Dieting can be difficult, and we have all made mistakes while trying to lose weight.
Maybe you couldn’t resist that slice of cake, or perhaps you blew off your exercise session to watch Netflix instead, and now you feel like giving up completely because you think you’ve blown your diet.
Mistakes like these can make you lose motivation, so what can you do to try and avoid some of the dieting mind traps that are out there?
The first step is to learn to accept your dieting errors, and then you can find healthier ways to reach your weight-loss goals and form good habits.
Look at the Situation From A Different Perspective
If you did overeat or skip your workout, you may feel like you totally blew it and that there’s no point carrying on with your diet, but it’s essential that you look realistically at your emotional responses as well as your behavior.
Once you start hating on yourself, you end up believing that you just can’t stick to your weight loss goals.
If you look at the situation from a different perspective, you can learn from your mistakes and use this knowledge to avoid doing it again in the future.
If you gave in to a craving, look at all the factors that led to you feeling hungry, and at what time of day it was. When you get an idea why you did it, you can plan to have a healthier snack ready for when you feel like that again, or you could change the route home from work that takes you past your favorite baked goods store so you won’t have to fight temptation.
Trying to see the bright side in a situation is also known as positive reframing, and research has found it to be very effective in dealing with minor setbacks. People who use positive reframing report greater feelings of satisfaction at the end of the day.
Know Your Weak Spots
Admitting there are areas where you struggle with your weight loss is far more effective than denying them.
If you tend to cut your workouts short or add a few more spoonfuls to your plate at mealtimes, it can help to note this and come up with a plan to change these issues.
If you know that you overload your plate with food, for instance, try using a portion control plate, that has exact areas marked out for amounts of different food.
Accepting that you have vulnerable areas in your diet makes it easier to plan your approach to eating and exercise.
Change One Habit at a Time
You need to choose healthy habits to lose weight, but changing your old ones can be difficult.
Changing too many things at once is a very common diet mistake, and it can be difficult to stick to these changes.
Lots of everyday things we do are just habits – and that includes things that affect your health, weight, and fitness level. Research shows that as much as 40% of your daily activities involve habits. Many of these habits are formed through associative learning, which is when you do something that causes a good result, making you more likely to repeat that action again.
Habits don’t form overnight, so new weight-loss habits can take time to take hold. People often give up before healthy habits have time to become part of their routine.
Focus only on changing one small thing at a time. You could try and go for a walk after work instead of surfing the internet or watching TV, for instance. Once you have got used to that habit, add another good one, such as swapping soda for water.
These seem like small changes, but even small shifts can build up over time into a big effect.
You need to learn how to accept your mistakes and understand how you can sabotage your good intentions. When you do overeat, don’t say “what’s the point?” and start binge eating because you’ve blown your diet anyway.
Accept the mistakes you’ve made and move on, making sure you work towards overcoming similar problems in the future.