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5 Tips To Overcome Weight Loss Sabotage

Written by: Shaniece Benson, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Why do you work so hard to diet, lose weight, and get healthy only to destroy your own efforts? Even though you have the best intentions you often fail to reach your weight loss goals. It can feel like two steps forward, one step, or even two or three back. It is a dance that many people know and have a hard time changing the steps.

To get out of this self-sabotage weight loss dance, let's take a closer look at the reasons we find ourselves stuck and unable to lose weight. Through understanding, you can begin to take more effective actions and steps towards your desired body goals.

What is Self-Sabotage?

By definition, self-sabotage means to damage, destroy or obstruct. Therefore, weight loss sabotage is when you consciously or unconsciously through feelings, thoughts, and behaviors destroy or obstruct your ability to achieve your weight loss goals. This pattern continues in different ways, stopping you from reaching or maintaining your weight loss efforts.

Reasons for Self-Sabotage

Why do you work so hard to diet and exercise to lose weight, only to destroy your own efforts? When you look at these counteractive behaviors such as eating a healthy balanced diet only to sabotage with junk food binging or dessert after. Even as you eat unhealthy foods, you know you shouldn’t but yet can't stop. Then after these sessions, there are often intense feelings of shame and guilt that can make it harder to get back on the healthy eating train only to repeat the cycle.

There are many reasons why one may self-sabotage their weight loss efforts. It is often linked to how one perceives themselves and their worth.

5 signs of Self-Sabotaging

1. Emotionally eating

Food can be a coping mechanism to help with stress or anxiety in the body. The weight can act as a protection and help ground you in your body. It can help to recognize the positive intention behind eating to help with emotional regulation, but it's not the best tool. Certain foods like sugar and carbs can hit our reward centers in our brain, also making it more appealing when you are struggling.

2. Getting too hungry

It is important to be having consistent healthy snacks when you are working to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. When you let yourself get too hungry and your blood sugar drops you will crave junk food. It can be really hard to resist in these moments.

3. Eating too much on cheat days

Treating cheat days as if they have no cap on calories or amounts can set you back on your healthy eating plan. It is important to think of things in moderation, so you do not binge and call it a cheat day. Remember you are working to nourish yourself. Maybe having a little bit of dessert or candy a week will help with not feeling like you have to eat so much on a cheat day. Resist having cheat days and work more with moderation throughout the week.

4. Fear of missing out

Many people can sabotage their healthy eating due to a scarcity mindset or fear of missing out. There can be a fear around letting food go to waste or not having enough food; that can make it hard to listen to one's body and stick to one healthy eating plan.

5. Not getting enough sleep

Not getting enough sleep can sabotage your weight loss efforts. When you do not get enough sleep, you are more likely to not make the best decision with food; you also may have increased cravings. Lack of sleep also decreases your metabolism and spikes your cortisol, which makes it harder to lose weight.

5 ways to stop weight loss sabotage

Your weight can begin to consume your life and take away from the things you really enjoy. The start of not sabotaging your weight loss is changing your relationship with food. Part of this journey is accepting yourself and loving yourself now, so food is something you use to nurture yourself, not punish yourself with it.

When all your focus is on food and diet, you leave no space for joy or being able to enjoy your life right now. The more space you make for joy and self-acceptance, the easier it is to stop sabotaging yourself.

1. Set realistic and achievable goals

Too often people set unrealistic weight-loss goals for themselves, and when they do not see themselves meeting this deadline they give in and feel defeated. A healthy weight loss goal would be 1-2 pounds a week. Also, make sure you are taking your measurements as you could be getting smaller but staying the same weight so it’s good to go by other measurements, like how your clothes are fitting over time.

Weight loss is a slow process, and it’s important that you recognize this and realize it's not a diet but a lifestyle change. Work to set SMART goals and celebrate following the process of moving towards a healthier body weight.

2. Stop dieting and make healthy lifestyle changes

Often people push for a fad diet but fail to understand weight loss is a lifestyle change; it's not a quick fix. Committing to making healthier choices such as meal planning each week, drinking more water, getting more exercise in, and working on a healthier mindset will get you a lot farther than the newest weight-loss trend.

3. Don’t punish yourself

Don’t use your diet as a way to punish your body for not being the weight you think it should be. When you use food and diets as a form of self-punishment you put yourself into a state of shame and guilt. When you shame and attack yourself internally, you put yourself into a state of survival, and your metabolism will shut down. Part of not sabotaging your weight loss efforts is to begin coming from a place of love and nourishing rather than punishment.

4. Work on your mindset

A lot of people lose weight but realize they are still not happy. Although having good health is linked to greater well-being you have to address your mindset, which will also help you lose weight and enjoy the process and the end result more. Some mindset tips that have helped with weight loss include:

Visualizing yourself as being your ideal weight. Seeing yourself achieving your goals each day can help you achieve them. You are giving your brain and body a path to follow. Never underestimate the power of the imagination.

Developing more self-compassion and internal praise can help with weight loss. Instead of criticizing yourself all the time, notice that this is causing more suffering and that you can still succeed even when you are kind to yourself.

5. Educate yourself and seek support

Weight loss is a science, and not all meal choices will work for your body. Seeking support from nutritionists, fitness coaches, dietitians, naturopaths can help choose the lifestyle that is best for you. There is also a lot of research and books out there that could be helpful and inspire you to find new ways to approach your weight loss goals.

It is also a long journey, so joining groups or having friends help you stay motivated and active can help in the long run. Remember, this is a lifestyle change, so getting involved in a new running club or joining a recreational sports team or community gym can help keep you motivated in the community.

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Shaniece Benson, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Shaniece is a High-Performance Fitness & Lifestyle Coach who empowers busy professionals to step into success through her 1:1 fitness training & lifestyle coaching. 

Featured in Southern New Hampshire University, SDVoyager, SHOUTOUT SOCAL, and Zovio for her unique and effective ways of tackling limiting beliefs and creating a new regime to feel good from the inside out. 

Inspired by a drive to change the narrative of familial history connected to a variety of health conditions, Shaniece began to change some habits and fall in love with fitness. 

In doing so, she noticed a dramatic shift not only in her physical but also in her mental health. With her energy levels soaring and confidence boosted, Shaniece wanted to shout from the rooftops how incredibly great this all felt; and how simple it could be for others to do the same. 

Thus, BloombyShaniece was born, a blog specifically designed to share content that would help women grow and embrace their true potential. She later began to work with professionals from an array of backgrounds in helping them not only to lose weight but also to encourage them to live an all-around healthier lifestyle. With training and coaching sessions specifically tailored to individual needs, Shaniece empowers her clients by informing, supporting, and celebrating them in making big changes as they embark on the journey of living their best lives. 



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