of inadequacy stand in the way of what you consciously want.
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