How to Stop Cheating on Your Diet

Ask Yourself Key Questions to Make Better Weight Loss Choices

Woman lying down in bed spilling chocolate ice cream on blanket
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Have you had problems sticking to your weight loss plan? Maybe you find yourself cheating on your diet too often. Most dieters completely understand. Almost all of us have had moments where the urge to eat a certain food is so strong that it feels like there is no other alternative that to eat it and give up on your diet. But the fact is, that there are things you can do to stay committed to your healthy eating plan and still lose weight.

3 Questions to Ask Before Cheating on Your Diet

Before you cheat on your diet, ask yourself these three questions. They'll lead you to an answer that will make you feel better about your decision to cheat—no matter what the decision is.

  1. What have I accomplished so far? Before you dive off the cliff into the depths of diet ruin, take a minute to remember how far you've already come. It doesn't even matter if you've only been on your diet for a day. Just the decision to change your eating habits demonstrates a positive step in the right direction. Give yourself some credit for that and for each exercise session, portion-controlled meal, healthy snack, and diet-friendly decision that you've made so far. Take some time to list a few of these accomplishments in your head before moving on to the next question.
    1. Also, remember that weight loss takes time. Patience is essential. There is a timeline you can follow to see diet results, but everyone's weight loss happens at a different pace. Giving yourself credit for healthy decisions will help you to feel successful even if you're not seeing results on the scale yet.
  2. Should you really use the word "cheat?"  Cheating implies that you are doing something wrong. Cheating is bad. But you're not bad and there is nothing wrong with eating. So eliminate the word "cheat" from the decision process. Instead, ask yourself if this food is the best food for your program right now. Will the calories in this food put you over your calorie goal for the day? In most cases it will. Does this food provide too much of the ingredients that you are trying to avoid? It probably does. Will this food really satisfy the problem that you're facing right now? In most cases, the answer will be "no."  All of your diet decisions won't be perfect, but no decision is "bad."  Eliminate the shame associated with the word cheat and make decisions from a mindset that is not judgmental.
  1. How can I allow for a treat and stay committed to my plan?  If you've gotten this far and you still really want the food in front of you, then maybe you should eat it. But that doesn't mean you should eat all of it. And it definitely doesn't mean that you should throw in the towel and give up on your diet completely. Ask yourself if there is a way to eat a small serving of the food that you want and make adjustments at another meal or snack to still reach your calorie goals for the day or for the week.

Cheating on your diet doesn't have to be a bad thing, but calling it "cheating" probably is. Learn how to allow yourself the occasional treats that you need to stick to a comprehensive plan for healthy eating and weight loss. After all, the diet you've chosen is a diet you'll need to stick to for life if you want to lose the weight and keep it off for good.  If it doesn't allow for some indulgences here and there, it may be too strict in the first place.

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