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How to Avoid Self-Sabotage During Weight LossHow to Avoid Self-Sabotage During Weight Loss


How to Avoid Self-Sabotage During Weight Loss

You are likely familiar with the pattern — you get close to your goal weight and then sabotage your efforts by indulging in unhealthy foods or skipping workouts. The self-sabotage phenomenon is common, especially when goals are within reach. This can indicate that you have not fully realized the difference between wanting to be fit and actually being fit.

Living with the daily desire and dream of being fit can be consuming. It not only causes you to put your life on hold, it gives you an excuse for not fully living in the moment and provides a scapegoat for all things gone wrong. When you're overweight, it's easy to make excuses when a situation doesn’t go well: "If I wasn't overweight, then he would like me," or "I can take that chance on a new career once I lose weight." It's a comfortable fantasy without risk.

When you actually reach your goal weight, a primary self-protection mechanism is gone. You have reached the goal of being fit, the one thing that you have been waiting for and dreaming of for years. The excuse that weight once offered is no longer valid. It can be a scary and unnerving situation that leaves you feeling vulnerable. If things don't work out, then who or what is to blame?

It takes courage to live life and roll with the punches, but you can do this without losing weight. Start now and the transition won't be so difficult once you reach your goal. To work through this, begin by assessing what role weight plays in your life. Start a journal and answer these questions:

  • What positive aspects does it offer you?
  • How does it protect you?
  • Can you find alternative ways to protect yourself without hiding?
  • What does being fit mean to you?
  • What internal qualities do you have? In your mind, can you maintain these qualities and still be thin? If not, why?
  • Does being fit threaten you in some way? Why?

Self-exploration takes time and patience, but the result can help you get past those issues that hold you back. There are many resources that can help, including Web sites, books, and professionals such as registered dietitians and nutritionists. Be patient and trust that you can resolve internal conflicts by facing them and working through them, one by one.

Lori Rice, M.S., is a nutritional scientist and author with a passion for healthy cooking, exercise physiology, and food photography.
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