the subconscious sabotage : The Oreo Staredown

Has anyone ever told you that you sabotage your own weight loss? Or worse, they’ve told you that you don’t feel comfortable thin so you keep yourself fat?

Anytime anyone has ever said that to me I instantly fell angry. Like yeah, why in the world would I intentionally sabotage something I’ve put more effort into than anything in my life? That’s an excuse to just make me feel better.

But, I have had a change of heart. Let’s think about this for a second and talk about all the ways we do sabotage ourselves without knowing it.

I became aware of my own self-sabotaging during a moment I like to call “The Oreo Stare Down.”

It goes like this….

  • I’m cruising along on my most recent weight loss venture. I  have my most recent game plan in place and I feel confident.
  • I control all the meals I’m eating. I take a little extra time to prep & plan to keep myself on track.
  • Then a situation arises where I see Oreo’s (For all intents and purposes let’s let Oreo’s represent any fattening food that “isn’t on plan.” (chips, candy, margs, cupcakes, etc.) It may be in the office for a birthday, it may be at a family gathering or it may be in a simple trip to CVS when buying deodorant. Regardless I see Oreo’s.
  • I say to myself, “I can’t eat Oreo’s, I’m trying to lose weight. I told myself I wasn’t going to eat these foods anymore”. I remind myself again, “Be strong. Have some self control. Lose the weight already, enough of this crap”
  • I talk to myself like this for seconds, minutes, maybe hours.
  • And then there comes a crucial moment where I say, “Fuck it. I’m eating a God damn Oreo. Life is too short to not eat the God damn Oreo’s.” I reach for the Oreo’s (or said junk food) and continue to justify my decision to give in. I tell myself, ‘I deserve this Oreo. It’s not fair that skinny people get to eat Oreo’s while I’m over here fat and not eating Oreo’s. Plus, I’m happy the way I am. I need to just accept my size and stop trying to lose weight. Plus I can’t be on a diet this strict anyways, because it will never last.  If I don’t eat enough my metabolism will slow down. I need some carbs for my metabolism. You know what, this will be my cheat day.” This self talk goes on forever.
  • Then it’s usually game over. One cookie leads to two cookies which inevitably leads to me face first in leftover pasta with a side of Tostitos Hinted Lime Flavor Tortillas.

Have you experienced this situation before? It’s the exact moment when you go from All…to Nothing.

It’s similar to turning off your alarm and deciding to skip the gym. It feels so good in the moment. SO SO good. It feels good because you made a decision. But essentially, it’s giving yourself permission to stay safe.

Do we know ourselves without our diet BFF who sits on our shoulder reminding us we need to lose weight? Mine has been with me since I was 9 years old. It’s sad to think of letting her go. It’s a part of me like my brown hair and my hazel eyes. So in one aspect the sabotaging is being scared of change. Change is scary.

Second, we have made so many promises to ourselves for when we lose the weight. We all see our lives skinny. I’ll finally get a boyfriend, quit my job, go back to school or just be happy WHEN I lose the weight. That is quite a bit of pressure we put on ourselves.  It’s also giving us permission to be ok with WHY we haven’t done any of these things yet.

For many of us we’ll be vulnerable if we lose weight. We feel like we open ourselves up to failure in those other things we promised would come along with the weight loss.

It seems so counter intuitive but it really does have roots. It’s ok to admit to ourselves that we do feel a little bit comfortable giving ourselves permission to fail.

So why do I bring this up? Because it’s good to just be aware. To understand who we are and what makes us tick. If you see yourself doing something it’s easier to stop. But more importantly it’s a way of addressing the REAL feelings. Your real fears. If we do this we will be able to have everything we want in life and weight loss will just be a happy side affect.

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