Did you Know There was a Downside to Losing Weight?
(Yep, there really is one and it might be holding you back - so here’s what you can do about it…!)
This might be a familiar scenario. You’ve been doing really well with what you’re eating and drinking. You’ve been more consistent with movement and exercise. BUT THEN you eat a whole box of chocolate cakes (or whatever). You’re not even hungry. You can barely remember doing it. But you did. And now you feel crap. Uncomfortable with yourself. Guilty...
Welcome to the land of self-sabotage. From a logical point of you, smart women (which you are) can’t figure out what just happened. Why would you be getting in your own way and wrecking everything you have been working so hard towards?
There are two sides to diet sabotage. There’s the downside that you feel bad and are putting the brakes on your progress. Then there’s the upside – you’ve got something nice and comforting to eat that maybe you have denied yourself in a while. There are many ways you can sabotage your progress but what I want to talk about today is when you sabotage without being conscious of wanting something to eat. Without being consciously drawn into the biscuit barrel.
One of the very common reasons for sabotaging your diet (which can also apply to your relationships, your life, or all of them!) is fear of failure. You might wonder, ‘what if I have a goal and I fail?’ But worse still, what if you got everything you wanted? What would happen then? What would happen to the YOU that you know and love? Would other people hate you then?
OK now seriously I challenge you (bear with me you'll be pleasantly surprised) : go and get yourself a notepad and pen because we’re going to do a little brainstorming exercise to get through this barrier… that's okay, I’ll wait while you get them…
READY? Ok, so write down your weight loss (or any other health) goals on the paper. For each of the goals on your list, you’ll now want an extra page. Write the goal in the middle of the page and draw a circle around it. Now start to brainstorm all the possible downsides to your goal. Write each point somewhere on that page. You can use lines coming off the central circle if you like. Whatever works. This is just for you, so get it ALL down. Yes, even if it seems crazy or ridiculous...
You might be thinking that this is a fluffy exercise or wonder how this will make a difference. It will, believe me. The “writing down bit” is more important than you think and gives you valuable information. Remember that successful weight loss for life – knowing how to stick to the weight / body composition you feel happy with - is NOT going to happen in just a few weeks or come from willpower alone (sorry it's not how the body works!). The only way through this is to get rid of all the stuff in your head that is holding you back. If part of your brain is telling you that BAD THINGS will happen if you lose weight and eat healthy, what do you think your outcome is going to be?
Let me give you an example. Let’s say you want to learn how to eat healthy and lose weight. Consider all the unintended negative consequences of that. Your first thought might be ‘there isn’t a downside to that; in fact that would be amazing!’. Believe me, there is always something…
Dig a little deeper and you might find things like:
- If I commit to eating healthy, I’ll never be able to eat xyz again. And I would hate that.
- If I eat healthy, I won’t be able to go out for dinner.
- I won’t be invited to dinner parties as people will think I need to eat weird food
- I’ll have to buy new clothes, and that would cost too much money.
- People will treat me differently, and I don’t want that. It will be difficult to know who to trust.
- My husband might not like the new me. He always says he loves my curves.
- My friends might be jealous of my weight loss and talk about me behind my back or exclude me from things we used to do together.
- I’ll miss the cosy nights in front of the TV with my husband (or just yourself..) and a giant chocolate cake.
- I’ll never be able to lose enough weight, so what’s that point in starting?
- It’s going to be too hard
- I’ll probably have to exercise and I hate it
- Backhanded compliments (like ‘wow, you look so much better’) that insult me will make me miserable.
- What if I start getting obsessed with everything I eat or don’t eat?
It doesn’t matter how crazy it seems (we all have stuff in our head!), get down EVERY SINGLE downside you can think of. Huge ones, small ones, tiny ones. It doesn’t matter. Some of the things might be unresolved fears from your childhood, Uni or more recent.
What else can you write?
Keep unfolding, What else??
Even when you feel you can’t think of anything else, there are always a few more. You might have a list of 15 to 20 downsides to eating healthy and losing weight. Read over these and chances are, there will be two or three that really hit home.
It will start to dawn on you that YOU are holding yourself back from getting healthy and losing weight because of these fears. There is part of you that is so scared about changing that you will do anything to keep yourself on familiar ground and stuck. And guess what, that is why you are sabotaging your goals. In writing all this stuff down, there’s a high likelihood that none of it will happen. Naming your fears is NOT showing weakness. It’s the starting point, and voicing them releases the hold they have on you!
Now, I hear you shout, what do I do about it? For some people, simply recognizing the fears and how crazy some of them are is enough. For most people, you’ll want a helping hand.
The beauty of health & lifestyle coaching is that together we can work through whatever is holding you back and, through our sessions, move you forward baby steps by baby steps. If any of this resonates with you, get in touch to see whether a coaching programme is what you need right now. You can book a free discovery session with me HERE.