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10 Ways to Sabotage Your Weight Loss Program

Updated on August 31, 2013

The 'skinny' on losing weight

Whether it is ten pounds you’d like to lose, or one hundred, you are sure to meet with failure by following the ten worse habits listed here.

1. Don’t tell others about your goal.

2. Grocery shop when you are hungry.

3. Keep high calorie junk food in your house.

4. Eat out often.

5. Don’t exercise.

6. Use negative self talk to undermine your efforts.

7. Eat at buffets and fast food chains.

8. Hoard food in secret stashes.

9. Eat ‘unaware’.

10. Don’t count calories

The key to consistent weight loss is mindfulness. Being aware of where you are emotionally, physically, and spiritually are the guarantees to a successful weight loss program. So, let’s examine how the ‘sabotage’ list reviews against the ‘staying mindful’ plan.

Don’t tell others about your goal:

When we keep our goals to ourselves it is a sure way to reduce the accountability of our actions. Anyone who has tried and failed at weight loss, or at any goal they’ve set, knows that reaching out to others, breaking the code of silence, and bringing in a support group will create a sense of responsibility to oneself and the person(s) that shares the ‘secret’. Remember: some secrets are worth sharing.

+ Some popular weight loss support groups include: Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers and Tops.

Grocery shop when you are hungry:

Studies have shown that the worse time to shop for groceries is when you have an empty stomach. Not only will you buy appealing, off limit items, such as gooey bakery items or bags of munchies, but you increase your chance to over buy.

+ If you want your body, and NOT your wallet to get thin, shop after a nutritious meal or snack.

Keep high calorie junk food in your house:

The selections you make at the supermarket can make all of the difference in a successful or self sabotaging weight loss program. Plan a menu for the week or month, list the ingredients needed for cooking and stick to it when you are in the store.

+If you don’t see it, you won’t eat it…so keep it in the store and out of your house.



Eat out often:


As tempting as this may be it is another guarantee for weight loss havoc.  If you are not the cook behind the meal how do you know which ingredients are going in to your meal, not to mention portion control?  Can you be certain you will have the will power to avoid the bread basket, as it is set on your table; the heavy sauces and gravies on your plate or the extras at the salad bar?  Can you pass up desert if everyone else at your table has ordered something?  And, how about the calories in the soft drink or alcoholic beverage one is tempted to order while ‘eating out’. 


+Don’t lose an opportunity to stay steadfast to your weight loss program by dining out regularly.


Don’t exercise:


It is a known fact that exercise burns calories and calories burned = weight loss.  Whatever you do, don’t believe the ads that encourage people to lose weight the ‘easy’ way.  It is a hook and will only allow you to continue believing, falsely that you don’t have to work hard to achieve your goals.  Sure, it may take awhile to get into the exercise regime, but claims of weight loss from pills, sweat belts, and other gimmicks are merely that: temporary gimmicks.


+Give yourself the credit for being able to achieve your goals through old fashioned exercise.

Use negative self talk to undermine your efforts.

There is nothing more sabotaging than being around a person who does not want to see someone succeed, EXCEPT when that someone happens to be your own self. If you fill your head with negative self talk such as, “you can’t… you won’t… you’re too ______ (fill in the blank here with your favorite derogatory words: stupid, lazy, fat, unmotivated, etc) then you are bound to fail. Stop the negative chatter when it begins and don’t allow it to occupy space in your head.

+Become your own advocate for your success. Be a friend, a coach, a cheerleader for YOU.

Eat at buffets and fast food chains:

If you desire success in your weight loss program avoid eating fast food. Most selections are oversized, filled with ingredients that are unhealthy and loaded with sodium, (salt). In case you were not aware: salt retains water and water retention = weight gain. Another weight loss bomb is eating at all-you-can-eat-buffets. For one price, it is hard to turn down anything, including the desert table.

+What you put into your body counts…make your choices healthy ones, even if eating out.

Hoard food in secret stashes:

For some people food is an addiction, or at the very least, a compulsion. And, just as an alcoholic may hide bottles of booze around the house as an emergency stash, so does a food junkie. Therefore, it is important to stop hoarding food and come clean with yourself. If you cannot cut your hoarding yourself then share this information with someone you feel confident will support your efforts in changing this habit. Keep the car clean of being a food hideaway. Empty the boxes, the bags, the nooks and crannies in attic, basement and garage and come clean.

You may need to join a 12 step program called ‘Overeaters Anonymous’. Or, you may want to read the book: Women, Food,and God by Geneen Roth.

+Being honest about your desire to lose weight is the first step toward a healthy weight.

Eat Unaware:

The difference between success and failure is the amount of attention or awareness we have on our goal. Mindless eating: in the car, while driving; eating while talking on the phone; or, while watching television are all ways that, while engrossed in the other activity, we ‘forget’ that we have eaten. Don’t be distracted when you sit down to eat. Know what you are eating and enjoy yourself.

+Tuning into your body and knowing what its needs are is the art of Mindful Eating.

Don’t count calories:

This is simple math-one loses weight if one creates a deficit between what their body needs to stay active and what it takes in. Part of the equation is to figure out your BMR-basal metabolic rate.

The calculation for that can be found online by asking for a BMR calculator.  The online formula will do all of the work as you plug in your individual statistics based on height, current weight, age and gender.  Knowing your BMR allows you to calculate how much food you need to maintain your current weight at that level of activity, vs. lose weight by dropping 500 calories / day. This will give you results that you will be proud of.

+Counting calories supports awareness and mindful eating. It is a matter of healthy choices.


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    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Tina-Your comment did not show up in my 'alert' bin. I'm sorry this has been such a long time since you commented. I hope you are doing well on your weight loss.

    • profile image

      tina 7 years ago


    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Susie42--LOL Nice to meet you. Now 42 lashes with a spaghetti noodle , LOL. Thanks for visiting the hub.

    • SUSIE42 profile image

      SUSIE42 7 years ago

      I am guilty. Thanks for letting me know.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Thank you Wishing well for your read and comment. I hit your profile page. :)

      Ian, nice to meet you. Thank you for your comment.

    • Ian Turner profile image

      Ian Turner 7 years ago from Somerset-England

      Excellent ideas shared here-thanks

    • Wishing_Well profile image

      Wishing_Well 7 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Great tips thanks

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Better Yourself-nice to meet you. I know. The gym is super crowded this time of year due to all of the new resolutions. Thanks for visiting the hub and commenting.

    • Better Yourself profile image

      Better Yourself 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Great tips and suggestions. After all the eating during the holidays, seems like everyone is back to watching what they eat.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      K'Lee-Way to go!! You can do it. Great motivation-family weddings. Best to you. Keep me posted when you reach your goal.

      Amy-thanks for reading and commenting. :)

    • profile image

      amy 7 years ago


    • profile image

      K'Lee Banks 7 years ago

      Thanks for this hub - excellent advice! I've lost 22 lbs. so far following most of these tips you mentioned, but I have about 30 to go to reach my goal. Other than getting healthier, my other motivation right now is my youngest daughter's wedding in June (and my oldest daughter's in October!) - and I do NOT want to be the FAT mother in the wedding photos!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Wannabwestern-thanks for your POSITIVE comments about my hub, LOL and for stopping by to read. I've been following you for awhile. I love your hubs. Good luck to you with your goals for mindful eating, etc.

    • wannabwestern profile image

      Carolyn Augustine 7 years ago from Iowa

      Denise this was an excellent hub to read at the start of the new year and perfectly written in every way! I am inspired to begin a course of mindful eating and menu planning. Thanks for the positive spin and creative presentation of these thoughts.

    • profile image

      sopie 7 years ago


    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Yuconman-I WISH I had lost 30# That was another hubber who mentioned that (CPA) Unfortunately I am still moving forward with my goal. I want to lose at least 20# For a girl living in the south I have NO REASON to lose any weight at all. I'm considered 'skinny' LOL I guess it depends on what part of the country you live in. But, for my health I do want to lose the extra # Good luck with all of your goals and writing. I left you some fan mail. Be sure to check out the fellow michigander hubber: cardelean. She is in your neck of the woods. (I travel to Clarkston, MI every 4 months for a retreat at the Columbiere Center).

    • Yuconman profile image

      Yuconman 7 years ago from Oxford Michigan

      Hi Denice, what a great article and well written. Thank you for the great advice, i hope you feel much better after losing #30 of weight. I too have been losing weight and the hardest thing is how to keep it off. I watch what I eat now more than ever but the temptation to snack is incredible for me. I have found some other advice that maybe can help as well from

      There is a lot of ways to scin a cat so to speak and the more you learn about weight loss the easier it is to maintain the weight loss.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Dear CPA -- nice to meet you and CONGRATULATIONS for accomplishing the awesome task of losing 30 # It is no easy feat and gets harder as we grow older due to the slowing of our metabolism. Thank you for visiting my hub and commenting.

    • cpa profile image

      cpa 7 years ago from Brooklyn, NY

      Really Great Hub - I recently lost over 30 pounds doing exactly as you suggest. Thumbs Up

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Gypsy-nice to meet you. Glad to hear that you've been sucessful in your wt loss.

      Hi Alicia-thanks for making a comment. I know what you mean-I do the same thing when it comes to those tempting machines.

      Hi Asian Lamps-thanks for reading my hub and commenting. Beautiful lamps on your web.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      LOL That's very good, Alex. Actually, you are defeated before you start if you feel that you cannot share your goal (weight loss) with someone who can offer you support. Thanks for sharing your comments.

    • profile image

      alexB 7 years ago

      ok i dont want to be like this is all wrong but the first one is very non factual and can go both ways. its somtimes good to not tell any one your goal because when you tell people your goals they congratulate you and tell you good job and all that jazz. but basicly they are setting you up for failure. because you get that good feeling before you start or complete your goal and your mind does a goerge bush and tells you mission acomplished even though the war is still going on. you stop caring

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      There’s lots of great advice in this hub. I have to add one more rule for myself – walk right on by vending machines and don’t even look at what’s inside them!

    • profile image

      asian lamps 7 years ago

      Excellent advice

    • Gypsy1witch profile image

      Christine Marie 7 years ago from Milton, NY

      I must say this was a fantastic HUB if i do say so myself for anyone trying to start the new year off with a DIET!! for someone like myself who has tried "numerous" diets over the years, from diet pills, jenny craig to name a few, i discovered most didn't work for me. I had to keep my diet a "SECRET" from others,as u have stated the number one fact~which is so true. don't make announcement of it. it will not BOOST it at all as i have discovered over the yrs! I ended up losing 80lbs in a 10mth period, with good exercise, changing my diet, and the help of a diet pill too about 3yrs ago. i feel great about myself; but wouldn't recommend this to anyone. everyone is different; next to every diet. well WRITTEN, my friend!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hello QudsiaP1-nice to meet you. I wish my 'tummy' was newly acquired, but unfortunately it has been a steady increase since working midnight shift these past four years. Now that I am on day shift I have more energy and motivation to work out b/c I am not tired all the time, or trying to catch sleep. So, good luck with the exercise and diet for the new year.

    • QudsiaP1 profile image

      QudsiaP1 7 years ago

      Hahaha, been there done that, managed to get a tummy over the vacations, so am going to try hard to get back to being flat stomached, though it always appears to be a struggle for me. :/

      Thanks for the hub. :D

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Katie for reading and commenting.

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 7 years ago from I'm outta here

      These are no doubt ways to sabotage your weight loss efforts,I'll keep this in mind! Thanks :) Katie

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Atlanta P.T. and Ann-thanks for visiting the site and commenting.

    • annmackiemiller profile image

      annmackiemiller 7 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      great hub Denise

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi CookingDiva-I'm so glad my hub was helpful. I've had first hand experience with all of the ways of sabotage I've listed. Good luck with your resolution. :)

    • profile image

      cookingdiva 7 years ago


      These are great tips. I have always eaten unhealthy stuff, whenever I go shopping at empty stomach. Lately sitting on computer and being obsessed with HubPages has made my little less active too :-) Time to make new resolution, thanks for inspiration.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hope you are on the mend, Micky. I was ill over the Christmas holiday and it really hit my gut hard. Not a bad thing, to lose the appetite once in awhile-perfect timing around all of those holiday goodies. Take care.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Awesomely useful! Great hub Denise! I had a minor operation recently and with the snow we've had I've had to back off with the eating. Great message!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Annie-I'm so glad you found the hub useful. I'm sure there are many other tips out there, but I like to try to keep it to 10 or under. Good luck with your goals.

    • profile image

      AnnieRoseVA 7 years ago

      Great hub Denise. Everything you listed here is true. As I too am on the adventure of weight loss, I've copied your list to carry with me. Thank you!

    • fadibody profile image

      fadibody 7 years ago

      One great article fully-packed with very informative and essential information for weight loss. For sure, this Holiday Season many are looking forward to eat out, party and all. This article is enriched with essential tips on how to lose weight. Kudos!

      Atlanta Personal Trainer

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hello RosePetals-nice to meet you. I hear you...I am much more conscious of my food intake now...'mindful eating'...and am grateful for that. I do recommend Geneen Roth's book that I mentioned. It is about being aware and is a great shift in consciousness when you embark on the journey of healthy eating. Best wishes to you. Happy Holidays.

    • GlstngRosePetals profile image

      GlstngRosePetals 7 years ago from Wouldn't You Like To Know

      great hub I'm doing a weight loss program and at first I was doing great lost alot of weight but then I started cheating on my diet and now I'm disappointed with myself because I could of been at the weight goal I wanted to be at and now I have to start all over again.. I could kick myself in the butt.. Thanks for the info and what you wrote is so factuall.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      @The Toddman-yes, actually what you write is absolutely true. I wanted to keep to a list of 10, and perhaps could have omitted one of the other suggestions. But, this is the list I ended up with. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      VocalCoach-Thanks for reading and leavng a comment. My calorie counting has made me so aware of what my choices are.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 7 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Denise - An absolutely excellent hub on how we sabotoge ourselves when dieting. My mother used to tell me that counting calories was the best way to shed extra pounds. She was right. You mentioned this in your hub. Thank you for reminding those of us who need to drop a few numbers on the scale, with these great tips. Rated up and awesome!

    • TheToddMan profile image

      TheToddMan 7 years ago from Wichita, KS

      Denise, I'll give you an 11th way to sabotage your weight loss efforts - pay too much attention to the scale. The scale only tells part of the story. Water retention, time of day and muscle growth all effect what the scale tells us. It's so easy to get demoralized after you've done a really good job eating right and exercising when the number on the scale doesn't go down like you thought it would. The mirror and the way your clothes fit is actually the best way to tell how you're doing. Take a photo of yourself every month and you'll start seeing a difference.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Good morning, B-thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I bet you've experienced all of the excuses that people can think of when it comes to their health!

      I'm happy to be on the side of exercising again. Happy Holidays to you.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 7 years ago

      Very good informative Hub, Denise. I can't say enough about exercising, having worked PR at a Health Weight Clinic....Walk, Walk, Walk, it's a wonderful exercise and it's free...and eat smaller portions of your meals, and yes, a "treat" every now and then as a reward. Thanks for sharing.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Danette, thanks for your've hit the nail on the head.

      Thanks Rich, for reading. I agree, it is a holistic approach.

      Hi Marie-I feel your weight gain was more than 5#, but it has been steadily coming off through changing my eating habits and exercise. Good luck with your goals.

      Hi Acaetnna-Thanks for leaving your comment. I hope you have a great holiday.

      Pam-good to see you. Thanks for your comment.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Darski-I understand...I worked midnight shift for four yrs and it took a toll on my health. Thanks for the comment. :)

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      Denise, Some great advice and tips on dieting. Thanks.

    • acaetnna profile image

      acaetnna 7 years ago from Guildford

      Lots of sound advice and tips, I really need to pay attention to these! Great hub.

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 7 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Perfect timing, Denise! I gained 5-6 pounds and I am thinking of the Holidays, so am focused on losing these extra pounds as it can very easily turn into 10-20 pounds extra in no time; has happened to me many times. My weakness is eating out; its expensive and fattening.

      I love Richtwf's comments, in being holistic in our approach to weight loss.

      Rated up!

    • richtwf profile image

      richtwf 7 years ago

      An excellent hub Denise. It's packed with lots of very sound advice and top tips to follow. It's so easy to derail one's attempt to lose weight and the more little things we can do to help keep us on track is a good thing. It's about being aware of everything and being holistic in our approach to weight loss.

      Great hub and cheers for sharing!

    • profile image

      Danette Watt 7 years ago

      Dee, thanks for the great hub. You have a lot of good info here that will be very helpful as we all navigate the next couple weeks of holiday dinners, snacks and sweets.

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 7 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      This is an excellent hub, talking about it and thinking about does make it worse. My weight gain is due to meds so it is really hard to loss it, with that said fruits and fresh veggies are the only answer to weight loss. That is my take and your hub is great, rate up love & peace darski


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