Trying to lose weight is no easy feat. Without proper planning, goals, and discipline, it’s easy to fall off track and ruin your weight loss goals. If you’ve been having a hard time losing and keeping weight off, it could be a sign you’re self-sabotaging. If you’re constantly doubting yourself, making excuses or surrounding yourself with unsupportive friends, it’s time to get yourself in check. Take a look at how to stop self-sabotaging your weight loss efforts in 6 steps.
What Is Self-Sabotage Behaviour?
Self-sabotage behaviour is when you hinder your own success or wellbeing by undermining your personal goals. This behaviour can be conscious or unconscious and occurs when you put yourself in a situation that tempts you away from meeting your intended goal. When it comes to weight loss, this may look like late night snacking, bingeing on the weekends, using food to temporarily escape, and allowing small setbacks to totally off rail your progress. Self-sabotage is essentially the act of getting in your own way, no matter how self aware you are of it.
9 Reasons You Self-Sabotage Your Weight Loss
- Self Doubt: If you doubt your ability to achieve your weight loss goals, you’re more likely to engage in self-sabotaging behaviours. Holding onto negative beliefs about yourself, your worth, or your ability to succeed can lead to self-sabotage. These beliefs might include thoughts like “I’ll never lose weight” or “I’m destined to be overweight.”
- All-or-Nothing Attitude: An all-or-nothing mindset is not helpful, as a small setback can lead you to abandon your efforts altogether. If you slip up one day, don’t be hard on yourself or give up. Let it be and get back on track the next.
- Fear of Success: A fear of success can manifest in a number of ways. You may be scared your friends will get jealous and not want to hang out with you, or that you won’t have food as a way to temporarily escape, or that you’ll lose the “once I lose weight, I can finally__” excuse that prevents you from taking action.
- Past Failures: Previous unsuccessful attempts at weight loss can create a sense of hopelessness and cause you to sabotage your current efforts out of fear of failure.
- Emotional Eating: Using food as a way to cope with emotions such as stress, sadness, or anxiety can throw off your weight loss efforts. Emotional eating can lead to overeating and unhealthy food choices.
- Unrealistic Expectations: Setting overly ambitious goals or expecting quick results can lead to frustration and disappointment. This can cause you to abandon your efforts or engage in unhealthy behaviours.
- Low Self Esteem: Low self esteem and a negative body image can lead to self-sabotage. If you don’t believe you deserve to be healthy or attractive, you might unconsciously engage in behaviours that undermine your progress.
- Lack of Planning: Failing to plan your meals, workouts, and strategies for dealing with setbacks can make it easier to fall into old habits and sabotage your progress.
- Social Pressure: Pressure from friends, family, or social situations can lead to overeating or indulging in unhealthy foods. Trying to fit in or not wanting to make a fuss can contribute to self-sabotage.
How to Stop Self-Sabotaging Your Weight Loss
1. Make a Plan
Creating a weight loss plan will be key to your success. Planning your meals and workouts each week will help you stay on track and avoid unhealthy, impulse choices. Create a meal plan and make a grocery list sticking to nutritious foods. Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry as this can result in you picking up unhealthy snacks. When it comes to working out, consider paying for a monthly membership so you lose money if you don’t go; find a workout partner or accountability buddy; and switch up your workouts to keep things interesting.
2. Set Realistic Goals
It’s important to start small and not go overboard. If you don’t workout at all right now, setting a goal to workout 5 times a week, eat completely clean, and walk 20,000 steps a day is going to feel super overwhelming and will likely lead to defeat. Start with one or two things you want to add/change to your routine, such as eating a healthy, protein-heavy breakfast and trying a new workout class, and make it happen. Once you make a few changes, you can start to add more on.
3. Take Care of Yourself
Neglecting self care in other areas of your life, such as sleep, stress, and relaxation, can affect your ability to make healthy choices and stick to your weight loss plan. If you’re over-tired and overworked, you’re more likely to eat poorly and skip your workouts. Prioritize sleep, practice gratitude, meditate, eat healthy, stay hydrated, and take time for yourself. Putting your self care first will help you stick to your health and weight loss goals.
4. Surround Yourself with Support
If you surround yourself with unsupportive people who want to see you fail, it’s going to be much harder to stay on track. Perhaps your friends want you to keep eating poorly, because it’s what you do together, or they make comments like “oh, you’re too good for us now that you’re getting fit”. These types of people can off rail your progress and make you feel bad about doing something good for yourself. Surround yourself with supportive friends who have your best interests at heart.
5. Stop Making Excuses
It’s so easy to make excuses when it comes to weight loss goals. “I had a bad day, I deserve this brownie”; “my friend can’t make the workout class, so I won’t go either”; “my schedule is way too busy right now”. Excuses are one of the top ways people self-sabotage their weight loss, and they will not get you to where you want to be. Instead of viewing exercise and healthy habits as optional activities, make them non-negotiable commitments.
6. Fuel Your Body Properly
Even if you workout regularly, it’s hard to lose weight if you’re eating unhealthy, processed foods that are high in sugar, fat, salt, and refined carbs. It’s important your body has enough energy to fuel you throughout the day, as well as through your workouts. Eating junk foods may fill you up quickly and give you a burst of energy, but it won’t sustain you. Focus on gradually increasing quality protein, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. Drink plenty of water and up your intake of complex carbs. You’ll feel so much better and more energized when your body is properly fuelled and it will help you reach your health and fitness goals!
If you’ve noticed you’re constantly self-sabotaging your weight loss goals, try these tips to help you stay on track!
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