How many times have you lost and regained weight? Have you ever lost only part of the desired weight and never reached your goal? Self-sabotage is usually the reason. An ancient philosopher described it best when he said that the mind of man is like a ship on which the crew have mutinied and locked the Captain in the brig. Each crewmember takes over the helm at whim, and the ships goes round and round, onto the rocks, into the shallows, never reaching its destination.
Get to Know Your Crew
The first step for success is to learn to recognize your own inner sabotaging crew and become aware of the situations in which you let them take over. These are the four key saboteurs whose actions will keep you from achieving permanent weight loss or maintenance.
This is the voice inside you that urges you to eat against your better judgment. It is the master rationalizer. How often has your Indulger murmured: You’ll feel better if you eat something, or Just a little bit won't hurt? That voice also says: Go ahead, you deserve it, or Don’t let it go to waste. The Indulger is usually at the core of every broken diet. It sounds like a loving voice, but it is killing you with love in the form of food. Is that really love?
This saboteur sometimes appears in the guise of the Perfectionist, Fault Finder or Controller. When your willpower falters the vindictive Critic snarls: You blew it! In the Critic's eyes you are never good enough, thin enough, smart enough, or perfect enough. The Critic is the supreme put-down artist. Do you have a Critic that tells you not to get rid of your fat clothes because you know you always gain it back? The Critic is unloving and unforgiving.
The Perfectionist Critic sets goals that are impossible and unrealistic. Diane shared that her Perfectionist demanded that she lose 10 pounds by Friday! No matter how much weight you lose the Perfectionist will not be satisfied. Diane said that her unloving Critic was like the Duchess from Alice In Wonderland who shouts "Off with her head!"
This saboteur eats to spite the inner Critic or other people in your life that act like critics. When the Critic is looking over your shoulder as you scan the contents of the refrigerator and telling you what you shouldn't eat, the Rebel pops up and says, I'll show you! and eats it all. The Rebel also says: I don't care, I want it! You can't make me, and What the Hell! as it gorges. This Rebel can be an exasperating character.
Miriam reported that after her husband made a disparaging remark about her weight, she angrily marched out to the kitchen and downed an entire package of chocolate chip cookies. The only trouble was that she hated chocolate chip cookies! Her Rebel was saying, “You think I’m fat. You ain't seen nothin' yet.” The Rebel is a very angry part of your personality. Many people who are afraid to express their anger will eat at the person they would like to yell at.
The Rebel is like a child having a temper tantrum. It is a part of you that tends to feel deprived when you diet and is afraid of giving up certain foods. Try to understand that this inner child gets greedy when it feels needy. Look for its other unfulfilled needs. When you get what you really want: love, approval, fun, safety, etc you won’t want to binge.
This saboteur seems weak and helpless, yet the Victim does most of the overeating that causes pounds to increase. The Victim lives in perpetual guilt, heaves a sigh of resignation, and keeps on eating. The Victim's main excuse is I can't help myself. This Poor Me part of you usually feels inadequate, scared, powerless, and at the mercy of them.
The Victim is also a People Pleaser that doesn't want to hurt the hostess's feelings by saying no to the dessert. As a result, you may do many things you don't want to do. This leads to hidden anger and resentment about being controlled, which leads to stuffing down your feelings with food.
One variation of the Victim is the Dummy that says, I don't know or I can’t believe I ate the whole thing! If you know, then you have to do something about your destructive behavior and stop being a Dummy. As long as the Dummy takes over, you can continue to suffer happily and never change. Some Dummies actually sleepwalk to the kitchen and eat while asleep!
Let's not forget the Martyr who suffers silently and then eats when no one is around. The Martyr is like Cinderella, sitting home feeling sorry for herself while her step¬sisters are having fun at the ball. The Martyr gets great pleasure out of feeling self-pity and eats to soothe the pain. The Martyr never has time for fun because she is so busy seeking sainthood.
Self-Sabotage results from the way your crewmembers relate to each other. The Indulger bakes brownies as a treat for the family and then encourages the Victim to have a taste. The Victim succumbs to temptation until the Critic reprimands you for being so "weak!" This leads to in¬creased guilt and gorging because the Dummy should have known better!
The way to take over your Ship of Fools and reach success is to get in touch with your Captain. The Captain is the part of you that knows what to do and how to do it in a loving and kind way. Some people think of that power as inspiration from Divine Wisdom or a Higher Power. When the Captain is in charge you will be able to succeed in losing and maintaining your weight.
One of the main causes of craving is stress. One way to deal with your life stress is through daily prayer, meditation or mindfulness practice. In addition you might consider joining a support group or seeking psychotherapy.
Find out more about self-sabotage and ways to overcome overeating in my workbook, How to Stop Playing the Weighting Game.
Call Gloria for a free phone consult to discuss your overeating problem.
Remember to download Gloria’s FREE eBook, Creating Happiness