Linda Melone
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3 Unseen, self-sabotaging, forces that keep you stuck

Last night we watched a sci-fi movie called “Life.” Like many of these types of movies it starts out with a bunch of scientists embarking on a mission, all gung-ho and ready to make history with some groundbreaking new discovery.     

And then, of course, things go horribly wrong (I won’t give away anything, promise).

They’re miles above the earth, floating around in steel container, eating dehydrated food, peeing into vacuum-sealed containers, and drinking Tang (I actually don’t know if astronauts still drink this stuff, but let’s say they do for the sake of argument).

In the beginning there’s a lot of joking around, laughing, and way too much optimism. So you know they’re doomed.

Now add an alien life form.

It seemed harmless enough at first. Cute, actually. This tiny, plant-like critter even appeared to affectionately cling onto the researcher’s finger. Awww! Cue the hearts and flowers.

They name this cute-as-a-bug space creature Calvin.

Well, not to give too much away, let’s just say Calvin isn’t exactly as friendly — or as affectionate — as he seems.

Quite the opposite, in fact.

After a lot of screaming, very fast floating through the space capsule, and the occasional loss of a crew member thanks to Calvin’s mischievous ways, the audience is left wondering, “Geez Louise, how much did I pay to see this piece of cinematic crappola?”

I won’t give away the ending, in case you see it. But I will tell you there’s a not-so-fun twist you won’t see coming. (Overall, I give this movie a 7 out of 10 on the scary/fun/silly scale.)

This brings me to today’s Monday Motivational post.

Many similarities exist between sci-fi movie plots and weight loss when you think about it. Or at least when I think about it, which may not be the way most people view these things.

Here’s why: Most people start off optimistic, with a feeling of “I can do this!”

They stock their pantries with healthy food, wish a tearful goodbye to Ben and Jerry (at least for a while), and get ready for all the benefits a fitter body brings. A few fist pumps in the air and “let’s do this!!” becomes the mantra of the day.

Then something happens.

No, it’s not an alien life form, but something far more stealthy. It usually takes the form of one of these:

  1. Negative self-talk
  2. Playing the blame game
  3. An Upper Limits problem (as opposed to an Outer Space Problem, which is usually easier to solve)

And, like sneaky little Calvin who slithers up your leg when you don’t even know he’s there, you don’t see it coming.

Next thing you know you’ve once again given up and come back down to earth in a big splash, deciding you’re not ever going to see the results you want.

But you can avoid this back-to-earth landing if you anticipate and plan for these unseen forces before they grab your leg and haul you off to whatever planet.

Let’s break down these three common problems…

1.Negative self-talk 

This can be anything from talking yourself out of working out, to telling yourself you’re destined to be overweight no matter what, to cussing at yourself when you catch yourself in a full-length mirror.

All of these are self-destructive in different ways.

The first step to turning around this destructive habit is awareness. Start keeping a record of your negative thoughts and/or have an honest loved one gently point it out to you when you say something negative about yourself. (You must, of course, agree to not throw something at him/her for bringing it to your attention.)

Secondly, take a deep breath and consciously flip the switch to a positive statement.

Instead of “I can’t work out today I’m so busy!” ask yourself if that’s a fact or an excuse. If the former, make a deal with yourself to get in more activity tomorrow and maybe take the long way to your parking spot, etc.

As for bashing yourself… there’s nothing worse. You’re gorgeous, first of all. I know I can’t see you, but everyone has beautiful traits. Return your focus to one of them every time you’re tempted to say something negative about yourself.

As with everything else you want to improve, you must be consistent! Practice, practice and practice. After awhile it becomes second nature.

2. Playing the blame game

You can blame your spouse, friends, the media, genetics, whatever for being stuck, but in the end it’s all on YOU.

Do these things have an influence? Absolutely. Do they make it harder to achieve your goals? If you let them, sure.

Keep your eye on the prize and do not allow outside condition or people push and pull you.

Easier said than done, I know. Again: practice!

Plus, keep in mind when others try to pull you down to their level of slothiness or unhealthy eating under the guise of “loosen up!” it’s because they know they, too, need to make a few changes.

Just quietly be a shining example, whether or not they follow suit.

3. You have an Upper Limits problem

I admit, I only recently learned an actual name for this “condition” existed. Coined by author, Gay Hendricks, in the book The Big Leap, this self-sabotaging situation rears its ugly head when we start making progress.

Maybe you’ve experienced this in the form of getting into argument with your partner the day before a vacation. Or you get into a fender bender on your way to a new job.

Or… eating clean all week then going on a weekend food binge that reverses all your hard work.

In each case, you’ve reached the “upper limits” of the success you feel you deserve. Why you don’t feel deserving can be due to a number of reasons, some even going back to your childhood.

Once you hit your own, self-imposed ceiling, you subconsciously stop yourself.

Simply becoming aware and having that “ah, ha!” moment is a huge first step to making strides.

When you catch yourself hitting your upper limit, take a deep breath and a step back and know you truly DO deserve to be this happy! (The author goes into this in great detail, so if you’d like to know more I suggest checking out the book.)

NOW YOU… Do YOU see yourself in any of these three situations? Let me know in the comments section below… and please share it/forward it to your friends! 

Other posts you may enjoy:

5 Ways to stay positive when it seems impossible

3 Biggest fitness frustrations solved 

How an eating disorder taught me about body acceptance 

Your Ageless Body Coach,



About the Author Linda Melone

Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.

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Leave a Comment:

Yolanda says

I love your articles! I love working out but often lose my momentum, you help keep me on track!

    Linda Melone says

    Thanks, Yolanda! 🙂

Patricia Scott says

Linda, I am the upper limits girl. I finally got passed (with your help) the blame my husband for offering me dessert, blame my friends for wanting to eat out and blaming stress. Now it is let’s reward Pat for doing so well. I know I’ll get through this one because the blame one was super hard. I’m starting to reap my rewards and I want to reach my goal. Thank you so much for all your much needed articles.

    Linda Melone says

    That’s great, Pat! We’re all works in progress :). I am constantly learning new and better ways to do things. This upper limits issue also hit home with me on other levels.

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