Self sabotaging is a concept that deals with the psychological side of weight loss and healthy weight management. Self sabotaging is when we go overboard in indulging ourselves with food as a reward for eating healthy. In our minds, we did “good” and “sacrificed” the bad foods during the day, week, party... whatever, and as a result, we “deserve” to “reward” ourselves. It’s literally all in our heads. The problem is that self-sabotaging can reverse all the hard work and discipline you just exhibited throughout the day or week and can leave you with little or no results.
Food psychology helps us understand why we make some of the decisions that we do when it comes to the foods that we eat, when we eat them and why. In order to help overcome self sabotaging, we need to see food as more than just rewards and sacrifices. By all means, it is okay to experience life with food, but not every experience (celebration, sadness, time together, etc...) needs to involve food as a reward. If we begin to see food as a means to fuel our bodies and less as a reward or sacrifice, it begins to have less control over our thought processes when it comes to finding a healthy balance and relationship with food.
Below are some ways to overcome a common self sabotaging with an example that most of us can relate to:
You have eaten healthy all week, so on Friday night you order a pizza and eat the whole thing while also downing a 6-pack of beer. Instead, try some of the following:
1. Limit your number of pieces (1-2) and beer. Either freeze, share or throw away the rest.
2. Use the money you would spend on pizza and reward yourself with a fun experience instead (i.e. rent a movie, go somewhere fun like bowling, a concert or the movies)
3. Make a smaller, homemade pizza at home with cleaner ingredients and less sodium and make it a family affair
The idea is that if you need the reward system in your life, that is fine, but learn to reward yourself in a way that does not negate all the hard work you have put in. Keep the cheat meals smaller and cleaner, still workout that day or reward yourself with something other than food.