Last week I did a blog on my website and video on my YouTube channel that reviewed examples of how some people self-sabotage their own weight loss efforts.  In that blog/video I also discussed reasons why they may turn to self-sabotage. 

Self-sabotage is when you take passive or active steps that directly keep you from achieving the goal you set for yourself.

The tricky thing about self-sabotage is that most of the time we don’t even realize we are doing it.  It’s not until someone points it out or you take time to do some self-reflection that you discover how you get in your own way of achieving your weight loss goals.  Consider watching  my first video on this topic for more background.  

If you realize this is a problem for you, let me offer some solutions offer some solutions on HOW to stop Self-Sabotaging your own weight loss efforts. Let’s go through some reasons you may be self-sabotaging and discuss the solution to each.

Reason #1 you may self-sabotage:  You are using food as a coping mechanism for your feelings/emotions. 

Using comfort food to help you through a tough time?  Turning to food when you are feeling bored or lonely?  If you stop using food as a way to cope, you will self-sabotage unless you have other skills in place to process the emotions in a healthy way. 

Solution:  Increase/learn new coping skills.  I suggest you do some research on the key term “Emotional Intelligence.”  Your goal should be to learn high level coping skills so that food is no longer needed to help you cope. 

Reason #2 you may self-sabotage:  You are full of negative self-talk and a defeatist attitude. 

Deep down you have a core belief that you are never going to be successful at changing your lifestyle, losing weight, developing good coping strategies, etc.  You may even feel you are not worthy of a healthy, happy life. If you think you can’t change…you can’t! 

Solution:  Work on increasing your self-esteem and self-confidence.  Work on feeling worthy. 

Reason #3 you may self-sabotage:  Your weight loss will cause conflict in an important relationship in your life. 

This one is not often discussed but I have seen it pop up many times with my clients.  One person starts to lose weight, eat healthier, start exercising, begin meditation, etc.  Their partner starts to feel uncomfortable with the changes.  Perhaps it makes them feel bad about themselves.  Sometimes they may feel pressure to lose weight themselves.  Or they may feel judged for not jumping on board and making changes. 

It can bring out jealousy, anger and insecurity. 

They may get angry that they can’t enjoy activities with their partner like they used to – things like eating a tub of movie popcorn or spending an entire weekend binging TV.   

This can happen with siblings, friends, or significant others.  If you lose weight and it starts causing conflict or uncomfortableness in an important relationship, you are at risk to self-sabotage so things can return to normal. 

Solution:  You need to find your voice.  Increase your communication skills.  Have the hard conversations.  Be willing to put distance or terminate relationships that are not healthy. Value yourself and your health above others. 

Reason #4 you may self-sabotage: Food is the only thing that makes you happy.

This makes me so sad when I hear someone say this.  Food was never intended to be your soul source of joy or happiness.  If you feel that lasagna and bread sticks are the only source of happiness you have in your life then you will fight tooth and nail not to give them up.  You’ll make excuses, delay getting started, decide it’s too hard.  

Solution:  You have to find other ways to bring joy to your life.  If you are depressed, seek professional help. 

Reason #5 you may self-sabotage:  Eating is a control issue or you are eating to rebel against someone who is telling you that you need to lose weight. 

Even if you agree and desire to lose weight, you may resent that person acting like the food police or evaluating every bite you eat.  The more they try to motivate you to lose weight the more you dig your heels in.  This is self-sabotage.  You feel that if you give in, they will win and you are not about to let that happen. 

Solution:  This requires good communication skills and honest conversations.  Perhaps that person will not change but you can change how you react to them.  I’ve found mental health counseling is a good option for this problem.

Reason #6 you may self-sabotage:  You eat because you are bored.

Obsessing over cooking, baking, recipes, cooking shows, etc gives you something to do.  This one is pretty easy.

Solution:  You have to find other things that you enjoy that will fill up your calendar. 

Reason #7 you may self-sabotage:  Your identify is tied to your weight. 

So your doctor says you need to lose weight or she fears you are headed towards diabetes.  You start a program but find yourself quitting.  This is self-sabotage.  If your identify is tied to your weight and you lose weight, you are left to answer the question “Who am I?”  I’ve seen this with

Men who are known as “the big teddy bear.”

Women who are known as the “fat, funny, girl.”

A woman who is a professional singer and worried about her image as a skinny singer. 

Fear over losing your identity will cause you to self-sabotage. 

Solution: Work on finding your identity outside your appearance.  You are more than your weight.

Reason #8 you may self-sabotage:  Everyone else’s needs come before yours. 

Do you believe that focusing on yourself and your health while ignoring others needs is selfish?  Making your health a priority may mean saying no.  It may mean disappointing others.  It may mean you make someone angry.  The guilt of these situations causes many to give up or delay their healthy lifestyle makeover.  This is a common form of self-sabotage.  

Solution:  Gain work/life balance.  Stop the guilt and see that self-care is not selfish. Learn how to set boundaries.    

To sum up, much of the time we self-sabotage and don’t realize what we are doing. We think we are just lazy, unmotivated, and lacking willpower.  Maybe we think the time is not right or the money is not available now. But much of the time it is SO much deeper than that.  If you are one of the people who start diets and bail mid-way, I encourage you to do some soul searching. 

Ask yourself the following:

WHY would I NOT want to reach my goal weight? What would I give up? Who would not like it if I lost weight?  Who will not support me as I adopt a new lifestyle? What will change for the negative if I lose the weight? 

When you answer these questions you’ll discover why you self-sabotage.  And you’ll realize that buying another diet book, starting a 30 day challenge, joining yet another weight loss club is not going to be your answer.  Do the groundwork first.

If you live in North Carolina and want to work on any of these issues with a licensed mental health counselor, you can contact me directly to see if any of the counselors on my staff can help.  Email me.  

I also have recommended several people and their YouTube channels which I have listed in the description of the YouTube video here.

Do the work! It’s worth it.  You’re worth it. 

Til next week!


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