Are You Self-Sabotaging Your Fitness Results? How To Know & How To Recover

About 5 years ago this time, I told my husband that I would have a 6-pack for the summer.

That 6-pack didn’t happen then, nor the years following. Though each year I have again made the bold statement, “THIS year, I will have a 6-pack by time summer rolls around.”

Yesterday, Dan looked up from dinner and asked me… “so are you going to have a 6-pack this year?” Then he rolled his eyes, chuckled, and continued eating.

Yes, I did want to slap him for a split second, but I refrained. Instead, I took a deep breath, and realized he was right. <– Which I hate! 


Perhaps the closest I have been… on our honeymoon 2010

For the past 5 years, I have chickened out of my goal. I deserve to be mocked. I haven’t taken action though my mouth keeps spitting out this same goal, year after year.

And why?

Because I’ve been self-sabotaging myself. And not with just one act of self-sabotage either, with many!

And maybe you have to. It’s normal. Maybe you’re not quite sure yet if you’re a self sabotager and at this point, you’re saying… Nope, not me. I haven’t hit my goals but that’s not because I’m purposing not trying to.”

And I promise, I hope that’s not the case. But we’re about to find out.

But first things first…

Why Do We Self Sabotage?


What is it that has us working against our goals? Against ourselves?

Well, for one… change is hard.

–> We Don’t Like Change. 

Change is hard. But to see a change in ourselves, we have to make a change (or two) to make it happen. That action to set change into motion is difficult for many of us. We don’t want to give up post dinner desserts, we don’t like to acknowledge that our daily Starbucks could be adding the calories up, we don’t like to think that perhaps our workouts aren’t at the level that our bodies need.

So we keep doing what we’re doing, and wondering why the hell nothing is happening.

–> We’re Scare Of Accomplishing Our Goals.

I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s the truth. We’re scared of what can come from success. What will be your next goal? How will people react? How will you react? Will you be satisfied? Will your husband be thrilled or a bit jealous?

Those questions… those internal fears lead us to subconsciously holding back.

–> We’re Not Ready.

And sometimes it’s simply a matter of not being ready. You say you’re not happy with what you see in the mirror, that you want to drop a few pounds or get a bit stronger… but unless you’ve had that “enough is enough” moment, then maybe you’re not really ready yet.

And that’s okay. Wait for the moment to come, then you’re able to really dive in and dedicate yourself.

How Do We Self-Sabotage Our Fitness Results? 

There are several different ways we do this. It depends on your goals, but here are the most common self-sabotaging acts I’ve seen over the years, both from myself, clients and friends.

Sabotage 1: I did great all month, now I can relax for a bit. 

stress eating

I splurge = great. 3 splurges/day = not so great.

It might have been a full month, a full week, or perhaps a full day, but you stuck to a plan and saw results. Now you feel that you deserve some freedom, some time prize for being on top of your goals.

In your head, you’re thinking, wow, I lost 5 pounds this month… I am going to relax and eat whatever I want this weekend! I deserve it.

The weekend goes a little crazy, and before you know it your relaxed activities follow you into the week. Those 5-pounds find their way back on in a matter of 2 weeks. Back to square 1.

–> How to recover?

First, you should be proud about seeing progress. But that doesn’t mean you deserve to treat yourself with food. Food is not a reward. Instead, go get a manicure, pedicure, heck, buy a new fitness outfit! But tell yourself, that your body feels great and it’s because of the amazing fuel you’ve been providing for it.

Remind yourself how you’ll feel after indulging in too many reward-foods… it never ends feeling good! Which is why, I don’t eat fried food!

Sabotage 2: I want to be toned, but I don’t want to eat to be toned. 

Looking At Your Food Pictures

This is my problem. For years, I have wanted a body like those that grace the cover of Oxygen Magazine. Laugh all you want, but it’s true. Why don’t I have that? Because to grow muscle, you have to feed muscle.

When you’re a calorie counter (even if you don’t actually write down calories), eating for muscle growth can be hard. For years, I have wondered… what’s going on? I lift heavy, I lift smart… why don’t I have more muscle mass? It’s because I’ve been self-sabotaging by refusing to eat the necessary food!

I am proud to report, that for the past 3 months, I have significantly increased my calorie intake and have in fact, seen more muscles!

–> How to recover?

Stop thinking of food as food. Think of it as fuel. Give your body premium gas and it will run/build like it’s suppose to. Pair that with a balanced workout that includes both cardio and strength training, and there should be no fear attached.

And the second part of recovery is to ask yourself, what’s the worst thing that can happen? If I up my calories and see my body getting “soft”, then I can stop and go back to the old style of nutrition and exercise. No harm done!

Sabotage 3: There is a thing as too much exercise.

Women Learning A New Workout 

Exercising burns fat, so a lot of exercise must burn a lot of fat, right? Or sometimes it just comes down to loving exercise so much that you can’t imagine taking a day off.

You might think you’re doing your body good, but you’re not. You’re putting it under stress and it’s not getting the time it deserves to recover, rebuild, and show off your results.

I know some people might think… exercising too much is causing me to sabotage my results? That’s crazy.

But it happens, it happened to me, it’s happened to many around me. I try to remind clients that muscles don’t tone up during a workout, they tone up after a workout is done, while they are recovering.

–> How to recover?

If you don’t remember that last time you took 3 straight days off from working out, then that’s a sign. Take 5 days off from structured workouts. Go for walks and bike rides. It’s okay to be active, but don’t follow lift a weight or run a hard mile. Rest. I recommend a few days of rest every 3-4 months of intense training.

When it comes to weekly workouts, make sure to give yourself at least one complete rest day, never work the same muscle groups back to back days.

And the most important tip… listen to your body.  If you’re sore or tired… don’t beat yourself up. Take it as a sign to chill out.

Self Sabotage 4: I am doing nothing wrong.



Denial is our worst trait and it is responsible for a lot of self sabotaging actions.

Whenever a client comes to me confused about her failed weight loss, my number one question is: How is your diet going? 9 out of 10 times, they say it’s going great and that they should be seeing results.

But then as I dig a little deeper, ask a few more questions, and try to get to the bottom of it all, suddenly comments like:

“Well, I do drink sodas a lot.” 

“My husband keeps bringing home dinner.”

“I’m not measuring out portions.” 

“I snack off my kid’s plates” 

The list goes on. I’m not saying these to make anyone feel bad, but to help stop the denial!

–> How To Recover?

Be honest with yourself. Right out the issues deep down you know are causing you to have stagnant results. Seeing them right in front of your face can help stop the denial and help you take steps towards proper action.

Self Sabotage 5: It will only take a few days. 

This is my issue. I know I don’t have a lot of fat to shed to help my abs to be more predominant, so I keep pushing it off. Oh, I’ll start next week… it should only take a month or so anyways. I have plenty of time.
Or I’ve seen this a lot with ladies that only want to lose 5 pounds or so… oh it’s just 5 pounds, I’ll be able to lose that in a matter of no time.

The problem is that that time never comes around. We keep pushing it off and pushing it off, until like me, it’s a whole new year and I’m stuck saying the same thing I have for 5 years.

–>How To Recover.

Just suck it up and do it. If it is something that shouldn’t take a long time, then shouldn’t we just knock it out? Take a deep breath, and say, no more tomorrows… all we are promised is today, so I might as well start now.

That’s where I am. That’s what I am doing. Right now, right this minute. In fact, if you’re curious… I just finished a delicious spinach salad topped with carrots, salmon and an egg. Enjoyed with an apple! Then after I hit “schedule” I am going to walk out of my office, grab my kettlebell and complete 100 swings.

Wish me luck, as I am doing for you.

Do you ever self-sabotage? 


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