Do you self-sabotage your weight loss efforts? If you find that you can lose some weight but then get stuck yo-yoing back and forth between the same few pounds, it’s possible that fear of success is holding you back. Or perhaps you lose weight but then regain it after awhile.
During my 100 pound weight loss journey, I self-sabotaged my efforts many times, especially when I got close to a milestone like getting under 200 pounds. Here’s how I overcame it.
- What Weight Loss Self-Sabotage Looks Like
- What is Self-Sabotage?
- 5 Reasons You Self-Sabotage Your Weight Loss Efforts…and How to Stop
- Frequently Asked Questions about Weight Loss Self-Sabotage
- Free Self-Sabotage Quiz
What Weight Loss Self-Sabotage Looks Like
Self sabotage might be…
- You are doing great with following your food plan…until suddenly you find yourself at the drive-through ordering the burger, fries, large coke and why not, I’ll take a cherry pie too.
- You have the best of plans for your day…just to ignore them after dinner and eat all the things until you go to bed feeling overly full and regretful.
- You do great all week…only to blow it off on the weekends with eating tons of junk food.
All of these are forms of self-sabotaging your weight loss progress. Each of these situations is self-sabotaging your weight loss journey.
What is Self-Sabotage?
According to Psychology Today, behavior is said to be self-sabotaging when it creates problems in daily life and interferes with long-standing goals. When it comes specifically to weight loss, self-sabotage is when you engage in self-defeating behaviors like overeating, not working out, and binging on junk food when your goal is to lose weight.
If you are like me, the question that comes after self-sabotaging behaviors is, “Why?” You might ask yourself, why do I do great for awhile and then sabotage all the hard work I’ve put in?
This can be fantastically frustrating. I get it. Self-sabotage is one of the reasons many people give up on weight loss and quit, so it’s important to get to the heart of the issue.
Are you wondering why you self-sabotage your weight loss success? Here are 5 reasons you might be self-sabotaging…and how to stop. (Be sure to check out reasons 3, which was a biggie for me!)
5 Reasons You Self-Sabotage Your Weight Loss Efforts…and How to Stop
Here are some of the reasons people engage in self-sabotaging behavior on their weight loss journey, plus specific strategies for how to overcome each one.
1. You are stuck in sinful patterns.
Is self-sabotage a sin?
Yes, it can be. As tough as it is to hear, the Bible is clear that overeating is a sin. There is only one cure for our sinful condition and that’s the blood of Jesus Christ our Savior.
In our Faithful Finish Lines 2.0 Christian weight loss program, we teach a specific method called Trading Guilt for Grace process for each time our members overeat. It involves confessing your sin, repentance, and receive God’s mercy, grace, and forgiveness.
While it’s true that self-sabotage is rooted in our sinfulness, there are also aspects of sabotage that might be outside of your control, such as past trauma and behavior patterns from childhood. All of these can be healed, so don’t lose hope!
2. You haven’t learned to delay gratification with food.
I’ve noticed an interesting thing about people (me included) with food issues. You are busy woman who is supremely good at delaying gratification in other areas of your life.
- You do housework instead of watch TV.
- You pay your bills.
- You stick to a budget when you would rather splurge.
- You care for your kids’ or grand kids’ needs above your own.
- You take care of your husband and meet his needs.
You do things that delay gratification until the cows come home when it comes to your family or household yet when it comes to food, you give in at a moment’s notice. You are suddenly standing at the kitchen counter with half the cake gone and it seemed to happen so fast that you couldn’t stop it.
You give in to what you want in the moment instead of what you want long term. To overcome this, you need to practice (over and over) delaying what you want in the moment for what you actually want, just like you do in other areas of life.
This is a spiritual fruit (self-control) that develops with practice and faith-growth.
3. You don’t feel worthy.
This was a biggie for me and I bet it is for you, too. Having grown up overweight all my life, some deep-down part of me figured I was getting what I deserved. I thought I wasn’t good enough and I deserved the punishment of being fat because I had made so many bad food choices over the years.
This is where it’s very important to recognize limiting beliefs and take the thoughts captive to obey Christ. Remember who God says you are.
Specific weight loss affirmations, spoken and read daily, are helpful here to change those deeply held beliefs.
4. You have fear of success.
It wasn’t until I started therapy that I discovered I had fear of success.
I wanted to get to my goal weight but I was also afraid of it. What will people say if I lose the weight? (Or worse, lose it then gain it back?)
Plus, I had so built up in my mind the idea that when I got to my goal weight life would be sunshine, rainbows and butterflies that a part of me was afraid to get there and have to live like that.
Start to explore if you have these thoughts that may be holding you back, too. Journaling, reflection, or talking with a supportive friend are helpful for recognizing and changing fear of success.
5. You haven’t replaced your old habits with new ones.
Sometimes self-sabotage is because of deeply held beliefs. But sometimes, it’s just plain ol’ bad habits.
You have years of unhealthy habits built up, and while you are making positive changes now, it’s going to take your brain some time to form those new pathways and make it stick. Don’t get down on yourself because of this. This is normal and it can be overcome with practice.
The way our brains work, you can’t just not do something. Instead, you have to replace it with a different habit.
If you need to not overeat at night, plan what you will do instead. Make your plan really specific. Write it on a note card and stick it on the fridge or create a little evening schedule for yourself and set an alarm on your phone for each thing you will do. This might seem like overkill but it’s not.
You won’t have to do it forever, just until you teach your brain that there’s a new sheriff in town and things are going to be different.
If your goal is to get to your goal weight and you feel like you keep self-sabotaging your weight loss, choose one of the 5 areas above to focus on first. See if you can make progress in one specific area. If you are still having trouble, move on to the next one until self-sabotage is a thing of the past and you are stepping onto the scale and looking at the number with a smile.
Do you struggle with self-sabotage with healthy eating and fitness? Which of the 5 areas do you think is the most important for you to focus on? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Frequently Asked Questions about Weight Loss Self-Sabotage
Here are answers to frequently asked questions about self-sabotage when it comes to losing weight.
Why do I self-sabotage my weight loss?
There’s no one right answer for everyone, but many people self-sabotage their weight loss effort because deep down they believe they aren’t worthy of being at their goal weight. Turn these thoughts around with journaling, therapy, and daily affirmations.
What causes self-sabotaging behavior?
When we have deeply held beliefs (often unknown to us), we circumvent our goals by engaging in behaviors that don’t work for us. This can be overeating, binging, not working out, and more.
How do I stop self-sabotage?
One of the best ways to overcome self-sabotage is awareness. Think back to the times you engaged in self-sabotaging behavior during the last year. Create a plan for the next time you are tempted to engage in this behavior pattern.
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