It might look like:
- Trying to eat healthy, but feeling so deprived, that you chow down a tub of ice-cream.
- Knowing you feel better when you're in bed by 10pm, but you keep getting sucked in to that show on Netflix.
- Trying to carve out more time for exercise, but you continue sitting on the couch flicking through social media as it's so much more comfortable.
People who continually self-sabotage don't just self-sabotage for no reason. You may be reaching out for sweet stuff because there is little sweetness in your life. You may lose yourself in Netflix because you are trying to escape from your own miserable or mundane life.
Self-sabotaging often elicits momentary pleasure. These moments of pleasure are dopamine enhancing. The more you indulge, the more dopamine is produced, and over time these sabotaging tendencies can literally become addictions. As much as you want to stop, and you want to be and do better, they have a strong fist over you.
How does this behaviour affect the body?
NEUROTRANSMITTER DEPLETION: Well, as hinted above, addictive behaviours can literally burn your neurotransmitter dopamine out. This is often seen in people with alcohol or drug addictions. But time and time again we have seen this in clients who also have food addictions and repetitive behaviours or thought patterns. What came first, the behaviour/addiction or the low dopamine?
VITAMIN B DEFICIENCIES: Talking about imbalances that can cause addictions, we always think about the vitamin B's. For example, vitamin B6 is very important for brain health - when this is depleted, it can absolutely cause things like emotional eating, food addiction, alcohol addiction, negative repetitive thoughts and poor motivation. How the heck can you overcome self-sabotaging if/when vitamin B's are deficient?!
DETOXIFICATION ISSUES: people who are stuck in self-sabotaging often develop detoxification issues. For example, binging out on processed foods will put strain on the liver, as many preservatives and additives and refined foods are toxic to the body. Drinking wine overnight when the kids go to bed? That's absolutely going to burn out the liver.
CANDIDA OVERGROWTH: This is a yeast that is part of the normal flora, but it can overgrow with a vengeance when there is too much sugar, processed carbs and alcohol in the diet. While self-sabotaging can cause candida to overgrow, once candida has overgrown, it can constantly send signals to your brain to feed it with sugar/carbs/alcohol. In the end it might be Candida causing you to behave the way that you do. Scary, but true!
If you've read this far and you're thinking that you're doomed - please do not despair, there is a way out of the vicious pleasure/guilt/shame cycle! Our Functional Medicine System uses testing to identify imbalances that are causing your addiction or poor motivation. While these imbalances are being addressed with therapeutical supplements, we also work with you to build a strong mindset and new lifestyle habits, so that you can have control over your life and finally find your calm!
Author: Filipa Bellette, Functional Medicine Practitioner & Clinical Nutritionist
Chris & Filly Functional Medicine
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