How to Stop Self-Sabotaging Your Weight Loss and Fitness Goals


Do you want to know why you self-sabotage your goals? On the new Strong. Confident. His. Podcast, you will learn the shocking reasons behind it, how to stop it, and a helpful tool I teach called the 3 Ts.

Friend, you want to know these.

The most surprising part about self-sabotage is why we do it The answer to this is shocking! When I learned what I’m going to teach you today, it was a game-changer. You may not even realize this but once you spot it you’re going to be like, “Wow!”

Our Foundational Scripture

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15–16 ESV)

What is Self-sabotage?

The reason why you self-sabotage is that it allows you to predict what is going to happen, which gives you the illusion of self-control.

One source shared this, There is The Illusion of Control Through Self-Sabotage, Because this form of self-control, albeit negative, reassures your deep-seated beliefs that you're a failure or a loser. By choosing to sabotage, you predict the outcome and, oddly enough, feel in control.*

Calm wrote, People with low self-esteem often use self-sabotage as a means to make their reality align with their inner beliefs. It's a defense mechanism – if they mess up intentionally, they feel they're in control of the failure, or that it's just an expected flaw of their character.**

Why do we self-sabotage?

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of success
  • Low self-esteem
  • We feel unworthy
  • We feel rejected 

Self-sabotage makes us feel like we are out of control but we do it because it gives us the illusion of being in control.

Here are some examples:

  • Self-sabotage is typically rooted in trauma for example we were abused so we emotionally overeat becasue we don’t want to deal with our emotions, the food numbs them and helps us feel calm.
  • We are unhappy so rather than deal with the problem we drink, do drugs, overeat, over train, we get into extremes.
  • Or we develop eating disorders because it gives us the illusion of control
  • Or we gain weight because we feel like no one would us anyway so what’s the point? Maybe this stems from being abandoned, raped, or cheated on, and as  Christians, we see themes of rejection, worth, and shame, right, but Jesus can heal this,
  • Quite often we self-sabotage because we fear we won’t reach our goals so we choose to control the outcome by ruining our chances!

Yikes right?!

Let God Intervene

None of this is from God this is straight from the devil, so friend if you feel like you’re self-sabotaging will you take it to Jesus today?

Ask God to reveal the root of your self-destructive behavior, and then ask the Holy Spirit to point out how it manifests itself in your day and habits and if you need counseling go to a Christian counselor.

I’m going to switch gears now and discuss this from a fitness through faith perspective because I could do a whole podcast on the roots of self-sabotage, so before I do I’m going to pray for healing

Prefer Videos? Watch the Live Taping


How You Might Be Self-sabotaging Your Fitness Goals

Self sabotage means you are getting in your own way and blocking your success so let’s look at these 3 Ts and find ways to break it.

Let’s look at an example from someone who is trying to reach their fitness goals. 

Meet Jen.

She came to because she couldn’t understand why she wasn’t reaching her goal. I asked her to take me through her day from beginning to end and share everything she drank, ate, and how she worked out. Jen’s entire day was great, but she had a habit of taking trips to the refrigerator after everyone in her family had gone to bed. She asked, “Could the few snacks I eat at night really be derailing my progress?” I asked Jen a few more questions, and she shared that eating when everyone had gone to bed helped her relax it relieved her stress. After I reviewed Jen’s typical day, I also found she was skipping her late-afternoon snack, so this was making her hungrier at night. Her attempts to eat less were actually making her eat more, and not taking her stress to God and dealing with it was causing her to use food to cope. Coaching Jen to add in her late-afternoon snack and take her emotions to God helped her beat those late- night snack sessions.

Can you see how Jen had this trigger and time every day that was the one part of her whole day that was keeping her from her goals?!

Did you know there are moments each day that could be derailing your fitness goals and preventing you from pressing on toward success? 

The 3 Ts of Self-Sabotage

Let me ask you three questions because no one wakes up wanting to sabotage themselves…

  1. What is your Trigger? 
  2. What is your time? 
  3. What is your temptation?

Whether it’s a nightly trip to the refrigerator, a bag of chips at 4:00 p.m., or an impulsive morning pastry when you get your coffee, we all have moments in our days that are sabotaging our goals. It makes me think about the little foxes in the Song of Solomon warns us to destroy the vines. 

Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom. (Song of Solomon 2:15 ESV)

It’s the little things that seem harmless, like cute little foxes—but over time they reveal themselves as the very reason we can’t reach our goals. The enemy knows exactly how to get us. He shows up to tempt us in times of weakness, and these triggers make us self-sabotage.

Think of the times throughout your day when you find yourself saying, “I need this,” “I deserve this,” or “I’ll just have one more bite.”

We tend to numb ourselves, reward ourselves, and use food to cope with stress, so the goal is to recognize your triggers, replace them with a healthy choice, and focus on God.

Play it out from beginning to end. How do you feel in the moments after you’ve eaten the sugary breakfast pastry, the whole bag of chips, the bite after bite of what numbs you? The things we often reach for to relieve stress end up worsening it. Step back and focus on the big picture to see how and when you could plan to catch yourself. 

I teach people to keep a note on their phone that says, “Read this when you want to give in to the things God has told you to give up.”

I have my students write out how they feel after they’ve indulged or record a video after they’ve been stress-eating and save it to watch when they’re tempted to do it again. It’s a powerful tool to teach yourself to stop self-destructive behavior. In these moments we need to hit pause, pray, and center ourselves to make the choices we really want to make.

If this sounds like you today, if you’re like how does she know, it’s because I used to do it. Now, I see the trigger I know the times and I’m like not today Satan! 

Let me tell you something that really helps and it’s simple:

Tell God you don’t want to give in to temptation anymore.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide a way of escape, so that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV)

I don’t want you to feel alone, so listen to this list of common triggers:

  • Running late
  • Enjoying a treat, but then thinking you might as well take the whole day or weekend off from your healthy goals
  • Stress, feeling overwhelmed or angry
  • Wanting to reward yourself
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Not planning ahead
  • Skipping meals and allowing yourself to get too hungry
  • Feeling alone or sad

We often don’t realize that we have these health-stealing moments in our days, so take note of yours. 

When do you reach for something you later wish you had said no to? 

It’s not just the food or the drinks we turn to that are the problem; it’s how we beat ourselves up with guilt afterward that’s so bad for our health. When I think of how my dad’s life was cut short, it makes me tell myself, “I don’t deserve an unhealthy treat. What I really want is to live the life Christ died to give me, all of it. I don’t want to miss a thing, and especially not because of my poor food choices.”

Will you tell God you don’t want to give into it anymore and replace it with a healthier option and prayer?

God has called us to be good stewards of our bodies and of our time. Knowing our triggers empowers us to wisely steward our lives.

So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12 NKJV)

Remember, you are Strong. Confident. His.





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