Home It's All Mental 5 Ways to Identify and Reject Sabotage

5 Ways to Identify and Reject Sabotage

by Erika Nicole Kendall

Don't do it, girl...

You know, sabotage is a funny thing.

A lot of us tend to live in the moment, right? I mean, we tend to “wing it.” We “fly by the seat of our pants.” In other words, most of our decisions are made based upon the here and now as opposed to where they’ll get us in the future or whether or not they’ll bring us closer to our goals. (And that’s the real problem, right?) The downfall of this kind of philosophy, however, is that this lack of consciousness leaves us ripe for sabotage to take over… because an “unconscious” person won’t really ever notice that the sabotage is taking place. They’ll only recognize the repercussions of that sabotage after the fact, be it weight gain, fatigue, declining health… whatever.

Sabotage is defined as “an act or process intending to hamper or hurt; a deliberate subversion.” In this context, sabotage is basically an effort someone puts forth to distance you from your goal – whether that goal is improved health, weight loss, an increase in ability… whatever. It’s an intended effort to get in your way.

It’s obvious to see how a lack of awareness can allow for sabotage to get in the way. Your “work friend” offering you a donut even though she knows you’ve lost 23lbs thus far and want to keep the momentum going. Your friends inviting you out to eat, and picking on you about how you need to “live a little” and “enjoy yourself” (because, you know, food is the only way you can enjoy yourself nowadays.) If you weren’t thinking, you might respond to claims of “Aw, come on.. you need to live a little!” with “I know, I know… besides, I have been good lately… why not?” and before you know it, you’re “I know, I know”ing yourself into a plateau or right back into your bad habits. Before you know it, the work donut becomes a part of your daily routine… and you’re suffering hunger and fatigue because you’re eating that instead of something of nutritional value. Bonus points if it’s from one of those gigantic donut chains that fry donuts that aren’t made of, well… food.

Those acts of sabotage, I find, are much easier to solve. You have to think about each word said to you before you respond, and think about each bite of food you put into your mouth. Resolve, to yourself, that it’s okay to take the unpopular stance in regards to food, and like I’ve said before: considering how almost 70% of American society is overweight… it’s not very sane (or smart) to listen to random suggestions from people, especially when they contradict what you’d normally do.

The most complicated acts of sabotage, however, are the ones that come from ourselves. Sneaking unhealthy snacks, eating a cupcake “every other day instead of every day,” buying things in the grocery store that you know aren’t clean, justifying your unnecessary use of sugar because your food “doesn’t taste good without sugar (then why are you eating it?)” or even skipping your workouts – day after day – because you “look good anyway.” I “looked good” at 300lbs… “looking good” isn’t why I work out. I won’t even get on the “hiding food” phenomenon. Yet.

We are, sometimes, our own worst enemy. We can manipulate ourselves. Easily. If I know that I want an excuse to indulge in unplanned cheesecake… guess what? I know exactly what to say to myself to justify why I should eat that cheesecake. I know how that cheesecake might make me feel after indulging… and that’s all the reason in the world to manipulate myself into diving right in… tongue first. It’s basic addict behavior, and that’s why sabotage is such a serious issue. It’s a means of enabling ourselves into continuing bad behavior.

How can we work to stop self-sabotage? I humbly offer up a few suggestions for how I deal with self-sabotage (because really, it is a life-long practice. People never stop wanting to see you gorge yourself and possibly… slowly… work yourself back up to your former weight.)

  1. Accountability – see yourself as if you are your own boss. You wouldn’t intentionally sabotage a project that your boss assigned to you… well, unless you wanted to be fired. You may not be able to fire yourself, but you need to see “poor health” as an equally damaging consequence of your actions.
  2. Consciousness – you cannot identify a situation that needs accountability without being aware. No sleeping at the wheel – every time you eat, it has to be a deliberate effort… not just lazily or thoughtlessly snacking and thinking “I can afford it.” What you can afford today… adds up tomorrow.
  3. Diversion – find something else to do! Divert your attention elsewhere. Go for a walk. Go read a book. Go engage someone or something that doesn’t have anything else to do with food.
  4. Challenge yourself – the behavior that causes sabotage comes from a line of thinking that must be altered. The thinking that implies that it’s “okay” to do something you’ve already identified as wrong… it needs to go. Spend some time questioning why you believe it’s “okay” to do what you know you shouldn’t, and spend some time with the next step…
  5. Reframing – it is important to reframe your perception of not only the act of sabotage, but yourself. It is horrible to sneak in unplanned food. It’s not just wrong, but it is horrible – it is literally a flat tire when you’re looking gorgeous and on the road ready to hit the town. It is unacceptable. It is ridiculous to avoid devoting ten minutes of time to yourself to relax, to workout, to cook dinner. Even more.. it is horrible to keep myself from the pleasure I’d feel in achieving my goal.

Sabotaging ourselves, or allowing thers to sabotage us, is a problem that is much easier to solve than it is to identify.. but if we make it a point to always be focused and aware, we can stop it before it gets out of hand. A little awareness goes a long way!

Do you deal with sabotage? Do you have peers who sabotage you? How do you avoid sabotage? Let’s hear it!

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Janel Johnson October 5, 2010 - 10:11 AM

Yeah I do especially from my friends and family. “You’re eating like a white girl.” “You’re so skinny already, why do you go to the gym?” Like what? It’s not a diet or get skinny quick, I just want to be fit. I don’t let anyone pressure me to change my eating habits wherever I am. I’m in control, it;s great to think like this.
Oh can you do a blog about maintaining your weight? I’m a college sophomore, I lost the freshman 7 and more over the summer. I’ve been eating clean, etc. P.S I use your weekly meal planner:-)

Lyn June 12, 2013 - 7:42 AM

How about when they offer you fries or part of their burger when you explicitly said that you were watching what you ate.

A so called friend actually said, I know you are watching what you eat but do you want some fries?

I was like huh.

@ MB I can attest to the significant other wanting to you be heavier. My ex always used to offer to go to fattening food places and order pizza’s when I constantly told him that I am watching what I eat. I had been telling him for like 2 years that I want to lose weight. Just be strong. It is sort of sad that you being more healthy and in shape makes some men insecure. The only thing that I can think of that may work is to break down and cry and really show him that what he is doing really hurts you.

Curlstar October 5, 2010 - 10:47 AM

You must have been reading my mind when you wrote this! I was preparing to send to you a question on how to stay the course and maintain progress. I have been a repeat offender of self-sabotage and I really could not comprehend the inspiration that keeps someone on the correct path. This is indeed needed guidance for me! πŸ˜€

UnbrokenBeauty1 October 5, 2010 - 10:51 AM

Great article and very true. There are many saboteurs in our way daily; planning ahead in expectation of the obstacles that will surely come is a great strategy for success.

Eve October 5, 2010 - 12:18 PM

Eeek…that photo…put it away…lol. I woke up Sunday morning craving a glazed donut so bad I could literally taste it. I mean I wanted it bad. πŸ™ The problem I had with that is that I haven’t had a friggin donut in almost a year, but I could still taste it..wth?? I got dressed and convinced myself I was getting a donut no matter what…turns out after I put on my clothes, had some tea and prepared my grocery list for the week…I completely forgot about the donut. ((Hugs)) #2 & #3 work wonders for me. We can do this!

MsA November 19, 2013 - 12:28 AM

Thanks I yielded to self sabotage on Sat. I hadn’t had ice cream in a week. So deserved it lil

Brandi October 5, 2010 - 12:21 PM

Good morning Ericka,

Thank you again girl for another “Great” article. This just happened to me this morning. I have a co-worker here who wears a size 2. She brings in sweets almost every week. She know that I am trying to lose weight. She ask me “hey Brandi do you want some cup cakes” I say no thank you. Like 15 minutes later she comes to my desk with not one cupcake but two on a napkin for me, what the heck! I took it and said thank you and threw them in the trash can. I swear people are evil for no reason and probably don’t have a clue that they are.

I am inspired every time I read your blogs and look at your pictures. I am going to fight this think called obesity.

Erika October 5, 2010 - 12:30 PM

This actually pisses me off. No, really. She probably enjoys watching you for a response. What a disgusting chick. Ugh.

Wesanda November 17, 2011 - 7:33 AM

Good for you Brandi… I am glad you threw them away… πŸ™‚

Brandi October 5, 2010 - 12:23 PM

PS Ericka I printed 1-5 and put it on my desk at work πŸ™‚

Shae B. October 5, 2010 - 1:43 PM

@Brandi, I have a co-worker like that,she isn’t a size 2 more like 22, but the motives are exactly the same. She always states to me that she wants to lose weight and can we work out together , I say sure,but she never follows through. Knowing that I am on this journey she brings in donuts and goes out to eat and asks me often if I want a donut or go out to eat with her. I say no. She admitted to me the other day, that if I get a donut, then she wouldn’t feel so bad about eating her’s… UGH.. really??.. I just walked away….I realize that this is MY journey not anyone else, I got to do whats best for me…

Erika October 5, 2010 - 1:56 PM

WTF? You guys cannot be serious. That makes me SO angry!

What kinda “misery loves company” kinda crap is going on with people? A donut is SO not that serious. Good grief! LOLOL

Sophie August 8, 2011 - 10:29 AM

Erika! I have a sabotage story! I had a co worker, who’s now an ‘ex’ friend because of their sabotaging efforts. She said she wanted to lose weight too so she started working out and I’d join her at her apt complex in the mornings before work. Before long I actually started losing, but she didn’t. She didn’t change her eating habits, but I did. So she started watching everything I ate and scolded me for being too strict. Then she started cutting our workouts shorter and shorter, waiting for me to arrive and text me and say, “oh I’ll be there in just a few minutes” and I’d be stuck, and have to wait because she had the key. I’d end up doing 10 min workouts. Then she would constantly offer me snacks I was cutting out like cake or cheez-its, things like that, never anything healthy. Eventually she started spreading rumors at work that I was starving myself and several people had approached me and were concerned. That was the last straw. I cut ties with her kept up my program and workout at another gym and have lost 50 lbs. She lost 0 and we are not on speaking terms. Has this happened to anyone along their weight loss journey? How common is it for people to lose ‘friends’ because they lost weight?

Lyn June 12, 2013 - 7:49 AM

To answer your question, any time I try to or improve anything, I lose friends, I don;t know what it is. Guess that lets you know who your real friends are.

I am of the mindset “if I eat, you eat” so if I am improving, I want that improvement in me to have a positive effect of my friend, but that doesn’t always work.

But that will tell you when you are being successful with your goals, your true friends will commend you and the fake friends will start to hint that they are displeased with you becoming a better person.

It really will make you a stronger person.

Brandi October 5, 2010 - 3:07 PM

@Shae B LOL, She sounds like a person that can see the potential you have to lose the unwanted pounds and does not have the will power you have and is hating on the low. People are so miserable. You are so correct it is “your” journey”.

Ericka just keep the good articles and motivation coming you are my blessing πŸ™‚

rissa October 5, 2010 - 3:11 PM

man oh man, literally 8 minutes ago i just got through eating some ice cream. i was doing so well today: i ate regularly (breakfast 2 days in a row, u don’t understand how much of an accomplishment this was)and i ate real food for lunch, very balanced chicken, asparagus, sweet potato. so there was an ice cream social. I managed to say no to the first 4 people who asked if i was going to get ice cream. by the 5th person, i just gave in after watching everyone creating their sundaes. i need to have a better game plan. Issues 3 and 4 need some work. thanks for the post erika.

Asia October 5, 2010 - 5:18 PM

Wonderfully timed blog! I deal with this often. I can make it through my work day on plan, only to get home and consume everything in sight. Its a terrible feeling/ habit –that I’m having a hard time kicking. Thanks for the tips and for such a motivational blog!

Nannette Wade October 9, 2010 - 4:47 PM

love – “it is horrible to keep myself from the pleasure I’d feel achieving my goal”. Will mediatate on that phrase to stop self-sabotage and say no to friends and co-workers. Thanks.

Tiff October 9, 2010 - 6:16 PM

This happens to me almost everyday. I have a friend who says she wants to lose weight and I have invited her many times to the gym with me and also introduced her to a few of my workout tapes. I bring my lunch to work and try to stick with it no matter what is served to the children (I teach and have to eat lunch with the them) I say no to all the unhealthy food that is being served to the kids everyday only to find my friend at my classroom door asking me if I want to go with her to get fast food. I have been telling her no but this has not stopped her from asking me. I have started this weight loss journey and I fully intend to reach my goal!

JoAnna October 9, 2010 - 7:37 PM

Hey Erika.

Nice post. I have a very large relative living with me recuperating after extensive back surgery who regularly brings in junk. Not even good tasting junk. And I will admit that after working all day, then classes, I’ll come in and find half a Lousiana crunch cake on the counter. Or a package of chocolate chip cookies. Or leftover take-home plates from church of mac and cheese, biscuits, and fried chicken. The more I try to “eat clean”, the more stuff she brings into the house. The few times I did succumb to temptation, I didn’t like the food. It helps that I already cook, and can say “Take 30mins to outcook that greasy, underseasoned, oversalted, nasty food…”

She’s moving out in 2 months. Driving her around was like having a starving 6 year old in my car. She couldn’t remember that I had to be at work at such and such a time each week, but every drive-thru Tasty-Kreme, White Castle Hamburger, and KFC is GPS’d in her brain!

And yes, the promises to join me in the pool never cease… She has locks dyed Dark and Lovely honey-brown that the chlorine might bleach. And her legs hurt too much today to walk around the block. And her arms are aching too much to try to do weights in her bed. And I should sit with her and listen to her ailments. ‘sigh’

I’m not where I should be yet, but I do look a lot better in my clothes. I went out the other night in a just above-the-knee skirt that I could FINALLY get into comfortably, and she went into this tirade about enticing men… And I smiled, told her that I looked good, was grown, and goodnight.

I avoid sabotage by telling myself I do not want to look like her in 25+ years, in her poor health, nor be unable to physically get myself out of harms way. It’s not a pretty picture, but it keeps me on track.

Erika October 9, 2010 - 7:42 PM


PLEASE elaborate on the following point:

“I went out the other night in a just above-the-knee skirt that I could FINALLY get into comfortably, and she went into this tirade about enticing men… And I smiled, told her that I looked good, was grown, and goodnight.”

WHAT in the WORLD did she say to you?!

JoAnna October 10, 2010 - 7:17 AM

Hi Erika.

To this relative, because I wear more than a size 10, anything form flattering is “ghetto”. Lessee… It went something like:

“How dare I leave the house showing off all my legs like some tramp… Probably trip and sprain an ankle in those heels… Just because I lost a little weight doesn’t mean I should dress like I’m walking the streets… I’ll probably catch pneumonia showing off all that skin… What kind of Christian man wants to see all that?…” and so on.

The outfit was a black and white floral print just-above the-knee pencil skirt (as per Tim Gunn), and a loose v-neck black short sleeve tunic top with 2″ sandal heels. The skirt fit well enough to show off my flatter stomach, but loose enough that I could spin it around to unzip it. I don’t do painted on clothes! Oh! And this was mid-September when the temps were still in the high 70’s.

She’s one of those who believe that larger sized women should dress in polyester muu-muus, go to church, sing in the choir, and just accept it instead of working to look and feel better. Oh and all the drug trials and weight-loss ads she keeps throwing in my face so I can eat what I want “like a normal person” and still lose weight… Like I said: 2 months! Then FREEDOM!!!

Erika October 10, 2010 - 9:07 AM

I just… I don’t understand this. At ALL. My mind is completely BLOWN right now.

JoAnna, I’m so sorry that you’re dealing with this! Out of the kindness of your heart, you’re sharing your home with a loved one who can’t help but try to force you to share in her misery. You might’ve been a little jazzy (just a tad, of course *wink*) but you deserve to dress how you like and enjoy the fruits of your labor. I’m positive you looked gorgeous!

Oh, and shoutout to “eating like a normal person…” especially when the “normal person” in America is overweight. Yeah, shoutout to that. LOL

JoAnna October 10, 2010 - 7:09 PM

Speaking of eating like a normal person, I have a friend who is a size “0”. She gorgeous inside and out, and models part-time. Her favorite place is Buffalo Wild Wings. So we went last week. I ordered a large green salad with chicken. She ordered a dozen wings and fries. The waiter came out and put the wings and fries in front of me and the salad in front of her. ‘Cause you know all large black folk can’t wait to tear up some wings and hot sauce!!! LOL!

We laughed it off, and she joked that she was going to enjoy her wings while she could because the women in her family balloon up after a child or two into a 10-14. She didn’t try to feed me her wings or dessert, and we were able to have a nice dinner. I get more “sabotage” from my larger friends. Can’t eat with ’em. They’ll start with a bucket of chicken, a salad with white pasta, egg, and ham, rolls, and peach cobbler for fruit. And they wonder why the weight doesn’t come off… or it comes off then comes right back.

Erika October 10, 2010 - 7:31 PM

Awwww, yay for good, considerate, realistic friends. πŸ™‚

BOOOO to the wings, though. C’mon son… LOL!

Leah January 31, 2011 - 12:30 PM

I like to call it projection. They project all the bad feelings they have about themselves onto you. I love that so many on the journey are willing and excited to share their healthy experience with those claiming to want help. A beautiful article and applicable to so many goals in life not just weight loss. Wishing you all continued success in battling sabotage whether self imposed or from those around you.

Tiki April 29, 2011 - 7:32 PM

Oh my…I think this article was written for me right at this moment. I just finished a bag of Sugar-free Caramel Nips when I was only going to eat a few. I knew when I bought them that it wasn’t a good idea, but I talked myself right into it. I’m struggling with self sabotage and strong sugar cravings (sugar addiction). I’m going to make more of an effort to change. I have to.

Thank you for this article and your “real talk” commentary which is helping guide me and so many others on a journey to a healthier lifestyle.

Lucinda November 17, 2011 - 4:52 PM

Tiki,I have been battling with sugar addiction.Last week my cousin who is a personal trainer told me to keep sugar free gum in the house to help me with that.It has helped me a lot.I also use the whipped cream in the can in my bowl of strawberries and bananas that I eat for a snack sometimes.Shockingly it doesn’t have a lot of sugar in it.I get the great value kind.This is the first week I haven’t had something sweet every single day!That is uasually how I sabatage myself!I hope this helps.Be blessed on your journey!

Sandra July 17, 2011 - 10:38 AM

I think my mom is sabotaging me. I talk to her about how I’ve put on too much weight just sitting around the house and need to eat healthier. When she goes to the store she buys a cake or like yesterday she purchased a cheese cake. Cake and ice cream are my downfalls and I have told her this. I have spoken to her about buying more fresh fruit and vegetables, even going to our local health food store to buy groceries but it falls on death ears. I purchase food from the local health food store, stuff I like b/c I have attempted to cook for her and she doesn’t like it. What can I do? I have told her if it is in the house I’m going to eat it. I don’t have the will power to not eat the cake. Don’t get me wrong, I sabotage myself at times by purchasing ice cream from the health food store or Wally world. I need help in not buying bad food items and not falling for the stuff my mom purchases. Help!!

Crystal July 23, 2011 - 5:57 PM

I am a fan of your posts and this particular subject came RIGHT ON TIME. This is my 2nd journey at weight loss and ultimately living a healthier lifestyle. My first attempt failed because my weight loss came about due to depression. During my depression the ‘trooper’ within me began walking to deal with my overall mental state at the time. Long story short, I moved closer to family. My family is an ‘eating family’ and slowly but surely the weight returned. This time I have really been doing a lot of meal planning, packing my lunch, resisting all the treats that the pharmaceutical reps bring to doctors’ office where I work, I even bring food for myself to family gathering. I’ve explained to my family about the lifestyYou can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.

Thermidor July 26, 2011 - 6:19 AM

I think I’m lucky here. I’m mostly a self saboteur. ):

Star Waters August 21, 2011 - 10:05 PM

My biggest saboteur was my (now deceased) husband. Whenever I’d begin to reap some results on my diets, that is when he would start wanting to go out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Stopping to pick up fast food snacks increased. I would always end up loosing my resolve and just giving up. It took me a couple of years of connecting the dots of the cycle that I began to take greater caution of his ‘kindness.’ After an ultimate break up, when after him being out of the house for about 3 months, and I had managed to ‘release’ about 30 pounds, upon his return and his acknowledge that I was slimmer, I saw him immediately ‘go into action’ trying to fatten me up! By then, I saw what he was doing, his motives were crystal clear to me and I was then able to resist his attempts of eating out or snacks brought home just ‘for the kids’ of coarse; knowing that salty snacks were my weakness. I did manage to lose about 60 pounds while we were together, but it was only because I was always on guard and got stronger consciously to fight off his temptations. A relative who sabotages is the hardest to overcome. You can get confused about their true agenda.

Tiera November 15, 2011 - 3:47 PM

Ok now I have NO issues with self- sabotage. It’s the people around me. It’s my “friends” and “family.” It’s not that I get sucked into their sabotage, but more so that I tell them “No thank you” and they still insist. Then they KEEP insisting. It gets on my nerves. How do I get them to understand that I mean “No” and that I’m NOT depriving myself? I’m not just telling myself “No” because I’m “on a diet.” I say “No” because I genuinely don’t desire that doughnut or that pizza. I’d rather make my own doughnuts and pizza because I can monitor the types of ingredients used in them. I can also calculate the caloric value. I love doughnuts. I just would rather make my own. Even then, I only make them occasionally. I make my own everything just about. People just don’t understand that when I say “No,” I really don’t desire it. It’s NOT because I’m “telling myself no because I might mess up my diet.” I’m not “on a diet.” I’m on a “lifestyle change” and I love it! I love the natural taste of foods. That doesn’t mean that I don’t season my foods because I do. What I mean is that I refrain from so much salt usage. Chicken actually tastes great in its natural state! When I look at greasy, fried, sugary, salty, processed junk, I make a face. It’s not a good face, either. During a church dinner, I waited until everyone else ate. Then everyone kept asking “Aren’t you gonna eat?” I ate, just very last and I ate very picky-like. Nothing there was healthy let alone “clean” so I just made the best choices based on what was there. I kicked my own behind for it later. I don’t really give into sabotage because I know that later on, I’m gonna feel bad about it. I have many other things to rant about but I’m gonna refrain from ranting about them in this one comment.

Wesanda November 17, 2011 - 7:31 AM

Misery loves company…. I have a friend who knows how far I have come and who does call me to go to happy hour after work, which you know nothing good can come from it… But, she can’t be completely blamed… I see the self sabotage that I do… I am glad you spoke on this, cause lately here my goals have been out of focus and I found myself the other day enjoying a chocolate cake ($1 slice) from a major chain grocery store that I know is full of processed foods… Hey, I am glad I noticed it…now it is time to do something about it.. I have a birthday party coming up.. and I am up for the challenge to do the right thing…. πŸ™‚ Keep up the fight ladies…

Anita November 17, 2011 - 3:19 PM

I am the cause of my downfall! I sabotage myself with thinking I can eat Haribou Gummy Bears….sometimes! I know I can never just eat a few, but I try anyway. Then end up eating the whole darm bag…490 calories!!! I have new strategy to kee me on track now. I have a daily calendar reminder at 12:00 noon that says “Stay the course (Don’t Slip…170)” I am over 60 lbs down at 178 and am goaling for 170

Eloquence, Inc. February 4, 2012 - 10:49 PM

I sabotage myself all the time…with sweets. I tend to look NOTHING like what I really weigh (although I FEEL the weight)…so I convince myself in a heartbeat or less when I feel like something sweet (and that is once every day).

But I recently weighed myself and was shocked I had actually put on 10 pounds in the last 3 months. And not from working out either.

I said I need to get way serious because I LOOK nice from the front but I carry a lot of weight towards the back where I don’t see…I took a front back and side picture of myself today as my before picture, and the front and side don’t look too bad at all, matter of fact, i went to the mall earlier in my workout clothes and a guy nearly broke his neck doing a double take, it felt great, he just looked bowled over…but the picture of the back view looks horrible to me. I use to be able to see my shoulder blades and I tell myself everytime I let myself be weak and eat sweets more than once or twice a week, THAT’S where it’s going! There’s a lot of weight hiding on my upper body that needs to go and being half assed about the gym (scuse the language) and about eating food I’m okay with (probly not going to be a salad all day person anytime soon) is NOT going to get me where I want to be!

I tend to eat better naturally by exercising, so my first major focus is to get in the gym seriously and stop missing days…and drink enough water. The next time I go back to my home country on vacation I must look banging! πŸ™‚

pam April 5, 2012 - 9:55 AM

I love your blog. And I know just what you mean by sabotage by self and others. I started the 4 hour body diet last fall. If you don’t know, the four hour body relies on a lot of beans. You eat beans, a protien, and a green leafy vegetable several times a day. Then one day each week is your “binge day” and you eat what you want. It was wonderful and things were going great. I was once a hard core vegan, and so eating a mostly plant based diet feels natural and right to me. I don’t do well with portion control, and I do very well with the entire forbidden foods thing. And there’s always Saturday to look forward too when I can actually have a fruit smoothie with all the junk we like to add and tell ourselves it’s still okay, or that tiramisu cheesecake. On sunday morning it’s back to hard boiled ebbs, lentils and collard greens for breakfast. Until I woke up one morning, and I felt that if I saw another lentil in life I was going to hurt somebody. So I stopped eating the beans at breakfast and replaced them with an organic, fresh ground and seasoned turkey sausage patty.
What I didn’t know was the slow burning carbs in the lentils were keeping me away from the chocolate candy and Famous Amos choco chip cookies in the snack machine at work. I work in what is euphemistically called an “urban” middle school. We can’t back hand the babies, even when they cuss us out (and we can’t cuss back either). A few carbs in the system help to deal with that stress. Without that buffer from my morning lentils, I reached right for those peanut m and m’s. A very long story short, the 15 pounds of fat that I lost from November-Jan have come back because I sabotaged myself from jumpstreet by not eating those beans. And if I am honest, I must admit that neither Thanksgiving nor Christmas fell on Saturday this year either and I ate like they both did. Leftovers too. I have a big pot of lentils at the ready all of the time now. I’m taking this as a lesson as I get back in the saddle. I’m looking at 30 lbs down by the 4th of July.

misskate April 11, 2012 - 3:15 AM

I am so glad you linked to this post from today’s post. It is exactly what I needed to read. I’ve been working really hard to kick the sugar habit and I am twelve days into a sixteen day sugar fast. The cravings are coming fast and hard. So far, I’ve been able to cope, but it’s getting more difficult. I am my own worst enemy, but I’ve been so proud of what I’ve been able to do the past twelve days, that I hope I can make it the next four.
Then all I have to do is deal with the treats in the staff room next week. (Between my colleagues who love to bake and students’ birthday treats, it’s a minefield.)
Thank you again so much for your blog. It is a source of inspiration and motivation.

M.B. June 16, 2012 - 9:43 PM

Hi, Erika…my husband seems to be standing in the way of my weight loss plans. I was very thin when we met and he wanted me to gain weight on a subconscious level. He didn’t actually come out and say it, but I believe he was insecure about our relationship. He thought I would be with other guys, so he pushed food on me until fast forward a few years later and now I’m overweight and I can’t seem to shed these pounds.

He comes from a family where healthy eating isn’t a priority (although his father is trying to make better lifestyle choices in terms of diet/exercise).

My husband works out daily but tends to eat really bad food for the most part. He constantly tries to push unhealthy food on me, whether it is fast food or foods heavy in carbs and sugar. I only have the chance to cook meals at home once in a while.

He loves me but I believe he wants me to be fat because of his own insecurities. If I looked really hot and wore nice clothes, he would feel threatened by that. He has issues with sex and attractive women in general.

I also don’t have much opportunity for exercise anymore. I used to be very fit but now I’m basically a couch potato.

Please, can you offer any suggestions for being firm when my husband tries to get me to eat greasy, fatty, or sugary food? I had a nice body until I met him and then I gained a ton of weight. Thanks in advance!

Erika Nicole Kendall June 17, 2012 - 9:16 PM

Wow. Overwhelming. Q&A Wednesday?

Rooo June 1, 2013 - 12:49 PM

I’m not sure I saw this one, and … particularly in view of Monseigneur Four Boxes of Chocolate and others like him (clearly), I’d really like to see it. Can a sister get a link?

Erika Nicole Kendall June 1, 2013 - 3:56 PM

Girl, I never got around to it. Scandalous, right?

Might have to come back to it, though.

Kay Tee August 13, 2012 - 7:53 PM

YIKES!!…I guess I’m more of a self-saboteur … though not with food – with exercise. I will talk myself out of working out … but I have to say that it’s my support network (family and friends) that normally get me back on track.

I have to say though, for the ones with the saboteurs around…I liken them to the negative folks that much be banished from my realm…and I’m serious about that. Co-workers – no much you can do about them – but for me…I put them in their place once and succinctly. I have a male co-worker who I call squirrel. I have seen him balloon up over the past 4 years at least 40 pounds…and he is ALWAYS bringing junk to the office..I mean piles and piles of cakes, cookies, etc…and I can hear him 3 aisles away smacking.

He told my boss I offended him one day when he bought his crumb cake over to me and I was rude in my refusal. I told him if I wanted REAL FOOD, I’d go to a restaurant – and unless he was bringing me WORK..then I w wasn’t interested in his cookie, cakes etc. And I was a little mean about it because he KEPT DOING IT. My boss laughed…and Squirrel hasn’t done that since…it’s been 3 yrs since he offered me any butter cream frosted cookies (BLECH).

I am not a rude person, but I’m a serious person and I don’t have time for the passive aggressive nonsense people carry around, trying to share their burdens with the world.

I have gone from a size 26 to a size 18, SLOWLY, over the past 2 years … and I’m keeping the weight off. Negative people=Saboteurs and they don’t get a spot in my realm. πŸ˜‰

Alana August 8, 2013 - 12:44 AM

Hey Erika–thanks for this! I was just reading a chapter out of Kelly McGonigal’s book,The Willpower Instinct, and chapter four talks about “moral license.” The basic idea is that once we do something “good” we think we are entitled to do something “bad”– in other words, self-sabotage. She relates this to the whole halo effect–and to self identity–it even makes progress somewhat perilous. Really interesting stuff. I highly recommend it.

As for personal self-sabotage, a few days ago I mentioned to my husband that I will be making an effort to lose these 20 pounds I gained these past two months. Today, he offered me an ice cream sandwich. (It was free from work–right next door to the Lucerne Ice cream plant). Sigh. I’d said I’d eat it later, but he pointed out it would melt (we in the car going home) so, I ate it. To be fair to him, I was inhaling potato chips and m&m’s (and slapping his hand away) just last week.

Erika Nicole Kendall August 8, 2013 - 10:36 AM

“The basic idea is that once we do something β€œgood” we think we are entitled to do something β€œbad”– in other words, self-sabotage. ”

This is a REALLY GOOD point. Hmmm.

Daisy September 9, 2013 - 10:47 AM

I recently experienced the latter and it came after a family member of mine said I was disappearing and that some meat on my flesh is good. I subconsciously registered that message and went on a junk-food crawl that same day; justifying my choices with the thought that I was “disappearing” You see, I’ve been eating healthy and exercising and have lost a few pounds as a result but even though the scale says I am within my healthy weight range the truth is that I AM THE ONE who sees my body everyday. Even though I am not overweight, there are areas I want to tone up. I used to explain this to people but after observing that I gave them reason to find “flaws” on my body, I’ve decided to do my thing. Eat right and live life. I’m trying to get to a place where food is an addition not the main equation.

Having said that, I’ve always wondered about buying fruit instead of pastry for my family and I suppose by buying the latter, I have also been a saboteur without knowing. And while it has not been done to make them fat (God knows they roll their eyes with all my talk about clean eating and how they can benefit from it) it’s more of a “this is what you like and I can treat you to it once in a while” (as I do with myself) There’s a lot of psychology involved in this eating game!

Meri September 30, 2013 - 4:03 AM

I second the reccomendation of The Willpower Instinct. I have it on audiobook and listen to it every day, even for a few minutes. It very seriously helps. Willpower isn’t exactly what we have been taught to think it is. It is so much more.extensive and something we can build and control!

Tamara C. January 7, 2014 - 1:35 PM

“Spend some time questioning why you believe it’s ‘okay’ to do what you know you shouldn’t…”

This was a total light bulb moment for me! I’ve been sabotaging myself a lot lately with post-dinner/evening snacking. I recognize that I’m sabotaging myself, but I haven’t taken the extra step in questioning why I think it’s okay to keep doing it. Great suggestion to aid with reframing. Thank you!

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