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The Secret to Overcoming SELF-SABOTAGE!

©2006 Lauralyn Bellamy, MA, MDIV, Certified Dreamcoach®


“It’s happening again!”

“Why do I keep doing this to myself?”

“I know what I need to do to succeed at this, so why can’t I just do it?”


Welcome to the Self-Sabotage Zone, that shadowy repository of failed jobs, relationships, diets, resolutions, projects and dreams. We’ve all made deposits there. We’ve spent significant money, time and energy trying different techniques, strategies, therapists, counselors and/or trainers to achieve what we say we want for ourselves. The tons of how-to books we’ve bought, the CD programs we’ve listened to, the workshops and seminars we’ve attended are evidence of our good intentions.

Our self-improvement regimens seem to work – for a while; and then, we start to undermine, forget, neglect and (ultimately) just give up. Worse, part of us observes the beginning-of-the-end pattern of our destructive behavior as if behind a thick plate glass  window. We shout exhortations, warnings, threats, pleading not to do this, again! But it’s as if the self we’re observing is in a trance or unable to hear the observer.

At this point, many of us get distracted and seduced by the power of, “Why?” We live in a culture that has absorbed the psychoanalytical premise that exploring why one behaves destructively will lead to powerful insights into one’s personality that will trigger an emotional catharsis (an emptying out, a cleansing) that will lead to the learning of healthy behavior. So, like Alice catching sight of the White Rabbit and chasing it down the rabbit hole, we jump up and chase after the answers to “Why?!”

Frequently, the pursuit of answers to “Why?” does lead to the discovery of insights that are truly illuminative of the reason one behaves a certain way. When that “Ah-HAH!” moment happens, it often does produce catharsis – the kind of weeping that seems to empty us out, wash us clean and leave us ready for a deep restful nap.

BUT, it does not follow as night follows day that this powerful insight and emotional catharsis lead to alternative behavior that overcomes the problems we’ve been attempting to solve.


Gotcha! OK, I’m going to tell you the answer to, “Why?”  Then, I’m going to describe an alternative strategy that will successfully dismantle your self-sabotage machinery.

WARNING: Reading the following information will not empower you to successfully overcome your patterns of self-sabotage. It will give you information that may lead to greater self-awareness and, yes, some significant insights into yourself. However, it is the nature of self-sabotage to survive in its host; it will mutate beyond your ability to single handedly eradicate it. Because it is a product of your personality, it has the advantage of knowing your limitations and weak spots, giving it the ability to anticipate your efforts to destroy it and  mask itself, go underground, lie dormant, or aggressively attack you for daring to threaten its existence. The information you are about to read can only be successfully applied with the assistance of a coach or counselor trained to equip and support you in this life-changing quest.



First, because the goal you think you want to achieve is not real to you: it lives in the realm of Ideals. Ideals are abstract concepts. They make useful templates against which you can design and measure what you actually use in your life; but, no sane person actually lives in the realm of ideals. The “real” world is your best translation of your ideals at any given moment of your life.

Secondly, human beings are programmed to regard the Unknown as a place of danger, risk, and threat to survival. The closer you come to the Unknown, the Wilderness, the Abyss, the Void, the greater your anxiety becomes until it reaches an intolerable intensity and you retreat to the Familiar. No matter how unhappy or painful your familiar behaviors, relationships and thoughts are; you experience relief in getting away from the unknown. You have become addicted to the need for relief from anxiety. What you call “bad habits” are your mechanisms for numbing your anxiety and, in doing so, experiencing moments of relief.

Thirdly, every campaign you launch to achieve your stated goal enchants you. You enter the world of HOW-TO and experience the pleasure of being swept up into a new life of strategies, schedules, techniques, equipment, and people to transport you to your goal. You are so enthusiastic in mastering How-To that you don’t allow your attention to focus on what will happen when you reach your destination. Your goal remains hidden in the Unknown Wilderness of your future.


Fourth, the closer you get to reaching your goal the more intense your anxiety becomes. You only know how to make the journey. You have not prepared yourself to live in the world of your destination. It’s as though you boarded a train that will take you to the Forbidden City, a place you’ve heard wonderful things about. After a while, you’ve begun to worry about the wisdom of going to any place called “Forbidden.”  You don’t know what to do; but if you don’t do something soon, you’ll be there and it will be too late!

Fifth, before you reach your destination, you get yourself off that train! You begin the journey back to the familiar place you started out; except, you’re battered, bruised, and carrying heavier baggage. Self-sabotage is a misguided effort to save your life from the threat of the Unknown.

Now that you know why you self-sabotage, you will begin identifying examples of self-sabotage operating in your own life.

Next, you will glean insights about these behaviors.

And after that? Probably an endless loop of recognizing, interpreting and ruminating upon the instances of self-sabotage; but no longterm, practical changes to achieve success. Unless

To be continued!

When the "Same Ole Same Ole" is Just Fine, Thank You!
(C)2011 Lauralyn Bellamy
Sometimes a picture needs a thousand words…
Below, L – R, are pictures of me in size 8/Womens SMALL clothes at Christmas 2010, 2008, 2007,
(2nd row) 2004 in size 10, 2002 in Plus size 3-X!
I can add the missing years, but here’s my point:
after a lifetime as a classic YO-YO DIETER (meaning you lose weight, gain it back, and then gain MORE!)
I learned how to overcome the patterns of self-sabotage triggering this soul-crushing pattern.
What’s remarkable about this series of photos is that 2010 was my 6th Christmas in the same size clothing!
And, since January, 2005, I’ve been teaching my coaching clients how to do the same thing!
It isn’t hypnosis; it isn’t staying on a diet for the rest of your life; it isn’t about developing iron-clad willpower.
EMBODY SUCCESS!(r) COACHING IS about understanding the fears that have de-railed you in the past,
creating the antidote to each of those fears, imagining the life of your dreams,
choosing to make those dreams a reality, and
learning how to create the behavioral bridge
that will take you into the future you want to thrive in!
The articles reprinted elsewhere on this blog can give you a more detailed understanding of
my coaching method.
To experience my coaching method, call or email me for a complimentary consult.
Sunday, Jan. 30, 2-4PM; repeated Sat., Feb. 5th, 10AM – Noon.
Free? Yes! But pre-registration required as space is limited!
To guarantee your seat in the room, call (404) 394-3900,
Do it NOW!
What have you got to lose?!

I’m offering  2-hour introductory workshop that will not only explain what makes my EMBODY SUCCESS! coaching program so effective in overcoming a lifetime of yo-yo dieting; but, will give you opportunity to experience some of the techniques and activities my clients learn!
No diet or bariatric surgery is sabotage-proof. Sadly, a third of my clients over the last 6 years have undergone bariatric surgery thinking they would be incapable of re-gaining the weight. WRONG! They found a way to sabotage the surgery 2-4 years post-op. Has anyone seen Carnie Wilson, lately? She was the "poster girl" for gastric bypass surgery in 2002; I just saw her on NBC’s "The Today Show," and she’s well on her way to being morbidly obese, AGAIN! And what about Oprah Winfrey’s very public, courageous, but heart-breaking battle with obesity?
The "failure" wasn’t the diet or the surgery; it was our conscious mind’s unawareness of the role the "reptillian brain" plays in aborting success. Using the latest research in how the brain’s LIMBIC SYSTEM functions, I have designed a behavioral modification program that engages and enlists the cooperation of this "reptillian" part of the brain to insure success!
This is not a hypnosis session. This IS creative, imaginative, pleasurable and energizing work that clients can enjoy applying to any and all areas of their lives.
Although the workshops are FREE, enrollment is limited by space and so PRE-REGISTRATION is REQUIRED.  Waiting lists will be taken when enrollment is reached! RESERVE YOUR SPACE TODAY!
Don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have about this workshop or to get additional information on my coaching programs. 
You can live the life of your dreams in 2011! Hope to see you in the room!
Lauralyn Bellamy, MA, MDiv (Emory U), cert. DREAM COACH & DC Group Leader
The 4-1-1:
Where:  The Phoenix & Dragon Bookstore, Atlanta
When:     Sunday, Jan. 30th, 2 – 4PM; or Saturday, Feb. 5th, 10AM – noon.
Register: Call me  at  404-394-3900; email:  embodysuccess@msn.com

In the summer of 2004, after 18 months of intentionally shedding my morbidly obese fat, I celebrated by having a photo of myself wearing all-white! When I went to the national "open casting" call for Oprah Winfrey’s next TV project, "Your Own Show" [a competitive, reality-TV series] I decided to wear the same white slacks to show how, using my EMBODY SUCCESS! method, I not only had kept off the weight , but those size 10 slacks were now baggy!!
"I can’t lose weight!" is simply not accurate for 98% of those of us who are obese. The truth is, "I can’t keep the weight loss!" Chronic dieters are experts on dieting. I could lose weight on EVERY diet I ever tried. I just couldn’t keep the pounds off!  And, in the classic definition of what it means to "yo-yo diet," I would not only gain back what I’d dieted off, but go past that!
What a person needs to avoid gaining back the weight, is the knowledge and behavior to shutdown their self-sabotage machinery.  That’s what my FOUNDATION PROGRAM gives clients in 12 weekly, personal telephone sessions. And the method can be applied to ANY area of one’s life that is suffering from self-sabotage!! What has your helplessness in the face of self-sabotage cost you? To learn more about the Foundation Program and schedule a complimentary consult, simply email or skype me!
PHOTOS [L-R: June 26, 2010;  August, 2004; Thanksgiving, 2001 with Mom
Lauralyn at Thanksgiving, 2001:
C’mon, what have you got to lose?!
The Secret to Overcoming Self Sabotage
& Yo-yo Dieting! ©2006
By Lauralyn Bellamy, MA, MDiv,  cert. Dream Coach(r)
            The first time I was put on a diet I was 4 years old. I can be that specific because I was in pre-school when I began sneaking food. I would helpfully offer to carry our lunch debris to the kitchenette and, when the teacher wasn’t there, I’d peel off the ¼ inch-thick slab of chocolate icing that sat lightly atop the Entenmanns’ chocolate cupcakes, fold it in half and greedily stuff it into my mouth where it would slowly melt down my throat with a minimum of telltale chewing.
            I can be that specific because I remember that as I scampered off the Jungle Jim at my upper Westside Manhattan playground to join the rest of the kids racing toward the ice cream pushcart, I’d be reminded to order a popsicle, since it was made with water, not cream.
            I can be that specific because I remember how I had to reach way up in the refrigerator to grasp the aerosol can of whip cream and sneak a squirt directly into my mouth when Mom was at the other end of the apartment diapering my kid sister.
            By first grade I knew who I was: a fat kid on a diet. In high school I managed to fit into a size 13-14 by smoking cigarettes, drinking gallons of Tab & Fresca, counting calories like Scrooge counted lumps of coal and, while away at college, having one or two sympathetic psychiatrists who would thoughtfully prescribe the latest diet pills. My wedding day was two weeks after college graduation, 1969, and I walked down the aisle a relatively svelte 160 lbs. I worked in advertising, journalism and pr, so living off of cigarettes, Tab soda and the occasional press lunch was easy.
            It took me 10 months to conceive; but each month I was convinced I was already pregnant and began eating for two. When our firstborn arrived in 1977, I was 235 lbs. I felt like a beached whale. By the time Zachary was a year old, using my own grapefruit-and-frozen vegetables diet, I’d gotten down to a size 12 and confidently re-entered the workforce in a great PR job.
            Over 2 years later, we were living in the suburbs of Houston, I was a pregnant, stay-at-home mom, and Zachary spent 5 mornings a week at a Montessori school. I’d never lived in the suburbs before and the lack of daily walking as a means of transportation did me in. By the time Luke came into the world in early 1980, I was up to 210 lbs. Again, I applied the grapefruit-and-frozen veggies diet and got down to a size14-16.
            When we moved to the Northern suburbs of Atlanta the next year, I reluctantly decided that I would have to join a gym to have any chance at holding myself down to a size 14. I signed up at “Spa Lady” because it was women-only, had a free nursery, and NO MIRRORS!.
            I went from obese to morbidly obese while attending Emory University’s divinity school in the late 1980’s. By now, both boys were in elementary school. I spent endless hours sitting in class, the library, the car, at home. I grabbed vending machine junk food “for energy” as I raced home after classes to arrive right behind the school bus. Staying up late to do my homework led to more “eating for energy.” By the time I graduated with my Master of Divinity degree in 1989, I was back up to 235 lbs., only this time I wasn’t pregnant.
            Many parishioners would seek me out for hugs: I was big and soft, an Earth Mother archetype in the flesh! I was also not threatening to the married folks as there was nothing sexy or attractive about me, despite my having “such a pretty face.” Being geographically restricted and with denominational blessing, I founded a new congregation in our town and food became a central part of community life for me. By 1996, I weighed in at my internist’s office at 298 lbs. I was depressed, exhausted and feeling “so close to burn out I can smell the smoke,” as I told him.  He put me on Optifast™ and I dieted down to 226 lbs. by the following spring. That’s when an unforeseen conflict blew up in my face and I realized I didn’t have “the heart” to fight for my ministry, so I resigned.
            And the weight came back. As a hospital chaplain, I lived on cafeteria food, vending machines and the 24-hour McDonald’s in the lobby. On-call through the night every couple of weeks, responding to Code Blue’s, making the rounds of ICU, CCU, Neonatal ICU and the ER, I returned to my energy boosters from the vending machines and the McDonald’s. Gaining weight was easy. My doctor’s frustrated response: “Maybe it’s not so bad. I mean, which would you rather die from – a heart attack or cancer? With morbid obesity you’re more likely to have a heart attack.” I changed doctors.
            I’d seen TV talk shows featuring people so big that hospitals used fork lifts to haul them out of their house into special ambulances so they could have surgery that “stapled” their stomachs. They lost weight.  I’d also met a 600-lb. woman at the hospital  who’d had that surgery, but had since “busted her staples.” I assumed one had to be at least 400 lbs. to get that surgery.
            By the spring of 2002, I’d begun hearing about laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery for the morbidly obese. Incredibly, at 280 lbs. I didn’t consider myself a member of that club.  Then in June, during my 6-month check up to monitor medication for high cholesterol and triglycerides, my new internist expressed his concern over my “morbid obesity.” The label shocked me as if I’d stuck my finger in an electrical socket. His disgust was obvious: he’d put me on diet pills for five months but I wasn’t losing at his required rate of 2 lbs. per week, plus my feet and ankles were now swelling up so I was taking Lasik. “What about weight loss surgery?” I asked him. He dismissed that option out of hand as too risky; adding that he didn’t know any doctors to refer me to and wasn’t about to go research it.
            A few weeks later, I saw a newspaper ad for an information meeting on laparoscopic weight loss surgery. I called the number listed, asked them to send me an information packet and began educating myself. I put off attending the monthly meeting until September, 2002. I even arrived about 10 min. late at Emory Dunwoody Medical Center’s meeting room. It was standing room only, and I had to shoehorn myself in. Dr. James K. Champion was talking about the facts of laparoscopic Roux-en-Y surgery. The next day, I made an appointment to have a preliminary consult with “Dr. C” 2 weeks later, so that my husband’s concerns might be addressed. They were and Jim became an unwavering supporter of my choice to have the surgery. United Healthcare approved me a week after getting the materials assembled by Dr. Champion’s staff. My surgery date was 3 months out; but, that was fine with me. The thought of facing Christmas as a new post-op was terrifying to me.
             The decision to turn to WLS brought me face to face with my profound revulsion at having to live in a physical body; a revulsion so deep that I lived most of my waking life, “up in my head.” I was so oblivious to my body that the sight of me in a photo would catch me totally off guard. “Do I REALLY look like this?” I’d sometimes ask my husband or best friends. They’d just nod in the affirmative. I had absolutely no emotional connection with the huge woman in the photos, the woman whose smile was determined to hold your gaze above her neck.
            I had my proximal lap-RNY at 11am on 2/13/03. At my 3-week check up, I was told that it was time to begin weightlifting, in addition to the daily walks for cardiovascular exercise. Providentially, LA Fitness had just opened a new center not 2 miles from my home. I not only became a member the next day, I signed a contract to have a personal trainer give me 3 weightlifting sessions per week for 6 months. So far, I’ve renewed that contract twice!
            And this, Dear Reader, is where I began the adventure that led me out of the lifelong drama of dieting/gaining. It was the sessions with my personal trainer that, over time, helped me learn to pay attention to, really look at and, finally, consciously live in my body. Unlike the treadmill or exer-cycle cardio workouts I give myself 5-7 days a week, those weekly weightlifting sessions are done while observing my body in a mirror. I need to make sure my form is correct because I don’t want to injure myself.
            I began the weightlifting wearing size 3x sweatpants and XX-LG T-shirts. I couldn’t grab my ankles or tuck them behind foot supports on some of the equipment. But I learned how to stretch, I learned to lift weights, and I got familiar with my body – how it looked and felt as I exercised. After 5 months of this regimen, I went for my 6-month exam and Dr. C and I happily noted my 77+ lb. weight loss. On my first anniversary check up, Dr. C handed me my golden “century” pin for losing 100 lbs. To his pleasant surprise, at my 2nd anniversary exam, I’d lost an additional 20 lbs. bringing me down to 155 lbs. And almost 2 ½ years out, I’m down to 145lbs. and wearing size 8 skirts, women’s “small” tops and  regular size 10 Gap jeans.
            So why didn’t I abort my weight loss regimen when I started looking “normal?”
            Why didn’t I experience the usual anxiety when catching glimpses of my diminishing reflection in mirrors and store windows?
            Why didn’t I get angry the first time a guy turned his head or made an appreciative comment when I passed by?
            Why didn’t I start to crave the comfort foods of my pre-op life and “reward” myself with a personal size thin crust pizza?
            Here are the keys I discovered to unlocking the secrets to overcoming self-sabotage and yo-yo dieting.
            1. I began spending more and more of my waking life consciously living in my body. I’ve become a sensualist! I enjoy working up a good sweat as I exercise, feeling my muscles get stronger.
           I use the fitness room in motels when I travel because I like the way I feel when I’m exercising.
           I love feeling the heat of summer without gasping for air or dealing with prickly heat rashes. 
           I look forward to shopping for new clothes after taking my larger clothes to the nearby community charities clothes closet.
           I buy clothes that really look and feel great on me. I can look at myself in the dressing room mirrors without fear or shame.
           I savor my foods as I slowly chew them until pureed before swallowing. But I also look at my food and smell it appreciatively before eating.
           Through classic behavioral conditioning, I’ve learned that when I eat the correct foods in the correct way I feel satisfied and energized; when I don’t, a trip to the bathroom relieves me of the contents of my pouch that felt stuck directly behind my sternum.
            2.  I never resumed “eating normally, only less of it.” That’s like getting out of a 3-month residential treatment program for drug abuse/alcoholism and going straight to the old neighborhood bars to hang out with your addict friends. Before surgery, I was a lifelong “carb addict:” rice, pasta (my Mom’s Sicilian American), wonderful breads, Danish, bagels, pizza, cookies, scones, canolli – mama mia! I could not imagine life without them.
           After surgery, I didn’t want to squander precious space in my little pouch on simple carbohydrates and sugar.
           Immediately after surgery, I lost my taste for those foods. By not reintroducing them into my food plan the cravings have not returned!
           I want you to understand I am not talking about clenched teeth, white knuckled willpower. I have no emotional yearning to “give in” and eat those foods  Dining out, instead of having my meat or fish resting on a bed of rice, a bowl of pasta or a mountain of “smashed” potatoes, I’ll nest it on spinach or shredded lettuce or (gasp!) nothing, with fresh veggies on the side. From time to time I’ll try a few tablespoons of rice (say, in an Indian restaurant), or a few fork-twirls of pasta to satisfy my curiosity; but it doesn’t lead to a return of the cravings.
            3. I became familiar with the world of normalcy; I came to accept myself as a person who fit into this normal world.
           I had my picture taken every week during the first 4-5 months, and every month from then on. I still do! I use disposable cameras and hand it to my husband, a friend or a co-worker and simply ask them to take my snapshot.
           I make sure to use up & print out a roll of film every month (nowadays, every other month) and really look at the photos of myself.
           I put them in a travel size album to carry around to encourage myself and other post-ops.
           The act of seeing me in a mirror has become so familiar it feels natural.
           As I watch my weight-lifting body change its shape, I find myself feeling awe and respect for my body.
            4. I rejected the thought that people were not responding to the “real” me as I achieved a normal body image.
           Lugging around a heavy body, only people who could “see past” the superficial package to “the real me” had value to me. If you paid too much attention to the physical façade, I dismissed you.
           Now I value my body as being an inseparable part of “the real me.”  I’m no longer “stuck with” the burden of having a body. I embrace the reality that I am spirit embodied, enfleshed, incarnate.
           The “real” me is a normal person, having a normal relationship with food: I eat when I’m hungry, I stop when I’m not and nutrition guides my choices. It’s similar to when I quit smoking during my first pregnancy. At first I thought of myself as an ex-smoker, but after a while, without giving it conscious thought, I heard myself identify as a non-smoker.
            5. I realized that the sabotaging behaviors were misplaced efforts to comfort my fears and anxieties about an unimaginable future by rescuing me from it! I’d had a lifetime of being fat and dieting was all I knew. When my fear of becoming an attractive woman became intolerably dangerous, I’d calm myself down with food. Until I was willing to imagine a different future me, to “see” her emerging and welcome her rather than run from her, I was doomed to yo-yo. I had to choose to befriend that fearful part of myself and find other ways to comfort me.
            6. I spend time trying new activities and thinking about new options for myself. I am resilient, curious and enthusiastic! At times I catch myself still thinking like a fat person with severe limitations. For example, when I read on the ObesityHelp.com Georgia message board that several of our peers had completed this July Fourth’s Peachtree Road Race, I realized it never occurred to me to even think about running. I associate running with injuring my knees and ankles. I saw that this was a remnant of my former self. I’ve decided to see what running feels like. I get to choose!
            7. I stay connected to sources of support for my continued transformation and wellness. Social isolation, being a Lone Ranger, is a sure path back to obesity. I still go to WLS support groups, read the Obesity Help website daily, go to the gym 5-7x weekly, work out with a fitness trainer, check in with a psychotherapist and turn to personal life coaches as needed.
            Ultimately, the key to overcoming self-sabotage is to make an absolute commitment to doing whatever it takes to not only save your life, but celebrate it! Once I entered into that agreement with myself and God, I became very resourceful and creative about making it work. I am becoming versatile at brainstorming and “thinking outside the box.” My life is an adventure and I get to be the hero! You can, too. Join me!
"The Black-Eyed Peas" hit: "Today’s Gonna Be a Good, Good Day!" had a crowd of thousands
dancing in the streets of Chicago – and they were all doing the same choreography!!
It totally blew Oprah’s mind.
They decided to get the choreographer to make a video teaching US the same dance in 3:47min.
If you think your life is about dieting and losing weight – this is your wake up call!
Your life is about embracing the gift of incarnation – of experiencing your life IN & THROUGH your physical body as well as your mind & spirit.
Play this video as much as you want. Make sure to practice on a soft surface so you don’t ruin your knees & ankles: a rug, rubber mat, lawn, sand…
And don’t tell yourself you can’t find LESS THAN 4min. to move your body in joyful celebration!
Ready? A-5-6-7-8-