One of our Health and Fitness Renew You Kickstart participants asked the Small Scale Life Facebook Community how to overcome self-sabotage.  This is a topic near and dear to my heart because I have blown up my “dieting” efforts time and time again.  After all, I have started and failed with 14 different diet programs.  You could say I am an expert with self-sabotage because I have done it so much!  

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Definition of Self-Sabotage

To understand self-sabotage, we need to understand what it is.  You can do a quick search on the net, and the results seem to all parrot themselves.  I went to a dictionary instead, and found the the definition of self-sabotage:

  • Self-Sabotage is “the sabotaging, whether consciously or subconsciously, of oneself.”  
  • Sabotage is defined as “intentionally destroying something.”  

We use the term “Self-Sabotage” when we get completely off plan and graze through the refrigerator, pantry and the freezer (ice cream anyone?).  It doesn’t have to be pigging out; it can be the bites, licks and tastes (BLTs) we do when we are making breakfast, lunch or dinner.  It can also be sitting at our desk or on the couch and eating the whole bag of chips, the container of ice cream or just a little snack (over and over and over) each night.  

Where does this come from?  Why do we continue to derail our best laid plans?  Don’t we want to be the best person we can be?

Self-Sabotage and Fear

I did some research on self-sabotage, and I found an interesting article from Experience Life on late-night snacking.  I have been guilty of this over the years, and it is a habit that I want to permanently make in the future.  It had an interesting section on self-sabotage that caught my eye: 

“You may be eating in order to keep yourself overweight. Subconsciously, we may be afraid of having the body we want – afraid of the attention that could come with having a super body, unsure of how it may alter our relationships with others or simply unsure we are ready to transition into a new form. If you suspect this might be the case, consider getting a few sessions of hypnosis, counseling or acupuncture (or any other type of treatment you find appealing) to help you get your whole system – conscious and subconscious – on board.”

Experience Life Blog Post – 2002

I find this psychology interesting. Many of us WANT to lose weight and improve our health, but we actually are afraid that if we do, the whole world around us changes.  People are used to us being a certain way, and we are used to being that way too.  I am sure if we took a look at our personality types, we would find that many of us who are battling weight issues are “helpers,” “caretakers” and “givers.”  We work hard to help everyone else, and we sacrifice our own health to make sure everyone else’s needs are met.  Who is with me on that?

As Julie and I discussed in the Day 4 Changing Your Mindset and the Day 7 Leveling Up and Next Steps, we need to work on our mindset and our stinkin thinkin.  We need to break this programming and push beyond it.  
How do we do that?

Overcoming Food Addictions

Danny Domres in 3rd Place at the 2015 Monster Dash
Danny Domres crossing the finish line in 3rd Place at the Monster Dash on 10/31/15

Unfortunately, being an expert at self-sabotage and failure does not qualify me for leading you to success. Looking at the Experience Life article, I found this passage particularly useful:

“It generally takes most people only a week or so to break the habit. After that, things get much easier.  At the outset, when urges and cravings are most likely to be making you crazy. [Take] a multi-prong approach. Be prepared to try anything – from distractions and substitutions to self-lectures and new-age rituals – to get through your weakest hours and get a few nights of success under your belt.”

Experience Life Blog Post – 2002

That makes a lot of sense.  Because I stand on a mountain of failure, I decided to do some research and talk to someone who has faced different challenges.  He is doing a lot of work on himself, and he is learning a ton at college, from research, from podcasts/audiobooks, his work and his running ultra-marathons.  That person is my son Danny Domres. 

In 2018, Danny decided he want to be a Drug and Alcohol Counselor, and he has been taking courses, reading research and listening to podcasts on addictions and psychology.  He has also done a lot of research on pushing your mind and body as part of the training for ultra-marathons.  Danny has to train his body and mind to overcome that inner rebel, that inner voice, that whispers in your ear to quit. That same inner voice is the one that whispers in your ear to not go to the gym, not go for that walk, eat more snacks, drink some wine or beer, and crush that quart of ice cream in the freezer.  

Danny and I had an interesting conversation around the kitchen table about this topic.  I really appreciated his opinion, especially since I was staring at a blank computer screen and my Roland recorder. I knew he had an interesting perspective on self-sabotage, addictions and overcoming those addictions.  I wasn’t disappointed!  

I recorded the conversation, and this is Danny’s first podcast. He did great!  Keep in mind that we were literally sitting at our kitchen table without our gear and without preparing for the recording.  In fact, I didn’t tell him I was recording until later that evening. This is just a normal conversation at our house.

At the same time, there are some interesting moments when Karma the Wonder Dog tried to jump into my lap and later when she farted. Kinda ruined Savannah’s dinner, but what can you do?  This IS reality at our house sometimes!

One of the most interesting points Danny made was about addictions.  Humans can be addicted to anything: drugs, alcohol, working out or even food.  Many of us might have a food addiction: we self-medicate with food for a variety of reasons:

  • We fear rejection or conflict
  • We get stressed or depressed
  • We are flat out board

We medicate with food to “take off the edge.”  Danny made this point: the opposite of addiction is connection.  This is eye-opening and blew my mind.  It makes complete sense!  Think about it: do you raid the fridge at night or when the house or break room is quiet?  Do you grab those Ho-Hoes and eat them at your desk in your cube?  Do you run through the drive thru and get that large Blizzard or Whopper Value Meal?  We tend to do these things alone, when no one is looking.  We do this when we don’t have a connection with other people, when no one is there for us or looking.  

  • Have a problem with late night snacking?  Where is everyone?  Sleeping!  There is no connection!
  • Eating that tub of ice cream? Why?  Because I just had a break-up or fight with my significant other or boss or coworker.
  • Smashing that Whopper Value Meal?  Why?  Because I didn’t plan and prepare a meal, and I feel like I deserve it since I don’t have any friends at work to hang out with.

The first step to breaking addiction is admitting you have a problem.  I admit I have a problem, so let’s figure out what to do about it.

Tips to Defeat Self-Sabotage and Food Addiction

Hogtoberfest 2017, tribe, small community, homesteader, homesteading
The Opposite of Addiction is Connection. Do you have friends and connections you can talk to and share your life with?

The Opposite of Addiction is Connection is an amazing revelation for me.  I never thought of it that way, and I have my son to thank for this.  If you are alone (and research shows that many of us are), you really need to join a community right now.  One way you can do this is through the Small Scale Life Facebook Group.  Become a member there and engage. That means TALK TO PEOPLE!  It is easy to join the group, but you do need to engage to really become part of the community.  Julie and I are there, and we will talk with you.  If you don’t feel comfortable in the Small Scale Life Facebook Group, reach out to Julie or me on Facebook Messenger.

Beyond establishing connections, Danny had a lot more interesting tips for us as well:

  1. Drink water before you start snacking.  People are dehydrated because we don’t drink enough! 
  2. If you open the fridge or pantry and are looking for something to eat, you aren’t really that hungry. You are trying to self-medicate.  Try drinking tea instead. In my case, I have been drinking a glass of DomBucha Kombucha as a treat each night.
  3. If all you let yourself eat during the day is protein shakes and carrot sticks (or you don’t eat enough, period) you are going to break down at night. Eat regular, well-balanced meals, and allow yourself healthy snacks.  Use the 24 Hour Plan (available on the Resources Page)! If you are really hungry right before you go to bed, make yourself a small, healthy meal (like chicken and brown rice) instead of binging on empty calories.
  4. Develop VERY powerful why’s.  You will stay in the fight if you develop VERY specific and powerful why’s.  Write these why’s down and look at them everyday. They can be part of your Accountability Mirror.
  5. Create an Accountability Mirror (David Goggin’s recommendation).  You are stare at yourself in the mirror and are honest with yourself.  Put Post-It Notes around your mirror with honest comments on those notes and look at those notes everyday.
  6. Use small steps and victories to get momentum. Celebrate the small victories, and keep moving forward.  You aren’t done yet!
  7. Tell your Inner Voice to shut the f**k up! Seriously! Who the hell is running this ship, anyway?  You are in charge and you are taking charge, even when you want to quit or sabotage your progress.

Danny recommends the following books (available on the Small Scale Life Kit Store or through Small Scale Life’s Amazon Affiliate Link on the Resources page):

These are available in print, Audible or Kindle. 

Don’t believe Danny about David Goggins and his book? Well, my friend Scott Hebert also loved the book and highly endorses it!


Danny Domres, Overcoming Self-Sabotage, Ultra-Marathon, Running
Danny and David after finishing another race!

Danny had an interesting exercise for me as we concluded our conversation.  What is more important to focus on and fix: 

  • Behaviors
  • Thoughts
  • Feelings

I fumbled around a bit and did some rationalization about each one, and he smiled.  He said this: 

“Start with your thoughts.  Your thoughts control everything.  Once you clean up your thoughts, you will control your feelings, and your behaviors will follow.”

Danny Domres

Damn….who is this young man?  Perfectly stated.  I am so excited to talk to him more about this topic and to cover his Ultra-Marathons.  Danny is growing into a great young man, and I am very excited to see where he will go in the future! He will be running a marathon in February and an Ultra-Marathon later this year.

Let’s Roll!

Lifers, we have to break the cycle.  We have to admit we have a problem and start working on it.  The journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step, and that single step is working on our mindset.  It is so critical!  

Time to execute! Go get em, Lifers!

Listen to this Podcast

Click on the links below to listen to this podcast!

Download MP3 (32.9 MB)