Nothing is more motivating that the first few days of a diet, unfortunately, as old destructive, suppressed habits begin to regain strength as you persist into the weeks and months of dieting, then, like a rubber band being stretched, at some point the desire to be thin is challenged by a growing desire to return to the solace, comfort, and denial of eating those fattening foods. When this happens, you are unfortunately prone to go from enthusiasm to self-sabotage—the rubber band snaps back! When it comes to weight loss and lifelong weight mastery, it all comes down to a battle of mind-over-mouth. Here are five self-sabotaging tendencies to be aware of:
- Impatience. Nothing will sabotage your weight loss efforts more quickly than impatience, as when you say, “It’s been a month. I shouldn’t still be struggling like this!” And, if you’re honest, you’ll see that most of your sabotaging, inner dialogue occurs either when you’re hungry, tempted, or challenged by stressful emotions. Always ask, “What are the facts and what are the emotional fictions?”
- Beware of Labels. People sabotage themselves mercilessly with labels like “failure,” “loser,” “weakling,” and so on. Unfortunately, we wind up identifying with these labels and they become what we call a self-fulfilling prophecy. Whenever you label yourself as a “failure” or “loser,” you tend to embrace this as if it’s a life sentence. It’s not!
- Unrealistic Expectations. It’s hard to be patient with weight loss, especially if you’re trying to look good for that wedding or summer vacation, but keep in mind that moderation, especially in your expectations, is the key to lifelong weight mastery. Nothing will sabotage your efforts more quickly than impatience, pessimism, or the hopelessness that comes from unrealistic expectations.
- Slow Down Your Eating. If you’re a fast (or a “volume”) eater who typically wolfs down food or grabs a second portion before the food in your stomach has had a chance to reach your small intestine (about 15-20 minutes), your brain won’t know that you’re full. The problem is that you still “feel” hungry and you want to prolong the pleasurable high of the feel-good hormone dopamine that’s coursing through your brain. “Seconds anyone?”
- Limit Your Alcohol Intake. You probably already know that alcohol adds calories, weakens self-discipline, and stimulates hunger. But did you know that research consistently demonstrates that alcohol can distort both your body’s and your mind’s perception of hunger and satiety? Research shows that having a drink before or during your meal will lower your inhibitions and diminish your willpower.
Dr. Joe Luciani has been a practicing clinical psychologist for more than thirty-five years. He’s the internationally best-selling author of the Self-Coaching series of books, published in ten languages. His latest book, Thin From Within (AMACOM) is a Self-Coaching, mind-over-mouth approach to achieving lifelong weight mastery. He appears frequently on national TV, radio, and the Internet and has also been featured in numerous national magazines and newspapers. Visit www.selfcoaching.net for more information.