What is the deal??? You want to make better food choices but then… If you have a self-sabotaging diet, this post will walk you through 2 steps + 1 question you’ll want to learn.
It’s 4pm, you’re tired and… you did it. Again.
You start out the day with the best of intentions, but then you get sidelined by a persistent craving for something sweet. It’s not that your plans weren’t good– you really, really want to do better.
But, the same justifications tripped you up, once again.
“Why do I keep doing this?” you groan. You feel hopeless, irritated, and exhausted by your seemingly endless self-sabotaging diet.
What is a girl to do when tomorrow just becomes a rerun of yesterday?
This, it was the story of my life.
I can still relate to this Groundhog Day cycle where the “discomfort of change” blinds the desire to make choices that we’ll be proud of.
Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be the case.
Do You Have a Self-Sabotaging Diet?
So, what is self-sabotage and how does it plague you?
“Self-sabotage” is just an eery way of saying that you’re making choices that undermine your values and goals. You may not even be aware, and your decision to detour may even seem like the best choice in the heat of the moment.
A self-sabotaging diet can be…
…yielding to the mid-afternoon cookie to drown out a stressful day even though you know it’s not in your best interest.
…having an all-or-nothing eating attitude about your diet so that you’re bound to be “unsuccessful” and have an excuse to give in.
…longing to change, but wanting to be comfortable more.
Diet Self-Sabotage: You Underestimate the Challenge
When dieting is hard, it’s hard to keep going.
Here at Grace Filled Plate, you’ll learn how to make small, sustainable, pretty-painless changes. However, much of our discomfort (the discomfort that sends us running to the freezer with a spoon in hand) is birthed in our thinking.
One of the most common attributes of people who overcome difficult situations is that they accurately estimate the toughness of the challenges they face. Seems odd, right? But, this isn’t negative thinking. Rather, it’s taking a step back and making a neutral observation about what lies ahead.
Individuals who take the time to honestly assess their circumstances, adequately prepare and aren’t shocked or discouraged when opposition arises.
Those who tend to struggle the most are more likely to put themselves into tempting situations... They underestimate the challenge and overestimate their self-control or ability to make good choices.
They end up in over their heads and wonder what happened! Everything seemed copacetic but then “something” happened.
I have about a thousand examples of this phenomenon from my own life.
Diet Self-Sabotage: You Think Today is Different
I’d “cleansed” the house of this problem food just 7 days earlier. It was eaten until I was stuffed, destroyed so I could eat no more, and stuffed into the kitchen and then outside garbage bin. I was done!
Now, at the grocery store, I found myself fully convinced that I could bring this item home and eat it in a moderate and self-controlled way. I put my blinders on, blocked out the mountains of evidence that told me otherwise, and pushed forward with my wishful thinking.
It probably doesn’t surprise you that I found myself overeating said food, once again.
I consider myself to be a smart woman, but I ignored all the telltale signs in this “abusive” relationship.
It is so easy to spot these predictable patterns in the life of others. Standing from the outside, we can clearly see the common thread of behavior. It doesn’t shock us when the self-sabotaging diet scenario repeats itself.
In our own lives? Well, that’s another story.
Diet Self-Sabotage: You Think Tomorrow Will be Different
One of the biggest challenges to making good choices is that we fail to see the compounded outcome of our decisions…
We think “today I will give in but tomorrow– I will do better!” It is as if we expect the self-control fairy to sprinkle magic dust on us as we sleep.
RELATED POST: Bible Verses About Self-Control
But, as you and I both know, self-control is a skill that is developed over time with hard work and persistence. It’s rarely gifted.
You will show up tomorrow, just as you are today. To assume any different is wishful thinking.
Getting Real With Diet Sabotage
So what if we got real with ourselves and got on board with the truth about habits?
Habit are things we do most of the time.
If we did a certain behavior yesterday and the 30 days prior– there is a spectacular chance that we will do it again today and tomorrow.
If we always overindulge after dinner, what on earth would make us think tomorrow would be any different?
Let’s call ourselves out on our own (pardon my French) crap and get REAL! Making strides towards our goals will take work and we are fooling ourselves to think otherwise.
How to Stop Self-Sabotaging Diet Thoughts
When making a decision, it’s important to look at the facts…
What is your pattern?
How do you react more often than not?
What is likely to happen if nothing changes?
This isn’t an easy reality to swallow. But, nestled in the bravery of your honestly lives the fuel for change.
Being sick of your stuckness means you’re ready to do something different!
When faced with a choice that has the potential to keep you stuck, ask yourself, “Am I ok with making this choice every day for the next 30… 60… 90… days?”
Because, after all, isn’t that the truth? If we vote to do it “one more time,” that’s what we’re really saying.
When we compound our choices, we are able to make a decision based on ACTUAL FACT. You see, all of those times that you made the call to move forward and eat that food “just today,” you were making those decisions based on FAULTY evidence.
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”John 8:32 (esv)
They say ignorance is bliss but– is it really? Do we really want to spend hours, days, weeks, months, and years making choices without the full acknowledgment of the outcome of our decisions?
What To Do:
We often get stuck in cycles of repeated, unwanted behaviors because we don’t look at our situation objectively and honestly. By examining our history, we can see where the “current” is taking us and decide if we want to continue to float along or dive in and switch directions.
1. Take an honest assessment.
If you find that you struggle with persistent problems, pay attention and see if you are filtering out the difficulties and not adequately preparing. Challenge yourself to take a realistic view of the situations that are difficult for you. Then, set up gentle boundaries to guide you to better choices.
These are not rules. Rather, ways to show the same kindness to yourself that you would offer your child.
2. Listen For Justifications.
What lies are you telling yourself and what is your truth? Look for those times you glaze over what matters most, so that you can now make a decision you’re proud of.
Be sure, you won’t do it perfectly. But, each and every time you take your high road, you’re breaking old patterns and exercising those new lifestyle muscles you’re looking to build.
3. Ask the Question.
“Am I ok with making this choice every day for the next 30 or more days?” Ask it before, during, or after your diet sabotage and take a mental note. Some days you may choose to adhere to your long-term goals, other days you may not.
Don’t get caught up in the details or the days you gave into that persistent craving. Those are only distractions that can keep you from moving forward. Embrace your humanness, soak in God’s grace, and try. Again.
Brandice Lardner is a Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, Amazon #1 Best Selling Author, Homeschool Mom, and Jesus Girl whose mission in life is to help women ditch the diet mentality and find peace with food and their bodies so that they are better equipped to do the great things God has called them to do.
Kate Shepherd says
Thank you so much for this. X
You’re so welcome, Kim!
I am so thankful the Holy Spirit led me to you and your words of wisdom. I also have the Groundhog Day cycle that I am desperately trying to break. You wrote “self-control is a skill that is developed with hard work and persistence.” My mindset was that self-control was something I should have naturally – like freckles or hazel eyes. That one sentence feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I always felt like something was wrong with me because it didn’t come naturally. I am ready to roll up my sleeves and work hard along side the Holy Spirit with the fruit of the spirit. God bless you!
Hi Paula, I’m so glad you felt a burden lift with that realization. I should probably add to that sentence too as I truly believe self-control is a gift. Like we can’t make fruit grow on a tree, we can’t force self-control to grow. But, we can put in the “work” of seeking Christ. Hugs!
Thank you for this! Best article on this topic. I really appreciate it!
So glad you found it helpful, Kristie!