The key to stop self-sabotage so you can have the body you want

I wrote recently about the lens we all see things through like, “a meal isn’t complete without a little something sweet.” That Personal Paradigm of self-sabotage can also be turned inward, taking on a different level of meaning when you gain awareness of the thoughts you have about yourself.

Here are the top 5 damaging ones I hear:

“I’ve tried so many times and just can’t lose weight.”

“I can’t stick with it.”

“My body is disgusting.”

“I don’t have enough willpower.”

“I deserve it.”

If you’ve ever uttered something like this, you probably thought nothing of it. To you, it felt true. But these kinds of statements simply reflect how you think about yourself. 

They are not true.

And they are the epitome of self-sabotage. Try it yourself. Pick a similar thought that regularly floats through your mind. How do you feel when you think it? 

Rather than the feelings we want to have like motivation, inspiration, or determination, every client I talk to tells me these statements bring up things like shame, disappointment, and hopelessness.

Why is this important?

Because to live day-in and day-out the healthy lifestyle you truly want, you must feel determined to take consistent action. You don’t take that action from a place of hopelessness. If you could, you’d already be doing it.

So, how can you stop self-sabotage and shift your Personal Paradigm of how you view yourself? 

You cannot leap to super positive thoughts. You’ve probably tried that. For one, it feels fake to force a happy face, repeating “I love my body,” while picking at a boring salad as your husband eats a bacon cheeseburger. And even if you could do that once or twice, it’s short-lived. 

Instead, gradually shift your thoughts one step at a time:

“I’ve tried so many times and just can’t lose weight.” -> “I’ve learned a lot about what doesn’t work so I can avoid the same mistakes.”

“I can’t stick with it.” -> “Maybe I can stick with it this time.”

“My body is disgusting.” -> “I have a body.”

“I don’t have enough willpower.” -> “I have the willpower I have.”

“I deserve it.” -> “I deserve much more.”

Photo by Mikhail Nilov:

As you practice the new thought it will feel more true. Then you can up the ante. You start thinking “I have a strong, amazing body.” And you believe it. Not overnight. Over time.

The key is this: you cannot wait to have the body you want in order to love your body. You cannot wait to have all the habits in place to think amazing things about yourself and your ability to follow through. You must cultivate a Personal Paradigm now of the person who has done it all in order to accomplish it. 

I just need something a little sweet

I suspect all the mindset talk gets boring for some people. Like, “Yeah Heather, I get it. My thoughts are important. But tell me what to do to lose weight.”

When I started teaching this stuff 20+ years ago I underestimated the power of it myself.  I was mostly focused on behaviors/actions (for myself and my clients), and talked about keeping a positive mindset.

But a positive mindset is the outcome of the actual work, which is much more than just positive thinking. It’s really about the way you see things: your Personal Paradigm. The way we interpret our environment, what people say, events – all of it – is determined by our lens. 

So when someone thinks that “a meal isn’t complete without a little something sweet,” she believes that to be true. It’s one of the ways she sees things. I can tell her what to do to lose weight, but her Personal Paradigm of “sugar completes a meal” will eventually disrupt her ability to follow through.

Almost every client, past and present, might be blushing, each thinking I’m talking about her or him. I picked this one for just that reason: it is one of the most pervasive, seemingly innocent, sabotaging thoughts that nearly everyone I’ve coached starts with. Heck, I used to believe it myself not that long ago. 

Personal Paradigm
Photo by Lina Kivaka:

If this one isn’t yours, what is? 

To know what aspects of your Personal Paradigm are sabotaging your weight loss, pay attention to the excuses you make when going off plan. And to where you feel resistance to making changes. These are the areas you want to dig in. 

I like these two particular questions: Why am I choosing to think that? And, what if it isn’t true? Truly answer these questions around any belief that is keeping you from getting and staying on track. 

Once you have awareness, decide what to do with it. You can continue to think, for instance, a meal isn’t complete without sugar, but know that it will keep you in a pattern of not getting results.

Be careful though to not let your brain take everything to the extreme, where now you don’t “get” to eat any sugar. That’s an argument your brain might make in order to keep the status quo. Don’t believe it.

Instead, shape your Personal Paradigm to align with being a healthy hottie. YOU decide when a meal is complete, sugar or no sugar. Intentionally choose what to think and let that drive your actions. Then watch your health and body transform.

Work hard play hard: How to do things you don’t want to do

I’m all about work hard play hard this month. Inspired by my trip to Miami with that very theme, I’ve thought a lot about how to implement it as a way of life. 

It starts with being intentional about how I invest time and resources in my business. The contribution I make to my community. And having a meaningful personal life (which includes maintaining my healthy hottie status😉). 

To do this requires two important traits.

The first is a willingness to do the uncomfortable thing since it beats the future discomfort of not achieving my goals. 

Because while I love what I do, I don’t love everything I do. 

Sometimes I finish a third conversation with someone who says “no” to coaching and I question my value. 

Or a subscriber flags my blog post as “spam” in her inbox and I feel unappreciated. And a bit peeved.

Or I need to make a phone call to someone who’s not happy with me.

The key is I don’t avoid the discomfort of working through these tough situations with false forms of “play.” 


Like, watching Friends reruns well past lunchtime when I felt like “I deserve a break” (it wasn’t that long ago…). 

The antics of Monica, Joey and the rest brought temporary pleasure. BUT, I was avoiding the discomfort of work (and the act of avoiding was also uncomfortable), and then I was uncomfortable later when the work wasn’t done! Triple whammy.

Have you done that? Escape into false pleasure is settling for less, when what we really deserve is so much more! 

The second crucial skill is focusing on what’s in front of me. Even writing this post I briefly distracted myself by brewing another cup of coffee and returning some emails.

I do this by planning my day ahead of time and honoring it. Which means I don’t use laundry to procrastinate. I don’t spend time scrolling through funny cat reels when I’ve scheduled work.  

As my distraction above indicates, I’m not perfect at it. But I don’t tell myself I’ve “blown it” when I slip up. I get curious and plan for how to do better next time.  

The way we build integrity with ourselves is doing what we said we’d do. The more we do it, the better we get at it. 

What about play?

Play is easy when I plan my calendar, focus on what’s in front of me, and open up to discomfort. And, this is critical, I schedule “me” time, play time. I am not an afterthought.

Ultimately, work hard play hard is balancing a small number of key priorities and intentionally pursuing them. Discomfort and all. 

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