By March 2, 2012

It’s the Little Things that Kill Your Diet

You know how diets usually work. You start out excited and stay strictly on your diet for a week. Maybe two. But by week three you start to crack. Some people completely ditch the diet and binge eat right away.

But for most people it’s a more gradual decline.

You go out to eat with your friends for an office party. Everyone else is pigging out with appetizers, a huge pasta entree, and a dessert with at least five layer of chocolate. You give in to temptation and pig out.

Or maybe you go to the movies. The smell of popcorn overwhelms you so you sneak off to the concession stand. Armed with a large sugary soda and popcorn covered in fake butter you head back to your seat to watch the movie and chow down.

Perhaps your downfall is the 2:00 afternoon slump. You’re sitting at your desk at work and you start to feel drowsy. Work is boring but it’s still three hours before quitting time. What can you do to survive the afternoon doldrums? How about a trip to the vending machines? A bag of potato chips or a candy bar will do the trick. Of course you have to wash it down with a soda.

What do you do when friends drop in unexpectedly? There’s nothing in the house to cook and you don’t want to make them sit around and wait while you go to the grocery store. So you pick up the phone and order a pizza with a side of cheesy bread and an order of buffalo wings.

But nothing compares to the dreaded midnight munchies. You know you should be heading off to bed but you’re famished. You know you’ll never be able to sleep unless you get something in your stomach. Whatever is in your refrigerator or cupboards is fair game. After a huge bowl of sugary cereal or half a bag of cookies you fall into bed and let it all turn straight to fat while you sleep.

All of these things could be avoided with a little advanced planning. But the truth is, everyone’s going to fall off the healthy eating bad wagon every now and then. That’s not really the problem.

The problem is; after your short lapse in judgment you feel guilty. Then you feel discouraged and depressed. “Why even bother trying to diet?” you think. “I’ll just mess up again. I might as well give up all together. I feel so bad I don’t think anything can cheer me up. Except maybe a gallon of ice cream!”

And off you go. Your healthy eating plan is once again sabotaged. Not because you messed up once…but because you gave up yourself.

How do you avoid this trend?

One thing you can do is plan your cheats. If you know you and your office workers go out to lunch once a month; then give yourself a free pass for that lunch. Eat what you want and forget about it afterward. Don’t feel guilty and don’t use it as an excuse to quit your healthy eating plan.

You might want to give yourself one day a week to eat what you want or at least one meal.

Make sure your desk at work is stocked with healthy snacks. But make Monday afternoon your cheat day. Eat a candy bar and that one day and do better the rest of the week.

As time goes by, you may find yourself wanting to cheat less often. Your taste buds adjust to enjoying healthier foods and you love how energetic you feel.

But in the meantime…plan to splurge on occasion and forget the guilt. Then immediately get back on track.