Losing weight can be a challenging journey, and one of the biggest weight loss obstacles many women face is self-sabotage.
Self-sabotage is the cycle of setting goals, making progress, and then undermining that progress through our thoughts or behaviours.
Whether it’s all-or-nothing thinking, negative self-talk, or repeating the same patterns over and over again that aren’t serving us, it can be frustrating and disheartening.
However, with the right mindset and strategies, it’s possible to learn how to stop self-sabotaging and achieve long-term weight loss. Let’s identify some of the most common self-sabotaging thoughts women may experience while on a weight loss journey.
Many women believe that the timing has to be “just right” to start a health journey. Whether that’s when their busy season at work ends, their social calendar lightens up, or when their vacation comes to an end.
But let’s face it…life is chaotic and unpredictable at all times! We NEED to have the right mindset, tools, and strategies in place to handle all situations in our lives to be successful in the long run.
So, let’s ask ourselves how to stop self-sabotaging in this way.
If we wait for the perfect time…we could literally be waiting forever!
When we are not feeling good about our habits, health, or body, the time to start working on our self-care routine is RIGHT NOW. Why wait to get results that could drastically improve the quality of your life?
All-or-nothing thinking is very common when it comes to weight loss.
As women, we have been conditioned to believe we must be “perfect” to lose weight.
This is simply not true! In fact, this mindset can set us back. Let’s look at how to stop self-sabotaging in this way.
Instead of looking at a busy week, holiday, vacation, or night out as a “write-off”, we have to figure out how we can do our best in each situation. When we write it off, we won’t do anything and that is what will truly set us back.
So next time you are in a challenging situation that would typically cause you to fall off track, think about what you CAN do instead of thinking about how you have to be perfect.
Doing 75%, 50% or even 10% of the “ideal” is way better than doing zero.
For example, if you can’t hit the gym, go for a walk. If you can’t meal prep, order a healthy takeout option that is similar to what you would make at home. If you are out for dinner at a restaurant with limited healthy options, listen to your body and stop eating when you are comfortably full.
This also stems from an all-or-nothing mindset.
Picture this: You are out for dinner and you had planned to skip the bread basket, but you arrived starving and couldn’t resist the temptation to grab a slice.
If you thought “Well, I blew my plan so I may as well keep eating it,” you could end up eating 4 slices of bread before you even ordered your meal.
But if you thought “Hey, that’s okay, next time I won’t arrive at the restaurant so hungry” OR
“The bread looked amazing so I decided to treat myself and it was totally worth it,” and then moved on and practiced mindful eating for the rest of your dinner you would have only slightly deviated from your plan which is NOT a big deal.
Giving yourself some freedom and flexibility with the food you choose can be very helpful. When you create rigid food rules it could lead to a scarcity mindset which can trigger overeating.
In my experience, when women integrate their favourite foods they are more likely to stick to their plan overall because they enjoy it and it more easily fits into their life. As a result, they get better results.
If you are following a restrictive, unrealistic, unbalanced approach to weight loss, this statement could actually be true.
There isn’t a point in following a plan that isn’t good for your physical and mental health, even if it does lead to weight loss. But if you are following a safe, healthy, and balanced approach to weight loss there’s always a point to keep going.
It can be helpful to focus on several success measures on your journey, such as your energy levels, your strength and stamina, your gut health, or your mood and mental clarity. If those things are improving then you know you are on the right track.
If you work on changing the habits that could have led to the weight gain in the first place then weight loss is very likely over time. It might just not be as “quick” as you want it to be but it’s important to not give up before you see the results and remember how good it feels to take care of your body throughout the process.
If you get “stuck” reach out to a registered dietitian like myself to ensure your plan meets your nutritional needs and is strategically planned out to keep you satisfied, optimize your metabolism, and balance hormones related to weight management.
Many women spend their adult life either “on a diet” or “off a diet” OR being “good” or “bad” with food.
You try the latest trendy diet and it works for a while BUT it’s hard to stick to and you aren’t enjoying it. You lose some weight but then suddenly work gets busier or you go on vacation and you find yourself quickly reverting to previous patterns of eating and gaining all the weight back. Then the cycle repeats itself the next year, and the year after, and the year after…
This cycle can be incredibly frustrating and can wreak havoc on a woman’s self-esteem, metabolism, and relationship with food. I don’t know anybody who would choose to live like this.
Let’s all face it, diets and restrictive nutrition plans DON’T WORK in the long run, but many women feel that this is their only option when it comes to weight loss. And then they blame themselves when it doesn’t work out.
Here’s what I’ve learned after working with thousands of women over the last 15 years: women need a personalized and sustainable solution that considers their food preferences and lifestyle and addresses their deeply ingrained habits and relationship with food.
Most women also benefit from the support of a trained health professional (or a team) to help them along the way.
It’s not your job to know how to lose weight and keep it off in a safe, healthy, and sustainable way. Dietitians are here to help!
Think of it this way: if you were going to learn how to play tennis, would you teach yourself or get a coach? If you had a leaky roof, would you hire a roof repair company or try to fix it yourself?
Why would weight loss be any different?
Sometimes, the biggest obstacle when it comes to weight loss is our own thoughts. There are a million reasons and excuses we come up with to avoid taking steps forward in our health journey.
Being able to identify and correct these thoughts is the first step towards better results, and I am here to help you with that.
Book a discovery call with me today to see how we can work together to learn how to stop self-sabotaging thought patterns and achieve your goals!