Do you have a problem with “cheating” on your diet?
Do you beat yourself up whenever you blow your diet and eat some “forbidden” food?
Do you need to learn to “forgive” yourself whenever you “stray” from your diet?
If you often find yourself stuck in this never-ending cycle of self-condemnation and self-forgiveness (self-hate to self-love and back again) maybe you should just dump the diet guilt and step outside of that framework entirely.
Breaking Your Diet Is Not a Sin
First, stop forgiving yourself.
There is nothing to forgive. And there is nothing to confess.
In order to forgive yourself, you would first had to have committed some horrendous sin worthy of judgement and punishment. And only through forgiveness could you be restored to decency and perfection…and…holiness? Or…something?
Blah blah blah.
Please stop doing that to yourself.
Eating a cookie or an extra scoop of spaghetti isn’t a sin, so there’s no need for forgiveness.
So you ate some more food than you were planning on eating.
Step away from the food, leave the kitchen or wherever and hold off until your next scheduled meal time. Then recommit to sticking with your diet plan the best you can for the rest of the day or starting first thing in the morning.
See if you can do better tomorrow.
Well-meaning health and fitness gurus tell you to forgive yourself for “cheating” on your diet (a word that is already loaded with judgemental, moralistic overtones) and not be so hard on yourself. But even the act of FORGIVING YOURSELF feeds the concept that you’re a bad person who did something bad and needs forgiveness. So you STILL end up putting way too much pressure on yourself.
And there ya go, right back into the loop of diet sin, self-judgement, self-condemnation, self-hate, self-forgiveness, self-love, another DIET SIN, self-judgement…and on and on.
Instead, step out of that ridiculous loop completely.
It’s all bullsh*t.
Accept Cheating as Part of the Diet Process
Changing habits isn’t easy.
And changing eating habits in particular is especially difficult for many of us. That’s why we’re overweight in the first place. If we already had tons of self-discipline when it comes to food, then we’d already be skinny.
So accept that you have eating habits that need to be changed. And accept that changing these habits will take time and practice.
You will go off your diet from time to time – especially in the beginning. Take it one week at a time and don’t freak out when you cheat.
Cheating is normal.
Cheating is part of the diet process.
A Recent Example From My Life
During the last six weeks of 2020, I decided to try to end the year strong and lose some weight. My goal was pretty ambitious for me – to lose 25 lbs in just 6 weeks.
I didn’t follow any particular diet, but I did give myself one main diet rule or strategy. My main rule was to only eat 3 meals a day with zero snacks.
I figured that if I could do that, regardless of what I ate during those meals, it would probably be enough of a calorie reduction for me to reverse my upward trend and actually lose some weight. I was eating all day long before this, so eliminating snacks seemed like it would be an effective strategy.
Do you know how many days I stuck to that diet?
Try guess how many days I “succeeded” with my diet.
Well, out of 42 days (6 weeks), I “failed” 32 days out of the 42. I only stuck to the rule 10 days.
For three weeks out of those six weeks, I gained weight.
I was also supposed to walk and do some kind of workout every day, like calisthenics or dumbbells or something.
But by the second or third week, I was only walking and working out once or twice a week.
By week four I decided to allow myself to stop exercising completely, so that way I could stop laying guilt trips on myself every day since I wasn’t doing it anyway.
It was clear by the third week that there was no way in hell I was going to come anywhere near losing 25 lbs by the end of Week 6.
Then, after (another) late-night binge (these happened REGULARLY), I started off Week 6 at the same weight I was at on Day One!
I even “quit” several times during this weight loss challenge, feeling like a failure. But that was temporary. I always shook it off and got back on track the next day (or sometimes the 2nd or 3rd day after that).
And in the end…I lost 9 lbs in 6 weeks.
Not a world record by any means.
But that’s a victory.
If I can repeat that “failure” every six weeks this year, I could end up losing about 75 lbs.
Big picture, folks.
So, don’t let those minor setbacks and cheat meals – or even full-on binges – throw you off into depression and make you quit your diet. No single meal blunder is enough to totally ruin your diet efforts. Just get right back on track, and that little extra weight will come right back off over the next day or two.
Dieting Is a Skill
Don’t give up just because you f*cked up.
That’s part of the weight loss process.
You fall down.
You get back up.
You keep trying.
And if you persist and keep working at it, you get better at dieting over time.
Little by little, it gets easier to resist those snacks and sweets and extra helpings of whatever. You don’t notice it at first, because it can take a several weeks or months of continued effort for changes to start locking in. But if you keep at it, you will get better at resisting those extra bites of food throughout the day.
Dieting is a skill.
And as is the case with any other skill, it takes time and practice and repetition for you to get better at it.
So keep practicing.
And for God’s sake, stop “forgiving” yourself for eating an extra slice of pizza.
There’s nothing to forgive – or condemn.
It’s just a f*cking slice of pizza. It’s not the end of the world. You’ll do better tomorrow.