4 things to do if you keep slipping up with your diet
written by Philip Stefanov | FEBRUARY 1, 2022
If you’ve been a long-time reader of my blog, you might know of the chronic dieting issues I faced a few years ago. You can read about them here. Here is the short version:
I kept going back and forth between dieting and bulking; I spun my wheels for months and felt incredibly disappointed in myself.
I eventually understood the roots of my issues and overcame that. With that in mind, I’d like to share four tactics that might help if you keep slipping up, regardless of what your goals are.
1. Understand The Root Of Your Behaviors
The first step to improving your choices is understanding the root of your behaviors. We are all different, so there isn’t a single source of bad decisions. For example, three people who smoke might do so for different reasons. One might smoke to relieve stress; another could do so because it feels pleasurable, and the third – to look cool.
A simple mindfulness exercise you could do is to step back as the urge strikes and ask yourself:
“What is making me want to do this right now?”
For example, if you feel an intense craving for a specific food, it could be that:
- You saw an ad for delivery services
- The food was on the kitchen table
- You’re following a restrictive diet and have become food-obsessed
Doing the above is by no means easy because it requires a fair amount of objectivity. But changing behaviors is about taking a good look at yourself and what drives you to do things.
Understanding the roots of your behaviors will equip you with the knowledge you need to make better choices and avoid temptations, regardless of the circumstances.
2. Get Back On Track As Soon As Possible
The problem is rarely the slip-up itself but how we proceed after that. As soon as most people make a mistake, they get frustrated and decide that it’s all gone to waste. But here is the thing:
Every process, be it to lose weight, build muscle, or finish a side project, consists of small steps. Slipping up forces us to take steps back and move away from our goals, but it isn’t the end of the world. If you happen to make a mistake, the first and most productive thing you can do is get back on track.
For example, let’s say that you’ve had a few bad meals and now feel bad about yourself. One option is to keep going down that path because, why bother, right? You’ve already messed up, so there is no point in trying to fix the situation. Alternatively, forgive yourself and pick up from where you left off.
3. Change Your Environment
We rarely pay attention to our environment but doing so is vital for promoting good behaviors and making poor choices difficult.
For example, if your kitchen is full of processed foods, you’re more likely to eat them because they taste good. But, if you remove cookies, ice cream, potato chips, and other such junk from your home and replace that with healthier alternatives, you won’t have a choice. Even if you desire something unhealthy, you would have to go out, walk or drive to the store, buy it, and come back home.
Changing your environment can mean other things, too. What matters is that you ask yourself:
“Are my surroundings promoting healthy behaviors and making the unhealthy choices more difficult?”
4. Switch Gears For a While
One good way I’ve found to stop slipping up is to give myself some time to recover from whatever I’m doing. In the case of dieting, failing might indicate that you’re starved and food-obsessed. In that case, to keep pushing in that direction wouldn’t be an intelligent decision. Instead, you should switch gears for a while and focus on something else.
For example, when I struggled to stay on course with my diet a few years back, I stubbornly kept going back to it, even after failing numerous times. My body told me I shouldn’t keep going, but I didn’t listen and kept dieting anyway.
At some point, I decided enough was enough and switched gears. I bumped my calorie intake, stopped weighing myself, and removed myself from the idea of ‘getting lean,’ even if temporarily. I certainly felt bad at first, but those feelings passed, and I got to enjoy myself for the first time in many months.
A few weeks later, I was no longer food-obsessed, I had gained some healthy weight, and my performance was starting to improve again.
Thank you for reading! Until next week,
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