8 Ways To Sabotage Your Weight Loss

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Weight Loss Sabotage

No one sets out to deliberately sabotage their weight loss efforts. I’m sure that you don’t and I know I didn’t. But there are a lot of things we dieters do that do sabotage our weight loss efforts and some of those take place from the very beginning of our weight loss journey.

It’s always a good idea to evaluate your weight loss plan no matter if you are just starting out or if you have been plugging away for awhile. As you read through this list, be honest with yourself and ask yourself if you are sabotaging your own weight loss efforts using some of these common sabotage techniques.

By the way, I was guilty of almost all of these at one time or another during my 10 years of obesity.

1. Wait for Willpower to Kick In

Willpower, as I’ve written about before, can be quite elusive. Don’t wait for willpower to kick in because it may never “kick in” enough for you to successfully lose weight. Instead set yourself up for success by making deliberate choices that can turn into lifelong habits.

2. Focus Only on the Now

Focus on the now and you may lose weight, but can you keep it off. If your focus is to lose weight by your wedding or to fit into a size 8, you probably can do that. However, by focusing on the now instead of focusing on forever, you make it less likely that you are developing new habits that can help you maintain that weight loss forever.

3. Go for Deprivation

I know that sugar is bad for you. I get that. But I also know that total deprivation can sabotage your weight loss efforts really quickly. If you go for total deprivation from your favorite foods or special desserts, you will often find yourself eating other foods in an attempt to fill that void. Then the binge leads to another and before you know it, you’ve quit your diet.

4. Commit to an Unrealistic Exercise Program

Exercise is great. Exercise is important. But, committing to an unrealistic exercise program is a surefire way to sabotage your weight loss efforts. This will vary from person to person, but if you have not exercised in forever, you probably shouldn’t sign up for a marathon training program, take the hardest aerobics class at your gym, or otherwise set yourself up for failure.

Start your exercise program at a realistic level and go from there. You will be less prone to injury and more likely to keep it up.

5. Ignore Emotional Eating

You ignore the emotions surrounding your weight struggles at your own peril. If you try to lose weight without acknowledging what role emotions play in your eating patterns, you will find it difficult to get to your goal weight and stay there.

6. Be a Copycat

Just because your friend lost weight on the South Beach Diet or Weight Watchers doesn’t mean you will have success or enjoy that diet. Closely consider all the good and not-so-good points about any diet plan before trying it. Remember that we are all unique and what works for one person may not work for another.

7. Never Put Aside Bad Habits

You can lose weight eating Cheetos and sitting on the couch. You can. But if you lose weight by just eating smaller amounts of unhealthy food you are doing yourself a disservice and likely sabotaging yourself. Put aside your bad habits and replace them with healthier ones as you are losing weight.

8. Go on a Diet that Does Not Fit Your Lifestyle

There are a lot of good diets out there and a lot of bad ones. Sabotage yourself by going on a diet that does not fit your lifestyle. For example, if the plan you are trying requires you to eat a lot of a particular food and you hate it, there is no way you will be able to keep it up for long.

There you have it. My top eight ways to sabotage your weight loss plan. I know there are tons of other ways to sabotage yourself but these are the ones that came to mind for me. On a more serious note, here is a post I wrote about self-sabotage a while back.

Have you ever unintentionally sabotaged your weight loss efforts? Diane

Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Photouten


  1. Nadine says

    I’m a huge sucker for number 1 – always waiting for willpower to kick in and never did. Recently though, a quote I heard really resonated with me which was ‘do the thing and you’ll get the energy to do the thing’. Now I take action first and I’ve found willpower then finds me :)

  2. Mary Stein says

    OMG. Do I do all of these at one time or another? Absolutely.

    It’s part of the reason why I am still overweight years after I really wanted to lose weight. For me, I tend to jump on the latest thing my friends are trying and that hardly ever works.

    Thanks for a great and true post!

  3. Faith F. says

    I can identify with each of these on the list. I flit from program to program when I know I just need to find something that works for me that I can do FOREVER. That’s the key for me you know – something that everyone else does might not work for me because it doesn’t fit with my lifestyle.

  4. says

    I gained a lot of weight during a very stressful period of my life, and I had to really work through all the emotional issues and learn to deal with stress in other ways than with food. For a while, everything was fine and I lost weight when life was “perfect,” but then something stressful happened, and I struggled again. Only after I had figured out how to deal with stress was my weight loss permanent.

  5. says

    As I am preparing myself for skin removal surgery I keep thinking how this is a very permanent step in my life and how I’m also basically committing to keeping the weight off. I’ve already done that for a year, but I also self sabotage in the way of not letting go of bad habits. While I recover I will not be able to do heavy exercise for about six weeks and I’ve already decided this will be a good time to fine tune my eating and stop the bad habits.

    Thanks for the reminder, Diane!

  6. says

    I love #3 and # 5. I’m an emotiona; binge eater and my biggest binge food is chips. I’ve learned that if I avoid them and my salty cravings for too long I will trigger a binge. So I allow myself small pre-portioned quantities of kale chips. Or brown rice cakes, rice crackers and hummus or guacamole.

  7. says

    You’ve brought up so many good points, but I especially can identify with the ones on “elusive” willpower and only thinking about losing weight for a particular time or event. Early on at WW, I learned that I needed to find a way to eat that I could sustain forever. I also learned that this was not just a journey to a goal but a lifetime option that I would need to sustain if I was going to be successful. Knowing that changed my life and here I am, like you, continuing on still doing the things I did ten years ago to get to goal.

    Thanks for a great post, Diane. I love the thought you put into this.
    Caron recently posted…No Rest for the WearyMy Profile

  8. says

    This is the first post I read from you Diane and I want to say I’m very glad I found your site! Your story is very inspiring to me since I recently embarked on a journey to lose 95 pounds!

    Among all the great points you make #6 and #8 particuarly reasonnate. There’s no one-size-fits-all method. We all know that if we burn more calories than we eat we will lose weight over time, and that the best way to do this is through sensible eating and regular exercise. Other that this immuable truth, there are a number of ways to eat reasonably well and exercise. The first key is to find the methods that work for each of us, not for our neighbour around the block nor for the celebrity on TV. The second key is to ensure that we can enjoy life while using these methods to lose and maintain good weight. Life is too short to be miserable….

  9. says

    I’m prone to a particular form of sabotage in which you reward yourself with food after you’ve had some weight loss success. Because I’ve been good and I deserve it! I continually have to think of rewards that have nothing to do with food–like a phone call with a friend or watching a movie. If it’s a food reward, it has to be something that won’t totally wreck all my efforts. My current reward is a small Starbucks chai latte with only one pump (to limit the sugar). It’s more healthy when I make it at home, but there’s something about stopping while you’re out and about that makes the reward into an event.

  10. says

    Great tips!!! I know that I tend to work out a lot but when other people ask me about it I tell them it is what works for me but really not a good plan for everyone.
    And, the diet thing – so agree that it has to work with our individual lifestyle. I know so many people who jump on every single band wagon diet that comes along – funny since some of them contradict each other!!!
    Kim recently posted…Today We Honor a True American HeroMy Profile

  11. says

    Hi Diane, you have a great list…my favorites are not being a copy cat or setting unrealistic goals and also making my plans based on my lifestyle, initially because I would set unrealistic goals and made plans that just would not work I would always fail…now I keep all these points in my head

  12. says

    I understand that you are breaking this concept down into manageable chunks. That is good. Great pointers.

    But wanted to mention, if someone is ready to do the inner work. If someone has been yoyo-ing or repeating cycles for years, then very helpful to expand this concept and look at how one is actually sabotaging their life (and not just their “diet”).

  13. says

    Yep…good list. I especially think that we each need to figure out what is going to work for ourselves and not try to fit ourselves into a cookie cutter equation that worked for someone else.

    AND that realization that I am really an emotional eater was something that came as surprise to me….but I am recognizing it and now I can deal with it now.

    Thanks for the bost.
    Lynn recently posted…Nothing but the truth….the blog post about it all….My Profile

  14. says

    At different times, I think both 4 and 7 have been true for me. I almost fell into 4 recently. I am working on doing more activity and I almost started to do an exercise video that I really am not ready for yet. Thankfully, sanity prevailed and I chose something that was better for me where I am right now.

    As for 7, in the past I have had a tendency to do this with weight loss attempts. I would eat healthier somewhat, but didn’t make the changes that I really needed to make (I’m looking at you, fruits and veggies).
    Kitty recently posted…Great Day SundayMy Profile

  15. says

    These are all good ways to sabotage weight loss efforts, but no. 7 resonates with me. I was talking with some friends about this one last night and saying that I have learned by doing, by working at confronting my weaknesses, acknowledging them to others, and replacing the bad habits with better habits that will foster growth and understanding, but do not grow my waist line. I also struggle with analyzing the problem for far to long, which only delays realization of a solution. I need to DO more, and talk about doing, less.
    L recently posted…Driving AimlesslyMy Profile

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