Most people look at changes to their nutrition as something that’s strictly about the food, just take care of that and everything should go as planned, right ?
You’ve all heard the same advice time and time again about what to do to get healthier or lose some weight.
But it’s not that easy, if it was we wouldn’t have the obesity and preventable chronic disease rates that we do in our society.
This isn’t new information when it comes to health and fitness, but between knowing and doing there lives a large gap that most people get trapped in.
The problem isn’t the diets though, and in reality for a lot of you it has very little to actually do with food but what’s going on in between your ears.
You see this in chronic lifelong dieters, despite having tried every diet under the sun and having far more knowledge than others around them they seem destined to remain overweight and unhappy with their body.
This is because there’s a large psychological component that if not addressed will continue to sabotage you and prevent any real change from happening.
Or even worse...
You might be able to lose the weight quickly because you were able to restrict yourself into a lower bodyweight.
Eventually though, those old thoughts that you never actually addressed creep back in, and with them comes the weight you lost, only adding to the frustration of the situation.
If this sounds familiar it’s because it might be you, your mother, father grandmother, brother, cousin or sister.
And most of them fall into these thinking traps that sabotage their health and nutrition.
In this blog we’re covering the ways of thinking about nutrition and fitness that I’ve seen sabotage not only my nutrition clients, but people I talk with, friends and family.
Trap #1: The All Or Nothing Trap
With the all or nothing trap you find yourself treating your nutrition just like a light switch, you’re on or off your diet.
The main problem is you have no middle ground with your nutrition, and that’s a disastrous place to try to remain for too long.
You can only restrict yourself for so long before rubber band wants to snap back the other way because you’ve deprived yourself of foods you enjoy, and likely social situation.
You eventually break the seal and gorge on all the food you’ve been depriving yourself of.
Because you gave these foods forbidden power, and we want what we can’t have you’ll overconsume to compensate for the previous self inflicted deprivation.
Because the diet starts again on Monday and you better eat to make up for all the clean eating you’ll be doing the next few weeks too.
When you get around to actually getting back on track with your nutrition, a few Monday’s have passed. During this time you’ve gone off the rails have undone a lot of the progress you made and now feel discouraged to get back on the horse.
Trap #2: Self Licensing Behavior Trap
When you choose to overindulge frequently because you restricted yourself for the majority of the week this is known as self licensing behavior.
When we apply the idea of self licensing here it means that because you did something you didn’t enjoy like “eating clean” for the week that it justifies the overly indulgent meals on the weekends, or junk food binges.
The main problem here is that many times those overindulgences easily overshadow the dieting that’s been done during the week and easily stall out your progress.
The self licensing trap is when you pair something you don’t enjoy with a reward in direct opposition.
This would be rewarding yourself for a run with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream because you dislike running, but love ice cream. Who doesn't love ice cream though...
Trap #3: The Guilt Trap
A lot of the time what starts as the all or nothing trap can actually transition into the guilt trap.
When you haven’t met your goal for the day, or had a mishap along the way instead of brushing yourself off and start again tomorrow you engage in thoughts of guilt and negative self talk.
You may say things like “ I’m not even worth it, what did I think I could even do this to begin with.”
This hypercritical negative self talk only breeds more thoughts of failure and how your results are doomed because today didn’t go as planned.
This pattern of thinking can easily crush any momentum or motivation you’ve recently built up in a quick fashion.
You may even assume that shame and guilting yourself will be the motivation to get started again.
However more than likely it will only feed back into the negative self talk and can seamlessly becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.
Trap #4: Self Fulfilling Prophecy
When you continually tell yourself a negative story about who you are, and what you can accomplish you will find a way to make that story true.
A lot of the time this comes in the form of conscious or unconscious self sabotage.
I’ve had clients so anxious about the potential of their fat loss progress stalling that they started to purposely stall it themselves by sabotaging their nutrition.
Believe it or not, this is far more common than you think and if you look into the history of any lifelong chronic dieter you will see this pattern, guaranteed.
I’ve also had clients who identified so strongly with being overweight that the idea of having to change that story of who they, and the attention they’d get for their weight loss that they’d self sabotage.
I had a client who’d been a lifelong dieter and had lost and regained 100 lbs multiple times before we worked together.
When we got her on the right path for her fat loss goals, she was losing a good amount of weight on a weekly basis and the changes were physically noticeable.
She also had a history of self sabotage with her fat loss when things were going well. This time around all it took was a co-worker mentioning that she looked great and could tell she was losing weight.
She then missed multiple consultations, wouldn’t return emails or text and went full ghost mode on me.
When we got back in contact and chatted about what was going on, she explained that she went off plan daily for that last month because of the acknowledgement from the co-worker.
This example may sound extreme, but self sabotage comes in many shapes and sizes for different people, but looking out for that behavior is crucial to continue making progress.
Trap #5: The “Other Person” Trap
This trap is very common with a lot of you who have a hard time accepting responsibility for your dietary decisions around other people.
There is a big struggle with the idea of “missing out” for you and is a result of being too overly restrictive with your diet likely in this scenario.
Unfortunately there is always a scapegoat for why you chose to eat the foods that don’t align with your goals.
This isn’t meant to directly “call you out” but to help you realize this trap of thinking in your own life, and how it sabotages your nutrition and health.
You might have trigger foods you overeat, but use the “I can’t remove the food from the house because of my kids of spouse etc.”
When in the back of your mind you know your spouse and kids really wouldn’t notice all that much if the food was gone.
When you fall into this trap you’ll always have an excuse as to how someone else foods choices or preferences made you choose a specific food that doesn’t align with your goals.
If you find yourself falling into these traps on a regular basis and want help climbing out and making progress on your fat loss journey click HERE to apply for nutrition coaching.