4 Tips to Overcome Self-Sabotage

by | Feb 3, 2020 | Last updated Apr 17, 2023

Author: Amy Dailey

You’ve made a commitment to losing weight for good this time. You’ve been logging, meal prepping, squeezing in some extra steps and feeling good about the progress you are making. You notice that your pants are getting too big and people around you are making comments about how fantastic you look. 

Then it happens: You find yourself in the kitchen storm eating for no apparent reason. You’re laden with guilt and self-deprecating thoughts. “Why can’t I do this?” “What’s wrong with me?” “I’ll never succeed.” If this has happened to you before, you’re not alone. It’s common for people to sabotage their efforts and then feel guilty for doing so. 

Losing weight in some ways is like losing your identity — it can be symbolic of shedding thoughts, ideas, habits and a mindset that served you for so long. Weight loss can also trigger fears — fears of failure, fears of being seen, and fears of not being good enough. 

But what if you could push through those fears, thoughts, and self-sabotaging patterns to reach your goals and experience the gift of health that you desire and deserve? 

Exploring new ways to conquer sabotaging thoughts and habits is the key to successful, sustainable weight loss. You know yourself best. Start with ideas that resonate with you and, when you feel ready, stretch out your magnificent wings and try something new.  

1. Find your why

This may seem simplistic, but diving into why this is important to you can help keep you focused on your goals. If you have ever worked with a coach, you may have noticed that they ask you an abundance of questions. This may feel frustrating at first but there is a method to the madness. The fact is, you are the only one who can decide why you want this change, and you know what works for you and what doesn’t. How many times have you been told what to do and decided to do the opposite?

Tune into your inner coach by pondering some questions and digging deep. What do you think will happen if you don’t make that change? What do you imagine your life will be like if you achieve that goal? What do you need to change to get you there? Break it down. Little by little, you will reveal to yourself how you can make it happen and what is truly driving that desire for change.

2. Tap into your strengths

Reflect on a goal that you achieved in the past. Write down how you achieved this goal and make a list of the strength that helped get you there. Really dissect it. What kept you going when you didn’t want to? How did you make the time for it? How can you apply that experience to your weight loss journey? 

Want to take it one step further? Add affirmations to sticky notes based on what you find, or create a collage of images that remind you of the inner warrior that you know you are. 

3. Practice, practice, practice

Practice making new choices. Practice can help you push through those emotional barriers and create new habits.  If you were learning a new dance, how to solve a math problem or ride a bike, you didn’t become an expert after the first try. It took planning, information gathering, desire, perseverance, and practice. The same ideas can be applied to weight loss. 

Choose one area that you really want to focus on, find out as much about as you can, plan and try it out. Let’s take dining out for example. You know you are going out to dinner on Friday, but you didn’t get to choose the restaurant. You decide to review the menu ahead of time, order first and you commit to boxing half of the meal to take home with you. When you get home, you realize that it didn’t go as planned but you did manage to review the menu and order first. This is a perfect opportunity to reflect and plan again. What didn’t work and why? You ate more than you were originally planning to, so next time you go out, you decide to ask for a box as soon as the meal comes. Voilà! You have just practiced your way into a new habit. Practice makes permanence. 

4. Consider therapy

If you’ve been struggling with emotional eating, self-sabotage, or negative behavior cycles, these may be affecting your weight-loss efforts. A licensed counselor or therapist can collaborate with you in changing the habits which no longer serve you. 

Behavior therapies teach techniques that focus on the problematic thoughts or actions that may be getting in the way of successfully reaching your goals. Reaching out to a professional, if it’s available to you, can be a positive step in facilitating healing and behavior change. Working through self-sabotaging behaviors isn’t effortless, but by employing those internal and external resources, you can empower your journey. Whether it is reaching out to a counselor or practicing new habits, every action you take draws you closer to the goals that you are longing to achieve. After all, you are definitely worth it!