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Is self-sabotage killing your efforts to lose weight or to be healthier?

Posted Nov 13 2009 10:02pm


Post presented by Cheryl Ragsdale of  That Girl is Funny

First off, I should define the word sabotage as the act of deliberately spoiling or damaging something or someone.

Have you practiced any random acts of self-sabotage lately?

Meet a young woman who provides us with an excellent example of self-sabotage.  This vignette comes to Eat Smart Age Smart through an unusual website called (FML, as it’s fondly referred to by more than one million fans), which provides a platform for people to share short stories about things that go wrong and then the rest of us vote whether (a) their life sucks or (b) they totally deserved it.

Here’s the short story, I’ll use as an example:

1) Here’s her self-sabotage story (her screen name is DumbRunner):

Today, I was at the gym, which has a sign that says “No gum chewing allowed.” I was running hard, took a sharp breath and started violently choking on my gum. The woman on the machine next to me started beating my back till the gum dislodged. She then yelled “Good Christ didn’t you see the sign?” FML

Here are the votes she got:

I agree, your life sucks (3,528) – you totally deserved it (40,478)

Would you not call that self-sabotage?

If you’re like me, the first thing that came to mind was, “Well, I would never do anything so stupid”.  But that, in fact, is not true. I commit random acts of self-sabotage, unconsciously, more often than I’d like to admit.

For me, it usually happens after I’ve declared a new goal to commit to a healthier lifestyle.

Here’s an example of how I sabotage myself: we all know the benefits of drinking eight glasses of water a day, right?  If you need a refresher, check the links for three articles that were featured on Eat Smart Age Smart:

Can water help you lose weight?

Could water help you lose almost 7 lbs per year without any effort?

Video Review: Ayala’s Herbal Water

Recently, my way of innocently sabotaging myself was to initiate this “drink more water” plan on a day when I was scheduled to be in an all-day training session. As I applauded myself for drinking my quota, I admonished myself for having to leave the room frequently to relieve myself. That water went straight through me! I wasn’t used to drinking it.

Because I didn’t think through how to manage the additional fluid intake, I missed out on important learning points by not being in the room when they were discussed.  Double sabotage! Really stupid!

On FML, over 44,000 people agreed that the gum chewing woman’s action was a lack of common sense. Do we really need to hear it that many times? Like the woman in the FML example, I knew better than that.  We ALL know better than that. Yet, whenever we set goals for ourselves, a little demon turns up and starts interfering with our plans.

Goal Setting to AVOID self-sabotage

Next time you set a goal, look for the points of sabotage that might arise and identify your possible action steps to overcome each challenge.

In my example, I could have moderated my intake as I realized that my body wasn’t prepared to hold all that extra water – yet.

Be kind to yourself as you adopt new behaviours. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Making tiny adjustments that become a natural part of your healthy lifestyle have more chance of becoming permanent.

What steps are you taking to Eat Smart Age Smart? You can leave comments below on some ways you’ve self-sabotage your efforts to better health or you can leave comments on successful ways you avoid self-sabotage!

More about Cheryl Ragsdale:

Cheryl is the founder of That Girl is Funny is a reminder to have fun.  Life is serious business and things go wrong sometimes. Cheryl reminds us to inject fun – in small doses – throughout the day.  Happiness is built on small moments adding up to having a smile light up your face. Be Funny and Live a Happier Life! Invest time reading and implementing my suggestions. I guarantee you’ll be happier! Your friends will wonder what you’ve been up to and will start asking questions like: “When did you get so funny? Have you always been funny and I just didn’t notice?”

Photo byalbertopveiga

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