Self-sabotaging? We have all done it… we set the goal to eat “better”. Then we walk into a pizza place and after much deliberation decide “better” will start tomorrow.

I will meal prep Sunday.

The diet starts Monday.

Hanging on by Tuesday…

… only to be followed up by ice cream for dinner on Thursday.

You aren’t alone if these words resonate with you. Self-sabotaging our health goals is something most of us do often. But why? And what happens when we do this?

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There is some physiology here that is at play against us. We all have a microbiome in our gut. When we take care of our gut by eating enough, balanced meals, and a variety of foods our gut takes care of us. It does this by sending a “tune” to our brain. This “tune” is comprised of metabolic byproducts that are comprised in our gut from the nourishing food we consume.

On the other hand, when we don’t nourish our body with enough food or adequate micronutrition or overeat/binge eat, our microbiome can become disrupted. When our microbiome is disrupted, the “tune” to our brain is negative. The messages (aka neurotransmitters) that are sent to our brain can impact our mood and general mental health.

Oftentimes, when we are trying to break an old habit or introduce a new, healthier habit this tune is negative and making change is more challenging. Think of it like trying to make a wise decision when your kids are loudly, and repeatedly singing “The Wheels on the Bus”. Anyone would have a more difficult time picking a salad over pizza in this situation!

Why?  Because you are human and wanting to feel better is normal. However, knowledge is power, and knowing this can help us overcome it! One of the best things you can do for your mental health is to take care of your gut health.

For more on gut health, you will love my Gorgeous Gut Health Guide found inside Food Foundations!

Taking care of your body requires intentionality. And I believe in doing this well…. WHILE maintaining a sprinkle of flexibility.

So what is the difference between discipline and rigidity?

So much of my work is defining this line.

I wish someone would have helped me work this out years ago… when you struggle with food or exercise or body image, rigidity is the name of your game:

Eat perfectly. Workouts HAVE TO be hard but somehow are NEVER enough. Forever chase that beauty ideal that is impossible to attain, therefore you never feel good enough.

Also, there is a socially defined expiration date on your age- so you better get with it now and never mess up.

Unfortunately, when you live in rigidity for so long, you begin to let it taint discipline.

Here is a little help to separate the two:

👉🏼 Rigidity operates with the currency of shame.

👉🏼 Discipline operates with a focus on curiosity and a goal of growth.

👉🏼 Rigidity is rooted in insecurity and comparison

👉🏼 Discipline is rooted in a desire to be better than yesterday’s version of you and to serve a greater purpose.

👉🏼 Rigidity doesn’t allow error, discipline learns with every step.

Work hard, focus, fail, get up and try again.

Let that rigidity go to make room for discipline.

On today’s episode, I am jamming out with my new friend Tanja Shaw as we discuss the physiology behind self-sabotage and the difference between intentionality and rigidity. To learn more about Tanja Shaw, be sure to connect with her on IG @tanja_shaw or check out her resources at tanjashaw.com and her podcast The Fit and Vibrant Podcast.

Cheers, and happy eating! 

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