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How to stop self-sabotaging your diet and fitness goals

Cindy Lai Fitness Wellness GuideYou’ve decided to get healthier, maybe lose some weight and clean up your diet. You’re on a mission and you’ve set some major goals to be accomplished.  You’re on fire and think “I can do this, nothing’s going to stop me!”  Days turn into weeks, which turn into months, and little to no change is happening. By now you’re in this vicious cycle. You’re beyond frustrated and you keep beating yourself up. You don’t know how to get out of it.  Sound familiar?

It’s easy to get caught up in the internal chatter every time you feel bad about yourself.  You’ve missed a workout, indulged in more calories than you needed, or drank too much. You get angry at your lack of self-control and try to make it up by doubling up your workouts, all the time filling your head with negative thoughts. This gets overwhelming after a while and you fail before you can try again.

Unlike your career, where you need to put your best efforts forward and timing is crucial in succeeding, you cannot treat your health and fitness goals in the same manner without self-sabotaging yourself.  When you invest all your physical and mental energy into diet and fitness alone, the more you do so, the more likely you are to fail.  Your subconscious can be pretty powerful, but only if you let it take over your conscious. Taking care of your health and fitness should always be a lifelong goal. A healthy lifestyle and a good balance is required in achieving a happy mindset.

So how do we try to fix this?  Here are some quick tips to help you along your fitness journey:

  • Become self- aware –  What are the initial triggers? Is it someone from the past or a family member who made you feel bad about yourself? Or have you created these issues in your own head from the very beginning? Ironically, you may feel more comfortable with the negative self talk because it’s become familiar to you.  You already know what to expect.
  • Practice mindfulness – the definition is the intentional act of being present and focusing on your awareness objectively and without judgement.  If you’re mindful of your triggers and behavior patterns, this can help identify what’s causing these emotions. Accept the fact that you are human and just because you make mistakes or fall off track doesn’t make you a bad person. It would be helpful to keep a journal and write down what’s going on in your moment of weakness.
  • Take small steps along the way – Set realistic goals and adjust accordingly.  Be flexible with your methods and give yourself the praise you deserve when you make small accomplishments.  Any drastic measures will never last and will backfire in the long run.
  • Make sure you enlist a good support system – whether it’s a friend, significant other, family, mentor, personal trainer, or therapist, you need to surround yourself with encouragement and positivity to help guide you in the right direction.
  • Incorporate daily positive mantras and meditate – you deserve to be healthy and happy in your physical and mental wellbeing.  Instead of succumbing to the negative thoughts you’ve created in your head, you need to be more accepting of yourself.  It does take practice to clear your head of those thoughts which should be replaced with good vibes. Be patient and persistent.  Work on loving instead of bashing yourself.  Meditate, even if for only a few minutes a day to practice inner peace.  You can also download apps such as “Headspace” or “Calm” for guided meditations.
  • Don’t forget to have a life! Some of the busiest people are the most successful when it comes to achieving the desired physiques because they have other things to keep them occupied.  There is more to life than just health and fitness. Although it is very important, other things such as having hobbies, traveling, volunteering and participating in activities that you enjoy, leads to a much more fulfilling overall lifestyle.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others – this is a downward spiral which will never end unless you decide to change. Remember, YOU are unique.  There is no one like you, so focus on how far you have come.  Acknowledge your feats and accomplishments, no matter how small they are.  Stop being so hard on yourself and trying to achieve the impossible. It’s about growing, learning from your faults and moving forward.

Everyone has different ways of dealing with their issues. This is not an overnight process which you can fix with the snap of your fingers.  Whether you are able to resolve these issues on your own or with some help, show yourself some compassion. It’s ok to make mistakes and to face your fears.  You will only become a stronger and better person in the end. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint.  Take all the time you need to do what’s necessary for your soul.  You’re in this for the long haul. And don’t forget, you are awesome!

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