Three (Sciency) Ways Shame is Sabotaging Your Health Goals

Did you overeat or overindulge this Holiday season? You’re not alone! Studies show that many of us chronically overeat at this time, and not just in the U.S., but all over the world! In fact, I (a Health & Wellness Coach) ate a lot of food myself, and didn’t work out for three days straight!

And while t’is the season to over do it, t’is also the season to feel shame, beat ourselves up for the “mistakes” that we made, and feel crappy. Now, I believe in living a chronically healthy lifestyle, but when we start beating ourselves up for “messing up”, and adding shame to the mix, it impacts our self-esteem AND our ability to reach our health goals!


Here are three reasons why:  

    1. Physical stress is hard on your body, and that makes your body work less efficiently. Two parts of your body that get affected by stress are your muscles and your digestive system. Many people have stress-related digestive issues, and tightness / stiffness in their muscles. (Mayo Clinic)
    2. The pressure you put on yourself increases stress, and that can lead to more weight gain! Stress increases Cortisol production in the body. Cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone” is responsible for increasing weight gain, “[interfering] with learning and memory, [lowering] immune function and bone density, [increasing] blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease”, and more! (PT)
    3. Shame can lead you to feel demotivated and make you want to stop. (PT)

So, what can you do instead? Remember, whether you typically have a healthier lifestyle or whether you struggle with one, it’s ok! You are a human being and you are in good company with the rest of the world. You are not going to be perfect, and sometimes your diet won’t be either.


You are infinitely powerful, and you have all of the tools you need right inside of you to meet your health and wellness goals! All you need to do is change the self-talk in your mind, so that it is positive and motivational. Work on gratitude, self-acceptance, self-forgiveness, and self-love:

  1. Practice gratitude for the body you have right now in this moment. YES, even if you don’t feel like you look your best, even if you don’t feel your best. REMEMBER, your body has gotten you this far in life and has gotten you to accomplish some awesome things in life! Look at yourself in the mirror and pick out 1-3 things you appreciate your body for, or write them down. Do this for at least 3 weeks, and you’ll start to believe it too!
  2. Practice self-acceptance. Remember, everyone over-indulges from time to time, especially during the Holidays or as a comfort during stressful times. Everyone trying to get / stay healthy was once a beginner. So, if you are a beginner or you fell off course a little, just remember that you are a human being and that’s ok.
  3. Forgive yourself for falling off the wagon. Journal or look in the mirror, and tell yourself 1-3 things you forgive yourself for and why. Do this regularly for 3 weeks, and you’ll become more forgiving of yourself. This will allow you to cut yourself some slack.
  4. Practice self-love! Take care of yourself, do nice things for yourself, and compliment yourself.


Changing shame into a positive mindset may take a little while, but that’s ok! You deserve it! And it’s one of the main things that will help you remain consistent with your health goals!

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