“I exercised this morning, so I have earned this glass of wine.” “I am stressed out after a tough day, and chocolate helps me relax.” “I can treat myself. It is the weekend, and I stuck to plan all week.”
In the 15 years I have been coaching women on how to lose weight, I have heard countless clients say, “I would be able to lose weight if only I were able to stop self-sabotaging.” And they are right.
Many dieters sabotage their weight loss goals. At Team Bunny, my goal is to help you recognize self-sabotaging when you see it, understand why you might be doing it, and figure out how to overcome it.
Are You a Self-Sabotager?
- You are on plan for a while, lose a bit of weight, improve your fitness… then gradually revert back to your old ways.
- You know exactly what to do, but cannot seem to do it. You feel like you could write a diet book with everything you know about weight loss. But you don’t act on it.
The truth is, there’s a huge difference between knowing what to do and actually doing it. It’s easy to hop from one diet to the next without ever sticking with anything. Success comes down to our mindset, psychology, and habits.
No diet that is solely based on the food you eat will help you figure out why you gained weight in the first place. A diet will not fix emotional, mindless, stress-induced eating, and it will not fix habitual, compulsive binge-eating. A diet will not get to the root cause of why you overeat.
Dieters often think a fear of failure is holding them back. I frequently hear clients say, “I do not want this to be yet another failed attempt.” But surprisingly, it is a fear of success that holds people back the most. The best diet will not matter—no matter how determined you might feel—if a part of you wants to destroy progress toward your goals.
Self-Sabotage Happens When You’re Scared of Success
Why would you be scared of success? Sounds ridiculous right? This is VERY common in the health and fitness world. Why? Well, if you’re successful, any number of fears could be realized. For instance:
- You will not have food as a way to temporarily escape or quiet your mind at work or home.
- You will have to deal with uncomfortable feelings such as self-doubt, regret, disappointment, or fear (because you’re not suppressing them with food).
- You might lose the “Once I lose the weight I will finally…” safety blanket that protects you from taking action on an intimidating (but ultimately rewarding) prospect.
These are real psychological roadblocks, but nothing that can’t be overcome. To break from a pattern of self-sabotage, you need to get to the root of why you’re sabotaging yourself.
But here is a little activity you can do right now.. before starting your course with CBT Meets Fitness
1. List five reasons you believe your life will be worse off when you achieve your goal.
These are some real answers I’ve received from clients.
- I do not feel like it is possible, so why bother. Nothing works long-term, and failing in front of everyone multiple times is embarrassing.
- My husband loves beer; I want to go out with him and drink beers without worrying about calories or carbs.
- I’m scared of dating. I know if I lose the weight, I’ll have no excuse not to get out there.
- I’m worried I’ll never being able to eat my favourite foods again and I will always feel deprived.
- I don’t want to exercise for hours every day.
These reasons all have one thing in common: Our powerful subconscious minds believe that rationalizing ourselves out of weight loss will protect us. But once we identify the real reasons that we’re holding ourselves back, we can begin to counter them.
2. List five reasons you believe your life will be better once you achieve your goal.
Here are some examples I’ve gotten from clients:
- I will be healthier.
- I will have more energy for myself and my family.
- I will feel happy to be in photos instead of hiding away from the camera.
- I will be a good role model for my children so they do not repeat my negative food behaviours.
- I will finally stop worrying about my weight.
Until we identify and deal with the reasons we fear success, we will never be successful. A lack of knowledge about what is good for us is rarely the real problem in todays society. Instead, we tend to suffer from a lack of consistent action… and that usually comes down to what’s going on in our thoughts.