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MINDSET – Combating self-sabotage

By Giselle Hanson (Health Coach)

It’s 4pm, you’re tired and… you did it. Again. You’ve gone out for coffee and decide it really won’t hurt if you get a a brownie to go with it. Of course you started out the day with the best of intentions, but you just didn’t quite make it! It’s not that your plans weren’t good– you really, really want to do better. That’s just an example of self-sabotage. Or it might sound something like this, “I exercised this morning, so I’ve earned this take-out.” “I’m stressed out after a rough day, and a glass of wine (or two) helps me relax.” “I can treat myself. It’s the weekend, and I ate healthy all week.”

Sound familiar? Self-sabotage is just a way of saying that you’re making choices which undermine your values and goals. Many people sabotage their weight loss goals. It’s important to be able to recognise self-sabotage, why we might be doing and what we can do about it!

Often we are our own worst enemies. Awareness and acknowledgement of self-sabotaging thoughts can stop us from acting on them.

Some things that might lead us away from our goals:

  • Fear of failure

  • Avoidance from stress or discomfort

  • Conceptualisation of food as ‘good’ vs ‘bad’. What you don’t want to do is equate ‘healthy food’ as being foods that aren’t tasty. Nor should you ‘demonise’ or restrict foods in your diet to much.

  • All-or-nothing mentality: One slip-up during the say or once a week doesn’t really mean much in the scheme of things. Often we slip-up and then decide well the whole day, or even whole weekend (or more) is a write-off! It’s an ongoing focus on balance and nourishment that will create a healthy lifestyle.

Steps to combat self-sabotage:

  • Define your goals, long-term and short-term. Write them down and look at them regularly.

  • Identify triggers. Emotional triggers like stress at work; physical triggers like sleep deprivation.

  • Put in place daily steps/behaviours that will help build a lifestyle that supports those goals; foundations like good sleep, planning and preparation around food and exercise.

  • Notice negative thoughts and combat them with a rational, positive alternative. Talk to yourself as you would a friend – Kind AND helpful. Eg. If you’ve have slipped up and had a treat meal you can respond in the following ways:

Negative“I’ve ruined it now, may as well have dessert too”  Vs positive “That was yum, how about having something healthy to finish up?”

Negative “All my hard work has been for nothing and I’m useless”  Vs positive “That wasn’t planned but I’m only human! My body can handle this, let’s move forward”

Negative “I’ll start again next week” Vs positive “This hasn’t changed anything, I’m still going to prepare nourishing food for my next meal”

You have control of the choices you make next – every little change/decision you make towards health helps. Every healthy habit accumulates, every time you challenge your negative thoughts and create positive ones you are building on your strengths!