People often blame cycles of dieting failure on self-sabotage. Perhaps this is what you’ve blamed your own past dieting failures on. But, is it really self-sabotage at play?
While self-sabotage is a legitimate concept, my argument is that you’ve never had a chance to experience it. Instead, what you almost always experience is failure at the hands of your Inner Rebel.
Every human being has an Inner Rebel. It’s one of many internal personas that you have. The purpose of the Inner Rebel is to protect you from oppression.
“What oppression?” you ask? Any oppression. In health and fitness, it’s most often protecting you from bad dieting advice.
This is because traditional dieting advice is antagonistic. That means it works against your biopsychosocial programming. That’s just a fancy word for “biological, psychological, and social.”
Traditional dieting advice tells you, “eat slightly more than outright starvation and exercise until you have a near-death experience.”
Masochists may enjoy the prospects of following that model, but it’s unlikely that you do. It’s oppressive. It’s filled with rules, arbitrary restriction, shame, guilt, a lack of fulfillment, and so on.
When your Inner Rebel experiences these oppressive conditions, it starts churning out self-talk like an old newspaper press.
- “Why are we doing this? This sucks.”
- “%&$#! Again, Carol?”
- “Hey #%$hole, we all know how this story ends. What are you doing?”
- “Yeah, umm, this works for everyone but you.”
- “Red alert: You need to eat all the things!”
- “P90X is so 2005. Let’s Netflix and chill. I’ll grab the ice cream.”
If you tell your legacy personal trainer or health coach about this, they will:
- Give you tips for “filling up your willpower cup.”
- Email you a 5 step Buzzfeed article on how to be more disciplined.
- Direct you to all the fitspiration posters they’ve published on their Facebook feed.
There’s clearly a misunderstanding here. The Inner Rebel can’t be silenced. I mean, it can for a short while. Eventually, though, it gets louder and more influential. At some point, you crumble.
When the Inner Rebel takes the wheel, your car goes wildly off course. Binges happen. Weeks without exercise happen. Throwing in the towel happens. That’s when you proclaim, “I self-sabotaged.”
You didn’t, though. Your Inner Rebel saved you from following absurd dieting advice. It did what it’s programmed to do.
Let’s go deeper, though. Those are the obvious cases. The truth is that even people who have committed to real food and functional movement are still engaging in a lot of antagonism, especially in their mindset.
Since you can’t turn off your Inner Rebel (nor should you want to), the only solution is to turn off the oppression. Finding ways to win without activating your Inner Rebel is the key to succeeding for the rest of your life.
Want to get started? Take a look at your past failures. Do an audit and and make a list of all the antagonistic advice you were following. You can grab this free worksheet that we designed to help you with this…
After looking at the list you’ve made, do you still believe your failure was self-sabotage? Or, is it more likely that your failure was due to a rescue attempt at the hands of your Inner Rebel?
If your Inner Rebel caused your past failures, don’t lay blame at her feet. Praise her. Thank her. And then proceed to do two things…
- Engage in intrinsically motivated, practical, sustainable diet, fitness, and self-care habits. Total Body Reboot is a perfect approach for this as it removes all antagonism from the process of getting a body and life you love.
- Learn to leverage your Inner Rebel for creating progress in your life rather than failure. This is something that we coach on in all of our programs.
That’s enough for now. There’s no reason to go any deeper until your list is made and you get to work on the above two action steps.
Kevin Geary is the founder of RebootedBody.com and a respected expert on cravings, eating psychology, and long-term habit change. He’s worked with thousands of men and women in over 35 countries around the world through his online academy and programs like Shut Down Your Sugar Cravings.