Self-Sabotage

Do you sabotage your own weight-loss efforts? I seem to do it every time I start a weight-loss program. I go along well for a few weeks, and then I completely go off the rails.

Like this time. Everything seemed so easy. I lost 12 pounds in 4 weeks. And then… I don’t know… there were awards dinners, cakes at work for various occasions (can you really say no to eating the cake brought in especially for International Women’s Day?), tempting Starbucks breakfasts, and on and on.

Another Formal Dinner
“Oh great… another awards banquet!” (RichardArmitageNet)

But those are just excuses. The same types of event and of temptation were happening during the first four weeks, so why now am I completely off track? Do I not want to succeed? After gaining almost a pound last week and on track to gain more this week, I’ve been looking for answers on the internet.


Greatist.com tells us that self-sabotage may be due to a fear of success. “The best diet won’t matter… if a part of you wants to destroy progress toward your goals.” The fear can be of losing that easy escape from worries or that comforting way to suppress emotions. Or maybe there is something you plan to do when you lose weight that scares you or seems too difficult. Or you may not really believe that achieving your goal is going to make your life better. (Isn’t my life better when I’m eating that warm cheese croissant than when I’m eating salad?) The article suggests finding and getting beyond the root cause of the self-sabotage with the following:

  1. List five reasons you believe your life will be worse when you achieve your goal.
  2. Challenge your fears, by questioning your reasons and poking holes in their logic.
  3. Then, list five reasons you now believe your life will be better once you achieve your goal.

WebMD suggests that self-sabotage occurs when you set goals you can’t meet and when you refuse to give yourself the praise you deserve. Correcting that involves:

  • Taking small steps toward a realistic goal (and setting smaller goals along the way), keeping yourself moving steadily forward.
  • Celebrating each time you meet a small goal, with a treat that’s not about food.
  • Beginning to face your fears, asking what you are afraid of that is making you not follow through.
  • Slowly breaking away from old patterns by noticing the automatic thoughts you have, checking if they are actually based on facts, and changing them to more realistic thoughts.

Half of Gabby, in a post that looks to be an insightful pep-talk, informs us (with “adult language”) that there are two main reasons for self-sabotage:

  1. You are afraid of success and of change — change is always hard. And maybe you haven’t found a powerful enough reason.
  2. You don’t think you’re worth it and you need to examine why.

It looks like I have some work to do to try to figure out how to get myself back on track. Have any of you struggled with self-sabotage?

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20 thoughts on “Self-Sabotage

  1. When I self Sabotage, it’s because I decided – oh a little bit of this won’t hurt – and a little bit of that… and then all of a sudden, I’m sliding down the hill. I’ve learned to just pick up, dust off, and start again. I don’t weigh in every week. I don’t.

    Sometimes, our loved ones help us. I recall very clearly after I had Spawn, my now ex husband saying – oh, I hope you never lose your weight. That way, no man will look at you and I won’t have to worry about you running around on me. This lack of self-esteem in partners is sadly, a lot more common than we want to think. I see it all the time on my Mom Forum – women trying to lose weigh and their partners sabotaging them because of THEIR lack of self-esteem. In my case, I walked into a courthouse and lost 200 pounds of ugly fat in a snap. now if I could lose this last 70.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, exactly. And that’s what’s happening… oh one more day of treats won’t matter. (Except they’re supposed to be treats, not regular habit!)

      I think my husband unintentionally sabotages me by cooking things without thinking or without reading the label. Like pork ribs. Or a new really high-fat salmon sauce!

      I love how you lost that “ugly fat”!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh yes, very familiar with that phenomenon. And even asking myself those questions doesn’t help. If you are convinced of the (false) answers, then nothing much helps – except brainwash. There’s only one way of dealing with it – never give up. Just because things didn’t move this week, doesn’t mean they never will. New week, new start.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was thinking this morning that I actually have one answer that doesn’t seem to be false. People should try to lose weight when they’re younger. Past a certain age, your skin loses its elasticity. So as someone my age loses weight, the skin is less tight and gravity really takes its toll. I don’t think there’s anything to be done about it, unless I can convince myself that I don’t care.

      In any case, thanks for the encouragement … “we will never surrender!”

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      1. It is VERY hard to lose weight when you’re older – especially after menopause. I’ve always been told that and now… well it’s true.

        I have bat wings I make fun of and a serious dunlop. And the girls are seriously migrating south for warmer climes. Dunno why. Oh well. It is what it is.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, this post-menopause thing makes it much harder. It is the migration that seems to bother me the most.

        Ok, now “dunlop” is a new one for me. I had to scour the internet and found, that someone’s stomach, “done lopped over his belt”. Always good to learn something new!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh Sue. I am veering between relief that someone else is thinking the same thoughts as me, and despair that thus my thinking may be logical. That is *exactly* one of the reasons why I find it so easy to fall off the wagon. It’s a kind of “it’s too late to do anything, anyway* attitude – why bother, when the outcome won’t be pretty, anyway? So yeah, I am also very discouraged that the weight loss is not going to change my outside appearance for the better. I might be slimmer, but I’ll look even older than I do already. Catch-22. It’s very hard *not* to care about that, and I struggle to find encouraging and *convincing* words for you.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. It’s really nice to “talk” to the “virtual support group” about this! I’m told that if you take it slowly, that your skin has more of a chance to adjust. But, I think that that adjustment is not as complete if you are on the other side of menopause. So, my advice to anyone on the younger side of menopause is to lose the weight before, if you can.

        I know that I feel healthier, though, even with only 12 pounds gone. And for sure I look better in clothes. And that in itself gives a more youthful appearance. We know we are doing the right thing, so I guess we just have to keep finding the motivation.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. You are hitting the nail, Sue. Losing weight pre-menopause is definitely easier – I know from experience when I lost many kilos about 10 years ago. Not only was the weight-loss faster, I also got away without any flaps of skin sagging from my face and other assorted body parts.
        Personally not sure about feeling healthier. I’ve lost 20 lbs so far, clothes still feel tight, and without any outward effects showing, the weight-loss hasn’t yet had any influence on my self-confidence, either. I currently feel as if I am waging a battle against my body.

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      6. I’ve heard that 10-15 pounds is supposed to be one pants-size, but I’ve never found that. At more than 12 pounds (I lost again this week!), I’m still in the same sized clothes. But there are a few pairs of pants at that size that were too tight that I can now wear again. I’m sure we’ll get there.

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      7. It seems to be Murphy’s law that the weight first drops off in the places where we *don’t* want it to drop, i.e. boobs etc. Dieting is such a patience game… 9 weeks in, I am really impatient for some VISIBLE results. It’s all great that I have dropped a stone and a half, and I am proud of the achievement, but the intrinsic motivation is currently suffering really badly, because I just don’t see the changes yet… Ah well, need to keep at it then…

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Yeah just because today was bad, doesn’t mean tomorrow will be. Just pull on your big girl panties and step out on a new foot. Every morning, when we get up, we get to reinvent ourselves. We don’t have to wait until next week, next month, next year. We don’t have to wait until we lose weight, get that house we’ve dreamed of or that perfect job. We know I LOVE clothes. I didn’t wait until I was a size 12 to buy something pretty. It’s making getting rid of my older clothes easier.

      I attended a Think Tank this morning and it made my day when the facilitator (the group does our younger elementary program) looked at me when I walked in – have you lost weight? You look GREAT! Of course, I’m wearing my new down-a-size pants and a fitting long sweater with my healed boots. The compliment made me feel good and I FELT great!

      One of our ‘rules’ is that we acknowledge that we will plateau and backslid. It’s a fact of life. Just say, my bad and start on the fresh foot.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the pep talk. I have some really nice clothes that I still need to lose weight to fit into, so that might be a good motivator. I’ve already added back two pairs of pants that were too tight before. I weigh in again on Tuesday, so I’ll try to go hard at it again on Wednesday for the new week.

        Unprompted compliments are so great! And clothes that fit closer to the body can actually be slimming.

        Liked by 1 person

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