Are you on your journey to lose weight? How do you know if you are sabotaging your goal to lose weight?
Self-sabotaging is actually a loop of seeking some sort of belonging and comfort that you associate with your sabotaging actions.
What Do You Mean By Sabotaging Weight Loss?
If you tell yourself you are not good enough, you are self-sabotaging yourself, your goals and your happiness.
(It actually makes you feel worse when you think that way)
If you have been telling people you don’t care about what happens in your life, or don’t know where you are heading in life, you are self-sabotaging yourself and your time.
When you reject compliments others give you, and say “You look pretty today” and you retort with “Nah, I’m not even half as pretty as xxx”, that’s self-sabotaging. (Say “Thank you” instead. Accept compliments with grace and respect to the other party.)
Other Instances of Self-Sabotaging
Or do you always say ‘yes’ or agree to people’s requests or those who take advantage of you? That is self-sabotaging too!
Do you always give in when people whom you are not even close to ask you do something that you don’t really want, but you do it anyway, cuz’ you just want to fit in? Stop sabotaging your inner self!
(When you love yourself, you will know when to say ‘no’ respectfully, and gain respect from others at the same time. Once people see that you dare to stand up for yourself and say no, they will start respecting you. It will bring light to you and they will see you in a different light! They will start to see you as someone who is assertive and knows what you want, and dare to speak up for what you want.)
You sabotage your studies by not paying attention in class, not putting effort to your assignments and end up struggling during exams and regret later on.
You sabotage your health when you stay up late every night, and feel groggy and irritated the next day.
Self Sabotaging – A Recurring Loop 
When you self-sabotage, it is actually a loop of seeking some sort of belonging and comfort that you associate with your sabotaging actions.
For instance, on the first day of your workout, you feel motivated and ready. You changed into your running gear and put on your running shoes, expected to complete 30 minutes jog as you planned.
As you reach the track, the sun gets hot and you feel dehydrated already just warming up. After much contemplation, you decided to start jogging anyway. After about five minutes into the jog, you began to pant and feel weak that you cannot go further. You decided to keep going to a point you cannot take it and
You decided to keep going to a point you cannot take it and give up after 15 minutes. Dejected, you head home feeling bummed because you failed to reach your targeted goal. And you see the packet of chips you opened yesterday and still has half left. You picked it up and enjoyed the sweetness of it after the hard work you’ve put in just now.
It’s a recurring action that we see in trying to lose weight.
Why do you go back to munching and craving for junk food when you want to lose weight and still do it then?
Whether you are having a hard time or feeling demotivated, or especially after a challenge, you felt like you needed some reward. You tend to seek comfort and something that you are connected with. That’s when the ‘comfort food’ caught your attention.
After that episode, most times you feel guilt and decide to do better tomorrow, but there will be another challenge getting to the park before the jog.
My Weight Loss Story
I was one who struggled with my weight as well.
I was a heavy girl from when I was about 10 years old. Actually, it started at about 9 years old to when I was 18. It was a long journey to try to lose weight, and I tried many ways to lose weight.
I took on diet programs but never stayed in it, I skipped meals (that never worked because I would end up eating more and get bloated). I went on soup diet and signed up for expensive slimming packages where they rubbed cream over me. They basically massaged my flesh so hard to ‘break down the fats’. I didn’t lose a lot of weight and the weight would always bounce back when I stopped dieting.
I started taking soup diets, I had results, but it was no good. Because I was eating the same food over and over for an extended period of time, I was undernourished (which was why I lost weight). I could see my cheekbones and jawline, and my tummy got flat. But guess what, I was also losing my hair, had flabby arms as I lost my muscles too. Also, I was feeling giddy all the time. I was tired all the time and I didn’t feel healthy at all.
So my journey of actual weight loss started…  at about 17.
Lessons Learned
I didn’t realise it at that time, but a lot of lessons in life are learned backwards.
Here is what I realised; when you care so much about your weight and get so focused on your losing weight, all you think and care about are actually the numbers on the weighing scale.
When it goes down by 1 kg, you feel like a celebration. The moment you gain another 1 kg, you feel like you are a disappointment and become demotivated. It’s hard to keep the motivation by relying on the weighing scale.
So what method did I use that you can easily apply? There are only four to get started with. 
  1. Don’t get too obsessed with the number on the scale. Stop weighing yourself on a daily basis, especially not right after a meal.  Choose to weigh only twice a week, at a specific time of day (e.g. in the morning after you wake up). A consistent time will be the benchmark for you to judge whether you have done a good job or not.
  2. Find something else to do to occupy your time. Get involved in other activities like going out for walks or playing a sport, learning to make things with your hands that need time (like painting, drawing, jewellery making) or learn a new skill like going for music lessons or learn a new language.
    When you have too much free time, you get bored. And, the thought that most frequently come up to your mind is food, and you suddenly think you feel hungry! even when you are not. If your goal is to lose weight, all you could think of and focus on is losing your weight face. And when it doesn’t bring results soon enough, you go back to old ways.
  3. Don’t let food be a substitute for care, comfort and support. If you face emotional issues or are having a bad time, food is not your best company. After gorging down a tub of ice-cream, I never felt better, it was always worse with a bloated tummy! People are your best supporter. Find a friend or a partner, or your siblings to do stuff together. Talk to each other or simply go for a walk when you have troubles instead of staying at home.
  4. Find out Facts about Nutrition, real nutrition. When we are used to having a certain food, we think less about the impact they make to our health. Some people need Coke daily (Fact is we don’t, and fact is Coke has so much sugar you probably already know); some people think they need a lot of oil or butter to make food taste nicer (at the expense of their health); some people make taking supper a habit or cannot regulate their eating time (life in the city is very busy, and often end late);Most are not educated about the nutrition of food that we eat. A switch from full cream milk and soy milk can make you feel slimmer in a week. Adding fruits to your meal makes you eat lesser and feels better, and processed food are not healthy.
    Nowadays, when I go grocery shopping, I practice looking at the labels. It’s shocking some food has 0% nutrition.
My Personal Experience Experimenting With Food and Exercise.
I was a food junkie, I love junk food and any snacks I could get my hands on. As I began my weight loss journey, I could live without snacks. As long as I keep myself distanced from the Snacks section. When I went grocery shopping and I arrived at the Snacks aisle, I would speed up my steps and head to the fruits or veggie Sections.
When I went grocery shopping and I arrived at the Snacks aisle, I would speed up my steps and head to the fruits or veggie Sections.
I compared nutrition labels for similar food products. Full cream to low fat to soya milk; learned more about Cheese selections; stopped buying so many biscuits.
Health Scare
At age 25, I had the biggest health scare of my life. My family has a strong history of diabetes and for a long time, I did not take sugar whenever I can because I knew about my family history. So whenever I drink coffee, I drink it black (Americano) and skip the milk even. If I have a choice to ask for sugar level, I’d ask for 0%!
When I go for my meals, I would choose more veggies over meat.
However, I was not always good at monitoring my intake. Sugar is not the only contributing factor to diabetes.
I was conscious of my sugar intake, but I did not really take note of my diet in terms of refined sugar. Refined sugars are present most food we eat; biscuits, bread, pastries, rice, noodles, and all the carbohydrates that we take. And, I am a lover of bread and pastries, but they are not filling and always left me craving for more food. So even though I cut down on sugar, I was eating these refined sugar on the side.
I had a complimentary blood test at a campaign and was told that I was borderline to high sugar level. That freaked me out.
From then on, I get a lot more conscious of my choice of food.
I also didn’t know much about the use of butter, flour and sugar that get mixed in to make delicious cakes. The first time I tried baking, I was so conscious that I reduced butter to half and sugar to a quarter of what was required. Needless to say, nobody appreciated a non-sweet cake.
As such, baking has never been fun to me because when I mix the ingredients, I feel unhealthy already.
Better Alternatives
Fortunately, the world is improving and getting innovative, we get to enjoy cakes and pastries made from alternatives like soya, which are much healthier! 
By the way, life is not bland without sugar or fats.
In fact, after a period of reduced sugar and salt, you actually enjoy food because they will taste better.
A Challenge For You 
If you dare to take a challenge, I dare you to cut down and limit taking most food with sugar for three days.
That will definitely reduce many choices for you. For a start, you get no biscuit, no pizza, no burgers, no chocolate, no snacks, not even small candies.
By the third day, you will feel irritation and lethargy due to withdrawal symptom from the sugar. However, if you continue to persist, your body will get used to it and adapt itself to living without sugar.
But otherwise, you can start small too.
I started drinking black coffee in small steps too, with minor tweaks.
I was drinking coffee with condensed milk and sugar on daily basis and it was a standard order for me.
I then practised asking for less condensed milk and sugar. It tasted okay,
After a while, I tried black coffee black with less sugar. My body was already adapting to having less sugar but still, need some sweetness. Then I switched to black coffee altogether.
The first time I took black coffee (no sugar no milk at all), it was hard to finish because black coffee makes it taste more bitter and dry. But, I persisted and started to getting used to it. Now, I actually relish black coffee over any other tasty variations like Cappuccino, or Mocha or Latte. I do take them but rarely, probably once a year. =)
It is not easy and it is a long process of experimenting and getting used to, to finally enjoy it. 
You want to keep the weight off for a long time, not for a few weeks, so why not try to work harder to keep it off for good.
Change your lifestyle too
I would say lifestyle is one of the major changes you have to make to keep your weight down.
For one thing, you need a good diet, plus regular exercise and have enough sleep.
You cannot be staying up late all night, and be feeling good the next day.
Studies on Weight Issues
Studies have shown that when you lack enough sleep, you actually gain more weight.  See below data I got from DrAxe website.
 “Another study, presented at the 2006 American Thoracic Society International Conference, came up with some confounding information. 70,000 middle-aged women were studied for 16 years.
The study found that:
* Ladies who sleep 5 hours or less weigh more than those that sleep 7 hours.
* Women who sleep 5 hours per night are 32% more likely to experience a weight gain of 33 pounds or more and 15% more likely to become obese than those that sleep 7 hours.
* Also, women that sleep 6 hours a night are 12% more likely to gain 33 pounds or more and 6% more likely to become obese than those that sleep 7 hours.
Lack of sleep affects the secretion of thyroid-stimulating hormone and increased levels of the “stress hormone,” cortisol.”
DrAxe also said “Growth hormone is affected by sleep. You can work out for hours, but if you don’t get enough sleep your body is not going to turn fat into muscle.
Besides adjusting your diet and having enough sleep, you also need to sweat it out regularly.
How I Started Exercising Regularly
I was a kid who never ran more than 100m in my life until I was 16. (I know, your mouth just dropped).
I was living a sedentary lifestyle, plus the fact that I am highly introverted. I’d stay at home and read most of the times. I was literally a bookworm who disliked any sort of games that require me to move.
Whenever we went for family jogs, my parents would be walking and jogging rounds. I would be trying for the first 50 metres and decide to turn back. When I was out playing with friends, I would be the one who always hides or stays at the safe spot. There was no fun playing with me at all. I know I am guilty of it.
My First Real Commitment to Exercise
I started my first ‘long’ jog when I did my first 2.4km run when I joined Dragon boating. (Did you just raised your eyebrows?)
Imagine a 78kg 16-year-old signing up for Dragon Boating Club. What was I doing?
I must say, peer influence played a positive part in my life with that decision. Not knowing what I was in for, I signed up with my course mate during the orientation week at school. I thought I’d just give it a try.
“If I didn’t like It I wouldn’t continue, that’s all”, I thought to myself.
You can imagine my dread when I went for the first session and got a taster of what dragon boat training was like!
When we arrive at the stadium, we were told to run 2.4km, which I completed in 20 minutes. I was walking for most of it.
Then we had a brief introduction to what rowing was, went to learn about inclined pull-ups, sit-ups, burpees and other circuits, plus weight lifting. I couldn’t do more than 2.5kg for biceps curl then.
I Regretted Instantly
I was already regretting why I joined in that first session, but I also bit through that two hours.
I barely reached home alive. I had sore muscles for whole week after that session
Every session following that was a dread for me. I tried not to go as much as possible but that was what you cannot do when you have great teammates. We (my teammates actually) were a team of very hyperactive girls and they were always laughing and chatting. When we hung out at the clubhouse, they would be talking about anything under the sun.
Beyond all that, they were REAL teammates who supported me when I could not do another rep of weights or push-ups. We endured together and we grew stronger together. They cheered me on and ran beside me when I walked, so I learned to push myself to next limits.
They were also there for me when I had my first heartbreak. I was crying in that clubhouse, and they were the ones who stood by me and comforted me.
You feel more accountable with workout partners. It is important to have partners who not only can exercise with you but also support you and challenge you to do more.  
Initially, I was always giving excuses not to go, and even when I went, I was not really trying my best, always telling them I could not do it.
When I started committing to it, I became really committed. I was attending every session, I was looking forward to them and I really pushed myself hard.
Changed Clothing Size
That year, I changed my clothing size. It was a hilarious moment in retrospection.
I had not even realised my jeans and clothes were getting bigger because I was getting smaller. And I was used to wearing baggy and oversized clothing to cover myself due to my self-image.
One day, my roommate told me that I should really buy new clothes because I could literally take my Jeans off with the button was still hooked. 
It was a funny and memorable moment, an achievement in my life!
Sense of Achievement Made Me A Stronger Person
When I was in my second year, I became one of the motivators to the newcomers. Amazing, right? I would never have thought I would be the one cheering others on. The newcomers never thought that I was like them, half jogging and walking when I first joined.
It was a great feeling, not to see myself improving but to be able to cheer others on and encourage them.
As we grew as a team, I also grew, I became stronger and fitter. I could lift weights, and was one of the better rowers; I ran 12 min for my 2.4km and could do standard push-ups and sit-ups. I looked forward to every land and sea sessions because I was enjoying myself. 
As you can see, I was putting my focus and time to improve myself on something else, and my weight came off. 
Pair With Healthy Eating
In my three years of Dragon boating, I’d not touched MacDonald’s or KFC because we were so health conscious! We had to maintain our optimum performance for each training.
It took me three years to lose 18 kg, to become a changed person, and kept my weight at there for many years now, even after I came out to work.
Having regular workout regime requires a lot of commitment and hard work.
Nowadays, I keep an active lifestyle by going for 5 – 7km jogs or runs about 4 times weekly.
At my best, I could run 10 km each session for 6 days a week.
Exercise is connected to my life now.
If I had to stop exercising for more than two weeks, I would feel uneasy all over, unhealthy and definitely grumpy.
If you are someone who has not been working out for some time, you can start small. If you don’t feel like going for a jog, go for a walk instead. If you don’t have running shoes, walk with your slippers or sandals first, then go buy new shoes.
Very Important! The moment you reach home after a long day, don’t head straight to the couch or your computer. Quickly get changed into something light and get out of the house in ten minutes otherwise, you will end up lounging around and end up feeling too unmotivated to go. Worse, because you feel tired and bored, you start looking for something to munch. Bad idea.
When you start to feel better, you will want to keep doing what you are doing great to feel even better!
So it’s not the numbers on the scale that you should be looking at; it should be what you are feeling.
If you are connected to your body, you will know when you have lost weight or gained weight.
As you gain weight, you feel heavy and tired, irritated and breathless, nothing feels right and everything is a struggle, or something else.
However, as you start to lose weight, you feel lighter, fresher and happier; you feel like you’re winning your days because your mood makes your day. You become a better person with better performance. You can concentrate better and be more creative, productive, whatever you want to be.
In Conclusion
If you want to lose weight, don’t think about the numbers
Think about
  • Filling up your time with meaningful tasks or work on goals to improve or challenge yourself instead. 
  • Combine a healthy diet with regular workout. 
  • Have enough sleep! Make it a point to be in bed by 11 pm daily, including the weekends because it will be hard to get back on track on Sunday nights. 
If you have any issues or queries on losing weight or motivating yourself, feel free to reach out.
Also, if you find the above article useful and worth sharing, do share it with people whom you think might need them. Chances are, they probably do!
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