There’s is a physiological and even neuro-scientific reason why you self- sabotage your weight loss efforts even when you really want to lose weight.
One of the clients I’m working with recently ran into this challenge, she wrote:
“ I have been very good about what I ate and drank, but I am still struggling, more since last night. My mind wants me to sabotage myself. give up. I am not going to see the results any time soon.
I am sticking to what I should be eating but I’m frustrated with this talking in my head. I think I am actually scared to lose the weight. maybe it is me not wanting to let go of the past. how can I honestly let it go. it’s been 20 years of one thing or another.” I’m not giving up. just wavering. there is this need not to love my body but to punish myself”.
Most of us go through this when we are trying to create new habits, that will allow us to achieve our weight loss efforts.
What happens is that through past experiences you have created a specific wiring in your brain, your body released specific chemicals and got addicted to them. When you decide to change, your body fights back because it’s used to receiving it’s dosage of chemicals related to punishment, abuse, feelings of not good enough, etc. now that it’s not receiving them, it misses them, and this creates the feelings and thoughts that you are experiencing.
Also, through our past experiences we create a certain identity, an idea of who we believe we are (even if it’s not what we want to be). And that idea is often so entrenched within you that you unconsciously align your beliefs, actions, and thoughts to affirm who you believe you are.
Changing and stopping the weight loss self-sabotage involves creating a new identity for yourself, and even sometimes a new personality, unfortunately this doesn’t happen overnight.
It feels uncomfortable for the body, because it’s not used to this new kind and self confident thoughts, (even if this is better, this is not what it’s used to). It feels uncomfortable because this is not how your brain is wired right now. You are stepping into the unknown and there is doubt and uncertainty.
The trick to succeeding here and end the self- sabotage so that you can lose weight, is to learn to be comfortable in the “unknown” , in the uncertainty that change is. It is to go beyond the discomfort so you can step into the river of change when everything becomes much easier.
The other trick to succeed and stop sabotaging your weight loss efforts is to practice, practice, practice new knowledge, new feelings, new emotions, new thoughts, every day until you have rewired your brain, and the new You becomes normal.
In my personal experience, through my childhood experiences I developed the core belief that I was a sad person, always sick, chubby, and not good enough. Every time I started to lose weight, felt healthier or happy, I immediately sabotaged myself because I didn’t believe I could be that person, it felt so unfamiliar, that I was terrified thinking what I was going to do with energy and a thin body? In a strange way it felt better to have extra weight on, and to feel sick because that’s what I was used to, even though I really wanted to lose weight and it frustrated me. .
When I became conscious of this, I had to practice for months and months until the new me became normal.
Think of it as learning a new dance routine, these are the new moves that you have to get down until your body has learnt them better than your brain, and performs those moves on its own.