Oh you wanted a rude word? Tut tut, that’s naughty.
The only naughty word you’re getting around here is sauerkraut. Because let’s face it, that shit is disgusting.
The actual ‘S Word’ we’re talking about? It’s SABOTAGE. (Specifically self-sabotage, but ‘The S-S Word’ doesn’t quite work as a catchy title).
The concept of self-sabotage is dramatically killing your progress.
Let me explain:
You’re progressing at a rapid rate; you’re eating well (spinach actually tastes nice), exercising intensely (squats are fire), losing weight and then BAM, that malicious feeling of self-sabotage hits you. You’re off the rails again, back to the chocolate and wondering why you’re not losing any more inches.
Despite being disheartened on the surface, part of you is happy. Phew, you think. You no longer have to worry about all that healthy eating, arduous exercise and constant determination to succeed.
You always find yourself back to square one, but damn, why does the progress killer that is self-sabotage always emerge from the shadows and make sure you always end up back on your arse?
So What Is Self-Sabotage?
Self-sabotage is a self-imposed glass ceiling of how happy or successful you allow yourself to be.
That self-imposed ceiling is often fashioned from the ‘anti-self’ we possess. The self-critical thoughts that whir round your head telling you you can’t do this, that you should stay fat, that you shouldn’t be allowed to exercise, that you suck.
When those thoughts bump up against that glass ceiling you self-sabotage.
You go back to devouring all the chocolate you can find in the house, you scrap the healthy eating plan you’ve been intently following and you keep telling yourself how much of a failure you’re going to be.
That glass ceiling is essentially a safety mechanism against feeling disappointed and getting hurt.
Most importantly, it prevents you from allowing yourself to succeed.
Why Do We Self-Sabotage Then?
When you start to achieve success beyond anything you’ve ever experienced before – losing weight, dropping dress sizes, looking hot – two things will happen. You’ll either merrily continue on your way and arrive at your damn-I-look-great goal, or you’ll self-sabotage and find yourself back to square one. Why?
Let’s face it, whenever you undertake a new diet there’s always that underlying feeling of fear; the fear of failing and going back to eating the foods you shouldn’t, the fear of not knowing what on earth is going to happen if you do actually look the way you want to and the fear of facing a lot of struggle, hunger and pain along the way.
That fear quickly turns into thoughts like ‘it won’t work’ and ‘what’s the point’. You then put a spanner in the works, whether that’s through binging, skipping the gym or simply giving up, simply so you don’t have to experience all those fears.
Whether you like it or not, you’re stuck in your current mindset. A mindset that has been shaped from years of life experiences, the way you were treated growing up and the behaviours you were told to conform to from an early age. Usually this mindset boils down to self-hatred and feeling unworthy.
If you were told you were fat from an early age, the ‘fat kid’ from yesteryear will constantly be in your ear telling you you should be staying fat.
If you were told you were lazy from an early age, you’ll be in a ‘lazy mindset’ throughout adult life.
If you were told the tasks you chose to undertake were ‘too hard’ you’ll view changing your body shape as ‘too hard’ as well.
When you try to change the traits you’re used to following, those feelings of self-hatred being to emerge. This particular mindset, and feelings of low self-esteem, drives you to feel like you don’t ‘deserve’ happiness or success.
Your Comfort Zone:
Your comfort zone is a nice place to be; it’s all warm and snug. ‘You don’t need to go to the gym today’, ‘You deserve it’, ‘Relax, you can start again tomorrow’.
These nice, soothing thoughts can be seriously debilitating over time though. ‘You’ll never actually become thin’, ‘You’ll only end up disappointed’, ‘Do you even really want to look like that?’
As soon as you start to feel like your impressive change in appearance is ‘too good to last’, you’ll engineer some sort of failure to ensure you’re still in control; so you don’t have to leave that comfort zone. ‘Ha what a loser for even trying’, ‘You’ll never succeed’, ‘You’re not even worth it’. As soon as those thoughts start to escalate, boom, you’re on the road to self-sabotage again.
Remember that glass ceiling we talked about earlier? That glass ceiling captures all those thoughts you have about yourself and makes sure you can’t break through to change the way you view yourself, the world and how the hell you’re going to change your body shape for the better.
If you possess a set of philosophies that are in conflict with the goals above that glass ceiling, being thinner than friends or getting a lot more attention than you’re used to for example, you’ll probably end up self-sabotaging.
These limiting beliefs lead to self-sabotage to protect yourself from trying to break the familiarity of the attitudes you hold.
How Do We Self-Sabotage?
You’ve made it this far into the blog post. Impressive. As a prize we’re going to delve into a few scenarios you’re probably familiar with when it comes to self-sabotaging.
‘This New Diet Won’t Actually Work’:
How many times have you started a new ‘diet’ with an underlying belief that it won’t work. ‘Intermittent Fasting? I’ll try but I’m not sure’. ‘Counting my macros? I can see this one failing’. ‘Weight training? Ha, no chance’. This is what we mean when we talk about fear causing self-sabotage.
Doubts about where your new journey will take you start to creep in and you end up shutting off the possibility of change. These thoughts put things in black and white; it will work or it won’t work. As soon as you choose the latter self-sabotage is just around the corner.
‘I’ve Always Been Fat So I Won’t Ever Be Thin’:
You’ve probably said something similar to yourself throughout your years of trying to lose weight. As soon as you start to think these things, due to the self-hatred discussed earlier, you’re already set up to fail.
Negatively labelling yourself by calling yourself ‘fat’ or ‘lazy’ or ‘a failure’ means you’ll probably end up ‘fat’ or ‘lazy’ or ‘a failure’. Mindset is everything; unless you tell yourself you will succeed, you won’t ever be able to break through this particular self-sabotage barrier.
‘‘X’ Is Going To Happen, So I’m Going To Fail Anyway’:
Have you ever told yourself: ‘I’m going on holiday so there’s no point in even trying’ or ‘I’m going out for dinner; I’ve been good so one cheat meal won’t matter’.
You’ve just set yourself up for self-sabotage from the off. You’ve already allowed yourself to be in a situation where failure is inevitable before you’ve even started.
If you know you’re going to have a mini setback, consciously stop yourself from thinking you’re ruining everything.
A slight obstacle doesn’t mean you should throw the baby out with the bathwater.
‘I Really Want To Succeed, But…’:
We get it, you want to eat healthily, you want to exercise, you want to get leaner; but there’s always a ‘but’ isn’t there?
That ‘but’ usually means you have to step outside your comfort zone. ‘But I don’t have time’, ‘but I have bad knees’, ‘but I’ve got to look after the kids’.
These thoughts are all forms of self-sabotage and they suck. It’s time to reframe your way of thinking and put yourself back in control.
How To Stop Self-Sabotaging
So this is the part of the article where I give you top tips on how to stop self-sabotaging and you look at it and go ‘yeah that’s right I should probably do that’ and then you do absolutely nothing and continue failing like you've done for however many years.
So yeah, don’t do that.
Reframe Your Thoughts:
When those feelings of self-sabotage start to creep up on you, instead of thinking ‘It won’t work’ reframe the thought into ‘I’ll be able to learn something new from this experience’.
Instead of thinking ‘I’ve always been fat, so won’t ever be thin’ reframe the thought into ‘I’ll be able to learn and teach myself to become the shape I want to be’
Instead of thinking ‘I’ve failed’ reframe the thought into ‘To get back on track, my next plan of action is…’
Success Isn’t Black or White:
You’ve probably got an image of what success looks like in your head. It could be the picture of you looking like a magazine cover model or having all the guys swoon over you when you go out. Is that really what it will be like though?
It’s time to imagine what true success looks like. It’s usually the idea of succeeding that is causing you to concoct a plan to self-sabotage; true success is probably completely different from the ideas you’ve been unconsciously fashioning in your head.
Identify Your Self-Sabotage Behaviours:
You’re going to have to identify the times you self-sabotage. How did you feel? What did you do as a consequence? What did you say to yourself?
Once you’ve identified these behaviours you can start to get intimate with your fears. What is it you’re actually afraid of? Failure? Being successful? Not being the person you’re used to?
Once you’ve established these ask yourself: ‘Do these fears or self-sabotage behaviours outweigh my desires to succeed?’
Replace These Behaviours With New, Healthier Ones:
Now that you’ve identified when you self-sabotage it’s important to work on replacing this behaviour with a new pattern that is more practical and helpful.
It might simply be a case of having pre-prepared meals in the freezer so you can turn to them while you wait for the feelings of self-sabotage to blow over, or having someone to call or message when you feel like packing it all in and heading to the closest McDonald’s.
Adjust Your Expectations:
Your fat loss journey won’t ever be plain sailing. There will inevitably be times when you feel like giving up and self-sabotaging; the trick is to stop thinking these times won’t ever happen.
By all means set your expectations high, but understand that these goals can be flexible and will change according to different circumstances and situations.
THIS ARTICLE WAS TOO LONG AND I DIDN’T READ IT – CAN YOU SUMMARISE IT PLEASE
- Sauerkraut is disgusting
- Self-sabotage is a self-imposed glass ceiling of how happy or successful you allow yourself to be - it’s essentially a safety mechanism against feeling disappointed and getting hurt.
- You self-sabotage through feelings of fear, self-hatred, not wanting to step outside your comfort zone and the limiting beliefs you possess. Once these feelings take over your desire to succeed, you end up self-sabotaging.
- You end up telling yourself things like 'I'll inevitably fail', 'I won’t ever end up the shape I want to be', or 'There’s always an excuse.'
- To stop self-sabotaging work on reframing your negative thoughts, identifying those negative behaviours and adjusting your expectations.