Self Sabotage

It’s something we all do or have done in the past, looked at a certain type of food and said that it’s “bad” or “naughty”. Some of you will have even looked at a cake or biscuit and said to your mate: “can’t have that, do you know how many calories are in it!?”

Following a training and nutrition plan is impossible without the right mind-set; you’re setting yourself up to fail. So, if you’ve thought any of the things you’re about to read, get rid! You’re only holding yourself back.

I deserve this…”

Treats can be beneficial when you’re dieting, as long as they fit within your plan. Now that we have that little disclaimer out of the way, let’s get down to the root of why this is total crap for your goals.

Sometimes you’ll get back from a great day at work and think yes! I’m going to treat myself with a glass of wine and my favourite takeaway. Sometimes you’ll get back from an awful day at work and be so pissed off you think right, I’ve had a horrible day, and I deserve some chocolate to unwind.

Using food as a reward or a pick-me-up is a slippery slope to disaster.

By all means, if you’ve had a great day, celebrate! Take your family out to the cinema, go bowling, take your dog on a long walk with everyone and unwind. Save the money you would spend on a takeaway and put it in a jar to pay towards that suit or pair of jeans you want to buy when you’ve lost a few inches. You’ll feel even better because of it.

But by succumbing to snacking or drowning your sorrows when you’re feeling down isn’t going to make you feel better. Yeah, so it tastes good while you’re eating it. But do you actually feel better afterwards? Probably not. If you’ve had a bad day, curl up on the sofa with your partner and demand that you watch your favourite film, have a bath or even take some time for yourself. Exercise is proven to release endorphins so doing a little home workout would work wonders! That piece of cake or ice cream is just going to make you feel guilty and halt any progress.


It’s 99.9% fat free, so it’s healthy!”

All of these adverts for yogurts and chocolate bars geared towards women are almost always promising little to no fat. It sucks people in! Especially people who are vulnerable and self-conscious about their weight. But I’m here to let you know, it’s not as simple as it seems.

When removing fats from food you often remove a lot of the flavour – which means these companies need to artificially create a great tasting flavour to keep customers coming back for more. What is this flavour created from, you ask? Pure sugar.

Make sure you’re reading the food labels on things before you buy into their clever marketing schemes.

You’re probably thinking, “No, I love this presenter that’s on this advert and she says that eating that helped her lose her baby weight and she looks amazing!!” Well, celebrities are racking in the money for these adverts so their opinion shouldn’t be taken as fact!


“It’s all or nothing…”

While I do think cold turkey is often the way forward if you want a bodybuilders physique, it only really works if you’ve got a specific plan to follow and a support system backing you and constantly reminding you of why you started in the first place.

But the fact of the matter is that if you’re just someone who wants to lose a few inches then setting in a few good habits and sticking to a plan 80% of the time is often good enough. It’s better to be committed to 80% adherence for 12 weeks, than 100% adherence for 1 week and then getting frustrated or sick of it and quitting all together.

Very few people can commit 100%, probably about 5% of my clients stick to that and that’s if they’re getting ready for a show. The rest aim for anywhere between 80%-90% and it still works wonders.

Plus, it gives you some room for manoeuvre if you’re one of those people who messes up and eats something they shouldn’t then throws in the towel in frustration. If you know you’ve got 20% to be more lenient with then you can think: “right, I messed up today, what will I do differently tomorrow to get back on track?”


“I can’t eat that, it’s bad…”

This is just going back to what I said in the beginning a little bit but labelling a certain food with a negative word wouldn’t necessarily stop you from eating it. You just start to crave this food more and think about it more often (the phrase “wanting what you can’t have” comes to mind).

I see this most often in women too, but labelling a food as bad and then when you eat it you label yourself with that word too. You’ll say to your friends: “I’m so so bad, I ate a full bar of chocolate last night and I’m supposed to be on a diet!” It doesn’t do you any good.

Rather than just giving foods a label because society says its good or bad, think about how the food made you feel. Did it make you feel fat, bloated and guilty or did it make you feel satisfied, refreshed and happy?


“I can’t help it, I’m addicted to…”

Now this is just an excuse at this point. While addictions to sugar are a real thing that a lot of people in the 21st century are dealing with, you’re not a powerless child. You’re a grown-up who drives, goes to work and probably even takes care of children. If you have the self control to do those things everyday to a high standard, you have the self-control to make better food choices.

It’s about taking responsibility and not just blaming the food.  If you have the self control to do those things everyday to a high standard, you have the self-control to make better food choices.

You’re in control of deciding what foods are best for your body. As an adult you will have to make difficult decisions all the time, choosing to eat what your body deserves and needs to reach your goals shouldn’t be a difficult decision.


“It’s a special occasion so I have to…”

Unless it’s your birthday or Christmas, you do not HAVE to. Even on your own special day you don’t HAVE to do anything. Unless you can save your cheat meal for the special day and can control yourself to make sure it’s a cheat meal and not a cheat day, don’t tempt yourself.

If you start making excuses to cheat on your diet you’re stuffed. Office party? It’d be rude not to! Friend’s wedding? I have to have a slice of cake for her! Dog’s birthday? Well, it is a special occasion after all.

This is not a good way of thinking about food if you’re trying to follow a plan. You absolutely can live your life and celebrate special occasions with family and friends without breaking your diet and training plan. If you want to go to events to spend time with friends and family then you can still do that, if you’re going because you need a drink or to indulge in food then there’s a bigger issue here and you’re just using it as an excuse.


Your relationship with food is the be-all and end-all of your nutrition plan. Most clients who come to us have an awful relationship with food, it’s usually why they need us in the first place, but we aim to fix that. At PerformancePT, rather than just telling you to blindly follow the plans, not only will we explain each step and why we’re doing it, we’ll implement our habit system to help you stick to the plans and make a lifestyle change.

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