What is self sabotage? Self-sabotage refers to behaviors or thought patterns that hold you back and prevent you from doing what you want to do, whether it's fitness, diet, work or even relationships. A lot of the time we may not even realizing that we're doing it, but by paying attention to a few key things, adjusting our behaviors and reframing how we speak to ourselves we can stop this destructive behavior. Yes, even if you've been doing it for years!
Do any of these behaviors/ thoughts sound like you?
1. You don't have time for a full workout so you do nothing OR you miss one workout so you do nothing for the rest of the week.
2. You have one unhealthy meal so you eat unhealthy foods the rest of the day, week or even month. You're probably thinking, I already blew it, what's one more cookie, one more meal etc.
3. The scale isn't moving after a few days or weeks so you think screw it, it's not working anyway and fall back into bad habits of not working out and eating unhealthy.
4. You're placing blame on someone else ie "its the trainers fault" or "these protein shakes aren't working" instead of admitting that you've been skipping workouts and skipping meals.
5. Telling yourself it's just too hard to keep up with and you need something easier. Working out isn't always enjoyable, there will be days that it sucks, you're tired, you're not motivated or it just doesn't go according to plan. Are you letting every difficulty stop you in your tracks or are you modifying and continuing to move forward?
I'm also going to take a crazy guess and say that if you've experienced one or more of these things you've repeatedly thought:
If it's not perfect, it's not worth doing
If I can't do everything its not worth one thing
I just need more time, money, resources, space, etc (look sometimes this is 100% true and that's normal, but are you using something as an excuse that isn't really that big of a deal?)
There is hope, yes even if it feels hopeless. Here's 5 ways to stop self sabotaging your health & fitness journey:
If you don't have time to go to the gym, do one or a few of these things:
Do a mini workout: 3 rounds of pushups, squats, lunges, wall sits and/or a plank for 30 seconds - 1 minute.
Go for a 5-20 minute walk or break it up into a series of shorter walks
Drop and do a plank during school breaks or between meetings
Do 10 squats on the hour every hour during your workout day
Run up and down the stairs in your home, apartment building or office, take a few laps around the house or jump rope or march in place for 1 minute
Indulge your cravings sometimes! If you've been craving donuts like nobody's business for several days or more, have a donut. Have a donut. Seriously. Eat it slowly, savor it and move on. Dieting causes an unhealthy obsession with foods, and I know you may think, I can't have just one, but having one once in a while allows you to build trust with your body and improve your relationship with "forbidden" or "unhealthy" foods.
Stop using the scale to track progress. I know you want to weigh yourself daily, weekly or monthly, but if you're not seeing the number move it can be disheartening and you may not realize all of the changes that are happening in your body. Try this instead:
Track energy levels & mood
Track progress, weights/sets/reps and effort
Pay attention to how you speak to yourself! You are not a failure if you miss one or even five workouts. You are not bad for eating a diet and your progress isnt ruined if you fall off track for a day or 3. Also there is no track. Things will happen, breathe and move forward, dwelling on the past won't get you anywhere.
Pay attention to what triggers you. Is the overwhelming stress of work causing you to miss workouts? Is a toxic relationship preventing you from putting yourself first? Are you turning to food because you're bored or because you're hungry? Are you getting enough sleep? drinking enough water? taking rest days?
If you've been self sabotaging for years, you have the power within you to stop. It will take time, it will take making mistakes or failing even. Your happiness is worth everything, and you deserve to take the time to nurture your body & mind. Identify what you really want out of life, get comfortable with failure and talk about how you're feeling with those you're close to (or a therapist).
As a former people pleaser and self-sabotager, I know how difficult it can be identifying these behaviors and changing them, but I can also tell you it wont be nearly as hard as you think and its SO worth it!