Body Positivity

why you self-sabotage when trying to lose weight

woman sitting at desk

If you are someone who self-sabotages, it may feel like a never ending cycle of trying something new, failing, and self sabotaging. Or, partaking in self-sabotaging patterns when thing are going a little tooooooo good, instead of just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Here is why you self sabotage.

self sabotage is normal.

There is a scientific reason as to why you self-sabotage, and the long and short of it, is to make you feel safe. Yes, that sounds insane.

‘Why is going to the gym at 5AM not safe?’

No, your brain doesn’t automatically think you are going to get murdered at the gym so it gets you to keep hitting the snooze button, but your brain does want to take precaution into jumping face first into new habits. Let me explain.

There are two parts of our brain: the conscious and the subconscious.

Our conscious brain is what we are aware of, memory, and rational thinking. You. may think you are using your conscious brain throughout the day, but truth be told, you are using it 5% of the time. FIVE PERCENT. Mind. Blown.

The other 95% is through our subconscious brain. All day, we are basically running on autopilot through our patterns, habits, beliefs and behaviors.

The role of the subconscious brain is to keep you safe and alive.

Now being on autopilot throughout the day, it’s pretty easy for your brain to feel safe. Your brain doesn’t know wether these patterns are beneficial or detrimental for you – it just knows ‘okay, this is what I’m used to… I’m safe.’ (Even if these patterns are substance abuse).

So, let’s enter us trying to lose weight. Here are some the patterns we go through:

  • Eating clean
  • Forcing ourselves to go to the gym at 5AM.
  • Going to bed early
  • Stop snacking
  • … and other habits we heard about on social media or what our skinny friend does.

When we try to do these habits, we don’t take it slow. Hell no. I mean please, we are trying to lose 10 pounds before vacation next week!

We do all the habits, full force, at once.

Your brain freaks out and pulls the plug. It senses danger, and a feeling of being unsafe. Your brain doesn’t realize that you are just trying to eat healthier, but it feels all of these habits going on at once, and it stops you dead in your tracks.

Enter: self-sabotage.

Your brain tries to keep you safe by putting you into your old habits (again, it doesn’t recognize that this is actually hurting you), but this is where your bad habits come in.

  • Emotional eating
  • Binge eating
  • Substance abuse
  • Starting arguments with your partner
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Gossiping

All of these, habits that you used to do that you are trying to change, come back with full force because your brain is trying to do whatever it can to help you.

Here is what you can do to stop these habits and let go of the self-sabotage altogether.

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