Self Sabotage


I find it so interesting how easy it is to sabotage our own wellness plans. I don’t know how many times I’ve drawn a line in the sand and said I was going to make some changes only to fall short of these goals within days. Sometimes it’s because my goals are way too lofty and I expect too much from myself, but other times even bitesize changes are thrown in the trash due to my own self sabotaging ways.

I’ve been able to make a lot of personal changes in my life over the last couple of years that I’m really proud of. I try to focus on wellness and these include areas such as sleep, nutrition, and exercise – BUT I feel like I have hit a plateau in my life and can’t overcome that. I really want to get to the next level.

I have recently put plans into place in regards to moving in the direction of my goals, by joining Barre and deferring my marathon entry to 2018 and opting for a 10k instead, rather than risk injury trying to hustle to be ready for this year.  

I started off very strong in my behaviors, going to Barre on average 5-6 times per week. eating clean, and getting a full night’s sleep, but I feel like things are starting to slowly unravel.  This past Friday my knee felt a bit sensitive, but I powered through the 2 mile run to and from Barre, plus the hour class.  Rather than taking a break on Saturday, I decided to go and just try to modify the workout to put less pressure on my knee.  By Sunday I knew I had to take time off.  Something felt off.  I told myself taking a day or two off was good and yesterday I even went down to the gym and did upper body weight training and abs to try and stay on track.

The problem though, was I started to see negative, self sabotaging behaviors creep in the second my plan went a bit off track.  Over the last four days my bedtimes have been pushed back later and later (staying up til 12 am last night doing NOTHING) and the amount of food I was consuming got larger and larger.

So, I’ve spent some time today reflecting on my behavior.  There seems to be so many times in my life where I tell myself “I deserve” something whether it be a piece of chocolate, a glass of wine, or a late-night television show, but the reality is that instead of rewarding myself I’m actually sabotaging all my hard work. So my self talk in actuality is saying that I deserve a punishment rather than a privilege. Right?

You see – if I was really rewarding myself, I would allow myself a great night’s sleep, because at the end of the day a glass of wine and a piece of chocolate and a TV show later I feel like garbage, but if I have a good night’s sleep and an awesome workout I feel like a million bucks.

Why is it that we find ourselves in these harmful patterns rather than the healthy ones? It’s definitely the easier road to go down. At the end of the day I know that a quick workout and an early night’s rest is so much better for my stress level, but a glass of wine is a quick fix. So what do I choose? Well when I’m tired and stressed, likely a glass of wine. This ultimately also leads to chocolate and a TV show. Then I wake in the morning groggy with a slight headache and a little less enthusiasm for my day. So I try to break that habit and I’m good for a few days or weeks or even once a whole year. It is so easy to fall back into those behaviors. I find myself even making jokes about the glass of wine at the end of the day with others as there is such a social pull for this. Almost as if I am asking society for permission to have this glass.

Recently, I gave myself a 30 day challenge of no alcohol or coffee – as well as unrefined sugars – to get myself back on track and jump start my progress. I’ve been good on the coffee and sugars, but I did have wine on one evening this past week – I made a conscious choice to drink wine with friends on the day my friend passed away.  I wouldn’t have gone out to get a bottle myself and haven’t had any since, so I’m allowing myself the grace of this decision.

That said, despite holding true (with this exception) to my challenge, I am letting other things slide. There has been no good reason for me to stay up late this week.  In fact, I am tired and without coffee in my life there is more reason to get to bed on time than ever, but this has not been the chosen path over the past few days.

Additionally, my food consumption levels are way too high! The food I am putting into my mouth is good food, but I am eating too much and too often.  And no – do not worry that I have a misconstrued idea of what a portion size is – I do not restrict my calories! Trust me when I say – I’ve been eating too much!  Staying up late also causes trouble in regards to eating because I have found myself snacking into the evening.  No good.  

The first day I said to myself:  “We are out with friends. It’s okay to eat a little more or have more comfort style foods that they have offered.  Life in moderation.”  And I was okay with that.

The second day, my self talk was more like:  “Wow, my muscles really must need a lot of extra calories to repair and build. Good thing I eat healthy food.”

Day three seemed a bit more like: “Okay, I think I may just making poor choices now.”

And by day four I was very self aware that I was sabotaging myself.

I am aware of my behaviors, but I am not 100% sure why I have fallen into them.  It’s almost like I have a fear of reaching my goals. What would it mean if I was actually in the peak physical condition? It can’t be a fear of failure can it?  Because this behavior sets me up to fail, so really it seems like a fear of success.  

It’s like my mind is telling me “You’ll never be able to do this. See? You aren’t worth it. You’ll always be the same old person.”  And then memories from my past of not feeling good enough sweep over me and I want to eat more and drown myself in a Netflix binge.   

Why am I talking about this?

Because I don’t think I am alone.  I think there are a LOT of us that have similar experiences and so I think it is healthy to talk about, discuss, and support each other about.

This is not about having unrealistic body image ideas, or needing to diet, or wanting to be thin.  It’s truly about wanting to make healthier lifestyle choices to live my best self.  And above that it is about being good to myself through positive self talk and breaking the stream of negative thoughts or criticism that creep into my brain.  Being proud of the work I am doing because I know it makes me a better person inside and out.  It is important to be aware of our sabotaging behavior because it is often linked to negative and harmful thoughts about the self.  Recognizing these signs and adjusting our behaviors is imperative for a healthy life.  

So, I am putting it out there that this is what I am currently struggling with. I am challenging these beliefs about myself and rewriting my self talk.  Today is a new day and I am not going to let old behaviors get in the way of creating my best life now.  

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