Why we sabotage ourselves

Pete is 60 lbs overweight. He was told by his doctor that he has pre-diabetes and then referred to me for weight loss counseling. While Pete says he is eager to get back to his old athletic physique and improve his diet, our work together has a one-step-forward-two-steps-back feel to it. He sticks to his diet and exercise goals  for a week or two, but then ends up overturning his progress whenever he gets busy and stressed at work. During times of stress he indulges in frequent dining out, lets his exercise slide, and increases his alcohol consumption. These phases inevitably result in his regaining the few pounds he just managed to lose and sometimes even more. He defends his pattern by saying that after a stressful day he loves to unwind with indulgent restaurant meals and a few drinks, which he does 4-5 times per week.  We set small goals around reducing the amount he’s drinking, reducing the frequency of eating out, and making healthy choices when eating out, but he rarely follows through. He says that as a lawyer, this is just his life. His position involves a high pace and has certain demands, and people just don’t understand all the pressure he is under. I ask him how he deals with all the stress, he says, “I don’t know, I just have to power through. I work hard, I deserve to relax and indulge once in a while, God knows I’ve earned it!”

Pete routinely sabotages his progress and seems to also defend his tendency to do so. But why?  Read more here…

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