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Why we self-sabotage

I want to tip my hat to two, often polarized, sides of us that influence our eating:

1.) The noble, idealistic side that helps us move toward personal growth, development, and excellence

Here we honor the beauty of human potential and personal will, reaching for goals, seeing what the body has the potential to do and to be. This is the energy in us that gets the running shoes on and makes sure we keep nutritious food in the fridge and pantry.

2.) The very human/mammal/animal side, that is imperfect, and expresses some of the more soulful ordeals and lessons in life

Here we honor the truth that we are only human. And boy, how our eating teaches us that! This is the energy in us that wants pleasure, carries our impulses and bodily desires, and also our emotional wounds.

It's wise to hold the value of both sides up.

Many people cling to their nutritional ideals or their "healthy" persona, and attempt to exile everything else. When our human

side with all of its complications swells up and takes over, we commonly describe what happens as "self-sabotage."

Today I'd like to flip this notion of self-sabotage on it's head and, like the field of depth psychology instructs, to see this unwanted eating symptom as messenger.

So here we go. Here are 10 legitimate reasons people "self-sabotage" their healthy diet:

  • Diet improvements or body changes could be perceived as a threat to an important relationship

  • Feelings of overwhelm of how to begin or how to maintain a style of eating

  • Expectation or pressure to be perfect with eating

  • Feeling defeated by one dietary mis-step and "giving up"

  • Black and white thinking (for example, feeling that eating at a restaurant is "bad" so over-indulging at restaurant out of feelings of defeat

  • Difficulty regulating emotions

  • Difficulty identifying emotions

  • Difficult body image days

  • Truths and boundaries not being expressed

  • Impatience for "results" or magical thinking

Healing our eating then, rather than simply striving harder for perfection, has more to do with maturation, growing up and growing wise, learning patience, humility, a tolerance for nuance, and the language of the inner world. Think about it. What might self-sabotage be trying to teach you?

With love & respect,


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