Are You Sabotaging Yourself when it comes to your health and wellness?
A lot of times when we begin to make healthy changes in our lives, we can be met with resistance and my life long friend, self-sabotage.
The simple act of trying to make ourselves better always starts out with good intentions, but often, we are met with real life obstacles and mindset issues that can hold us back.
Using the example of setting New Year's Resolutions, where most people set goals with good intentions to make real changes in their life in the beginning of January and most people have already derailed by the end of the month. January 1st the gyms are all packed and full and February 1st the gym has cleared out.
Now, why is this? Why do so many people want to make healthy changes, but rarely can actually follow through?
Well, there are many, many different possibilities, but one that we are going to discuss today is Sabotage.
There are three distinct forms of sabotage that most people face: Something else always seems more important, desiring acceptance, and rewarding yourself for good behavior.
So let's dive a little deeper into each one of these forms of sabotage:
Something else always seems more important.
In today’s society, we are busy and strapped for time. We have to cart the kids around to sports practices, clean the house, work full-time, grocery shop, check Facebook and e-mail, binge watch Netflix and the list goes on.
Somehow, all of our everyday responsibilities or distractions often take priority in our lives and our health and well-being can seem to come last on the list of things to do.
But ask yourself this, if you get sick or are unhealthy and lack energy will it really matter that you did all the dishes and laundry and all of the other tasks on your to-do list? No it won’t. Without your health and well-being, it's hard to really enjoy your life.
So how do we fix this mentality that “something else is always more important”?
Well, we need to start to make health and wellness a priority every thing else. Wake up earlier if you must. Schedule wellness into your calendar. Prioritize healthy eating and make time to batch cook on the weekend. It needs to become a part of your life that is not even questionable. You do want to live a healthy and long life, right?
You may need to work on your mindset to really make this shift. You may have some limiting beliefs such as "I'll never be healthy or thin" or "I just love food too much". The point is you don't need to restrict or deprive yourself, you just need to make the best, healthiest choice in the present moment. Sometimes that will look like cookies, but other times you will actually want to nourish yourself with a smoothie or raw chocolate.
Focus on the present moment and try not to let your past choices or future choices dictate the choice you make right now. The questions I always ask myself before choosing to eat something are "Am I hungry? Will this give me energy or feel nourishing in my body?" Give this a try. Make health your priority (if it actually is) and focus on the present moment.
Everyone desires to be accepted. This is something I’ve always struggled with. When trying to eat a primarily plant-based diet, I could always stick with it just fine, until I went to a relatives house and didn’t want to offend them by not eating their meat or dairy-filled meals. Or when I would go out with my girl friends and was tempted by the fried appetizers and sugary drinks, I didn't want to be the weird one eating a salad and drinking water.
I’ve always been a people pleaser and wanting others to accept me, but really, all that does is hold you back from doing things you truly desire. Realistically, would my family or friends judge me or be offended that I was sticking to a healthier way of living? Probably not and if so, that’s their own issue to deal with. I’ve learned over the years, it’s okay to be different, in fact, it’s way more interesting to be different.
So if you desire to be accepted and worry about fitting in, I want to challenge you to let it go. As the saying goes, “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, but there will always be someone who hates peaches”. You will never please everyone or fit in completely, so just be yourself and do what you need to be the healthiest person you can be.
Rewarding yourself for good behavior
Do you ever eat super healthy and work out every day for five days in a row and then on the sixth day say, “Wow, I’ve been so good this week. I deserve to treat myself”. This used to be my mentality for years. I would eat so healthy on the week days and totally binge eat anything and everything on the weekends. This is not only unhealthy, it completely defeats the purpose of what you truly want and only causes you to feel shame or guilt which can then lead you to feel unmotivated and give up on your healthy habits all together.
So why do we do this to ourselves?
Sometimes people feel so good sticking to their healthy habits that they self-sabotage out of fear that they are changing to much. You may feel if you completely change and are healthy all the time you will miss out celebrating with friends or eating delicious food you once used to eat. But this is exactly why I believe it’s okay to not restrict yourself and to truly allow yourself to indulge from time to time without over-doing it. Completely restricting yourself is what causes things such as emotional and binge eating. Be aware and mindful of your choices, and if you are going to indulge, you better truly enjoy it and then move on with your life.
Lastly, a huge underlying reason why we self-sabotage is because we simply do not completely love ourselves. You may want to disagree with this, but think about every time you look in the mirror, are you thinking about how beautiful you are and how much you love yourself? Or are you thinking about the 10 pounds you need to lose or how you simply are not "good enough"? It's important that we learn to practice self-care and to start deepening our love for ourselves. This can take a lot of deep work and I definitely plan to create another post and some more info on this topic. But for now, I want you to look in the mirror and practice saying "I love you", even if you don't fully believe it yet. You will be surprised how much this exercise can help change the way you think about yourself.
So do you think you’ve been sabotaging yourself? What is one thing you can do this week to help avoid sabotaging yourself? Please share in the comments!