Since women entered the workforce and became jugglers of careers, family, businesses, relationships and domestic duties, self-care has pretty much dropped off the list of priorities, including finding the time to exercise.

Often we can feel selfish for wanting to take time for ourselves and achieve personal fitness and weight loss goals. Many women experience what is known as Mother Guilt; this is where mums feel guilty for making time for themselves and having a break from the endless list of responsibilities.

This negative outlook on personal care needs to come to an end and it is vital women factor in some leisure and exercise time. As well as this women should realise what bad habits are sabotaging their weight loss, and how to breakout of them.

What is a habit?

In simple terms, it is behaviour or a set of behaviours that you do automatically, without thinking or conscious intention. They are learned, not instinctual. When you automatically brush your teeth, get into a car and reach for your seatbelt – well, that’s a habit. Habits are not just restricted to our behaviours; our thoughts can become habits as well.

Here are ten ways you could be sabotaging your weight loss goals:-

  1. Feeling Guilty – We need to be aware of how our expectations support our notions of success and failure. When we set our expectations too high we feel as though we have failed as mothers. To let go of this guilt we must understand three main areas of perception. The first is the super mum complex, this is tied to perfectionism and setting your goals too high or too low, and can easily consume your life. Secondly we must silence the inner critic, as too often our worst critic is ourselves. Finally we must understand guilt, shame and our need to belong in our society. Mothers struggle because there are often stricter societal expectations. If we can understand and deal with this guilt, then it will make achieving weightless goals a lot easier, as often mothers’ feel guilty for taking time out for them to exercise. Which is completely wrong.
  2. Poor Work-Life Balance – ‘Work-life balance is not about trying to allocate equal time for each of your various tasks and activities. Instead make time for things that are more important and prioritise properly. A common mistake is to push exercise down the priority list, when really we should be allocating any amount of time possible to it. There are two simple steps to achieve good work-life balance; Step one is to look deep within, to stop and really sit with yourself. Get to know yourself and your true feelings. The second step is to have a plan and this involves understanding your primary value, your flexibility and self discovery.
  3. No Plan – The most effective way to overcome all the underlying barriers is to set goals and plan ahead. Getting into the habit of creating to-do lists, weekly menu planners, family calendars and whiteboards gets you out of chaos and back in control. Planning will help you stay on track and ensure you have the time to achieve your goals.
  4. Forsaking Self-Care – Self care is treating yourself with the care and kindness you need to get through your daily life. It is not about being conceited or being only interested in yourself, but about taking good care of our own feelings. Some practical solutions are getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis, eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, meditating, making time for relaxation and seeing friends. All of these will contribute to leading a healthy lifestyle and achieving weight loss goals.
  5. No Accountability Buddy –  I advise telling a friend that you are giving up or changing something and seek their support when you feel the urge to quit. An accountability buddy will help you stay on track with healthy habits and achieve your weight loss goals.
  6. Not Celebrating Your Wins – Rarely do we stop and look back at how far we’ve come. Do a little inner cartwheel. No matter how small the accomplishment. You’ve taken the first step towards a positive change in your life. Tune into yourself and start an honest dialogue with yourself. Any bad habits can be broken, but it takes more than just effort; it takes perseverance. If failure is the key to success then successfully breaking a habit could mean a number of attempts and failings. So don’t lose heart. You can do this.
  7. Maintaining Bad Habits that cause Weight Gain – Whenever we repeatedly exhibit a behaviour, response or thought, it will become a habit. So if you like to eat a lot when you feel bored or in front of the TV, maybe you have to have popcorn at the movies, you are wiring yourself to eat whenever you feel bored or are in front of technology. Understand what triggers bad eating or snacking and this will help break out of the habit.
  8. Lack Consistency – Changing your habits can take a long time. It’s said to take thirty days to change a habit. Remember you are rebuilding a superhighway. And sometimes it requires repeated experiments and failures. But when you understand how your habit operates – when you diagnose the cue, the routine and the reward – you can gain power over it’ she says. Staying consistent will ensure you stay on track for your weight loss goals.
  9. No Vision – Having a clear vision of where you want to go in life will provide clarity and make achieve weight loss goals so much easier. In my book I write, ‘Too many people are stuck in a rut. It’s not because they aren’t gifted or capable, but because their vision is limited or they haven’t created one. They are blocked from seeing, imagining and believing in their future selves.’ Ask yourself, what lifestyle am I trying to create? Have a clear vision of how you want to live or live with your family. How would you like to spend your days at home and work? What do you truly desire? You must think about all facets of your life, including areas such as family, friends, spirituality, career, money, health, home and holidays.
  10. Not Setting Goals – Goal-setting is the most powerful tool used to achieve success and create happiness. It enables you to have a clearer focus on where you want to channel your energies. A simple technique to help you find your why is to write all this down on a sheet of paper. Start by answering, “Why do you want this goal?” then add another question, like “What does it give you?” Honestly answer the question, and then repeat it. It’s that simple. Keep going to the next line. Answer the questions “Why do you want that?” and “What does that give you?” Do so at least three times, and then ask yourself how you will feel.’ It’s a simple but effective exercise to focus your energies on the goal. This will add to its desirability and help you progress towards achieving it. Use this exercise to get clarity, focus and motivation.’

Stuck in a Rut - How to rescue yourself and live your truthFiona Craig’s book Stuck in a Rut – How to Rescue Yourself and Live Your Truth is Winner of 2016 Bookvana Awards and Award-Winning finalist of 2016 International Book Awards. The book is available now through Dymocks, Booktopia, Collins, Amazon and www.lifebalancecoach.com.au website.

Fiona Craig is a life coach, psychotherapist and published author of the award winning self-help book, “Stuck in a Rut – How to rescue yourself & live your truth” helping women remove the fear, worry and guilt to confidently take the steps towards creating the life they want to live.

Fiona has been interviewed by The Australian Women’s Weekly, and The New Daily and written articles for Collective Magazine, Herald Sun Melbourne, Sunday Life Magazine, Career One, I Am Woman Magazine and Women’s Fitness magazine plus several online publications. You can learn more about working with Fiona at www.lifebalancecoach.com.au or call 0405 433 217.

Image: CanStockPhoto/Sean

Special thanks to Amanda Holden at Greenlight PR for her contribution.