Jan - Feb 2020

4 Steps to Stop Sabotaging Your Weight Loss

By Patricia Cherasard, PA-C, MBA


Does this sound like you: “I’ve tried everything to lose weight, but I always gain it back!”


Well, if so, you’re not alone. If you’re anything like most people, you lose weight, feel great, you exercising more, your clothes fit better, and you end up celebrating with a meal you’ve been depriving yourself? Or maybe you make a promise to start a healthier way of eating on Monday but then decide to start on Tuesday instead or on the following Monday?


This type of behavior is a common phenomenon referred to as self- sabotage. Many individuals who try to stick to a weight loss regimen have sabotaged their efforts without even realizing it, making staying at a healthy weight even more challenging. Self- saboteurs typically feel frustrated with themselves for not following through with a weight loss plan, and they often feel hopeless that their situation will never change. Some of the reasons for self-sabotaging behavior include familiarity of failure (used to situations not working out), an unconscious need to be in control, feeling unworthy, bad habits (excessive drinking, uncontrolled emotions), and a need for excitement.


Individuals who sabotage their weight loss seldom mean to sabotage themselves. Many of our emotional drivers remain unconscious, which is why chronic self-saboteurs will often use conscious justification (or what seem like excuses) to explain why they didn’t make healthy food choices, didn’t track their meals, didn’t go to the gym, or didn’t optimize on their exercise routine. So, if you feel like you keep sabotaging yourself for one reason or another, there are specific things that can be done to combat this behavior.


Step 1: The first step is to identify the various beliefs that you are carrying that allows this self-sabotaging behavior to exist. A common, but non-productive attitude is focusing on the negatives that come up rather than the positives that exist. For instance, fixating on the fact that you lost no weight this week instead of feeling grateful that you lost 5 pounds over the last month. Remember that taking a long-term outlook usually results in better weight loss outcomes. Getting into the mindset of the three P’s: Positivity, Patience, and Persistence will grant you success.


Step 2: The second step is to become more disciplined about maintaining your healthy eating and exercise routine. Start by focusing on simple, positive habits that you know you can execute consistently and then commit.


Step 3: The third step is to own the truth and believe that you deserve the healthy body and happiness that you desire. 


Step 4: Finally, the last step is not to be afraid to be thin. It is normal to be afraid of change, however, do not allow fear of change to define your life. If you get discouraged remember to step back and rejoice in your successes. Continue to work on your weight loss and health goals, always remembering that you deserve to claim all of the health and happiness that being at a healthy weight has to offer!