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The Number One Weight Loss Saboteur

Are you sabotaging your weight loss efforts before you even start?

by Meri Raffetto RD, LDN  |  2640 views  |  1 comment  |        Rate this now! 

Are you sabotaging your weight loss efforts before you even start? Many people are: 95 percent of dieters regain their weight and, each time they lose and gain, they are affecting their metabolism and making it that much harder to lose the next time.

There are many reasons why we end up in this yo-yo cycle, including mind set, emotional eating, stress, food cravings, past conditioning, unstable blood sugar, and habits. However, there is one concept that can either set you up for success or failure before you even begin taking action. In my 11 years working with weight loss, it is the number one self saboteur I see.

I can sum it up with a sentence: "I have to lose weight". Whenever we "have to" do something, it draws up a lot of negative energy around the action. When we have negative energy towards an action, our brain goes on overdrive to find ways out of it. Think about this in an extreme case. Imagine if I said that bungee jumping would be a great way to lose weight. All you have to do is jump off a bridge. For some of you thrill seekers it may be no big deal, but for most of us our brains are going to find every excuse to get out of it. We don't want to do that particular action to get the end result.

When we "want to" do something we are excited and look forward to it. The new behavior doesn't feel like a chore. There are no negative feelings, just positive feelings. This shift can make or break your weight-loss efforts. Look at the following sentences and see the energy difference:

"I have to go on a walk today since it is one of my weight loss goals."

"I can't wait to get home and go for a walk to relax, get some fresh air and me time."

You can feel the energy difference here. The end result of weight loss is desired by both people. However, if you don't want to do the action steps you aren't going to find much success. Soon excuses will come up and you will find other things that are more important and stop taking action all together. This is a completely natural progression. With food, though, it is even worse because we may be trying to let go of food choices and habits that we actually like. This is a recipe for failure. How can we possibly stay motivated to make change when we don't like the actions and don't really want to give up our old habits? The trick here is to turn the "have to" into a "want to."

First it is important to get clear if this is an issue for you. Here are two ways to see if you are a victim of the "have to" saboteur:

1.) When you think about losing weight you feel good about the end result, but when you begin thinking about dietary and exercise changes you get a negative feeling in your stomach. It is loud and clear that the action steps don't bring you any kind of pleasure.

About the Author

Meri Raffetto is a Registered Dietitian, and a columnist for Work It, Mom! and the founder of Real Living Nutrition Services, an online weight loss program that empowers people to make small changes s

Read more by Meri Raffetto RD, LDN

1 comment so far...

  • Great article Meri. Even fellow dietitians need a mental boost once in a while. Especially those living in the Northeast awaiting springtime!
    Readers can also consider trying yoga: It's a great way to make positive connections between mind and body:)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Rosanne Rust on 7th March 2008