Dieting 101 : Say NO to Shame

Believe it or not, you will cheat on your diet.

At some point in the next few weeks:

  • You’re going to eat too much, or
  • Eat right before bed, or
  • Eat the wrong food, or
  • Skip a meal, or
  • Etc, etc, etc….

It’s guaranteed. Everyone does it. Even Jillian.

jillian michaels positive reinforcement diet shame Dieting 101 : Say NO to Shame

It’s how you deal with that cheat that’s going to determine the success of your diet.

If you see your cheat as a temporary slip-up and move on to the next meal, next day, next week…you’ll probably be very successful with your weight loss.

However, if you:

  • Obsess over your cheat, and
  • Keep blaming yourself, or
  • Pretend it didn’t happen, or
  • Hide it from others (ie your trainer)
  • Or find some other way to catastrophize your little diet slip-up

I can pretty much guarantee that your diet is doomed.

Shame is the Diet Killer

When you were learning how to drive, you made all sorts of tiny little mistakes & corrections. But you didn’t crash the car.

When you’re learning how to eat healthy & lose body-fat, you’re going to make all sorts of tiny little mistakes & corrections. You’re going to learn which foods work best for you. You’re going to adapt the generic diet to suit your unique lifestyle.

And as long as you don’t turn your little mistakes into big, emotional problems, you will be successful.

Always remember to stay in the present.

When you cheat on your diet:

  • Recognize that you did it.
  • Ask yourself why you did it.
  • Ask yourself how to avoid having it happen again
  • And then move on. Let it go.

There is no shame in making a teeny tiny little mistake. Learn from it, move on to the next meal and stop beating yourself up over a few cookies.

Doug Robb is a personal trainer, a fitness blogger and author, a competitive athlete, a social media nerd and a student of nutrition and exercise science. Since 2008, Doug has brought his real-world experience online via his health & fitness blog, Health Habits.

13 Comments

  1. Pingback: Dieting 101 : Say NO to Shame « Fat To Fit And Everything In Between

  2. Kelly

    August 24, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    I have a cheat meal once a week. It helps keep in line, and I know that if I really want a burger, fries, beer, larger portion of something, etc. I can have it on my cheat meal day.

  3. Nancy

    August 24, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Well said. I think people often also experience shame when they tell family and friends they’re dieting. It has to be said to others or eating in general will become a private, shameful act.

  4. Toni Taylor

    June 23, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Speak of….I had a lot of running around today and I decided to try Wendy’s new Berry Almond Salad. It had grilled chicken, almonds, and a variety of fresh berries. Only thing was it came with a packet of fat-free raspberry vinaigrette. I’m not a fat-free crap as it tend to be full of sugar and sure enough, the first ingredient was sugar and it had a full 12 grams of carbs with 11 of those carbs from the sugar. I went ahead and used the vinaigrette because I wanted to taste the salad how they intended. It was good, but I need to find a much lower carb/sugar dressing or use nothing at all next time. That was my splurge for the week! I don’t feel guilt or shame though! My splurge was a lot healthier than a trip to Dairy Queen! :)

    • healthhabits

      June 23, 2011 at 8:31 pm

      All that fiber probably slowed down digestion time and reduced the spike in insulin you would expect from the dressing. Another trick is to eat some of the chicken first…sip some water for a few minutes and then dive in. There is some research showing that this trick impedes fat storage.

      Either way, if that’s your cheat…you’re a bad-ass dieter

  5. qwerty

    June 12, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    Good statement on shame. I think this little thought process can be applied to many other things in life too!

    Shame has got to be one of the least helpful emotions to experience, actually does little good to anyone, actions always speak louder then words. Regret is better then debilitating shame.

  6. jasteck

    June 9, 2011 at 7:28 am

    Great advice! I’m still struggling with my weight. How is it that I’m successful in most areas of my life but can’t seem to get this journey completed? I’m focusing on a little at a time and happy to say I’m down two for at least today. :)

  7. Pingback: Dieting 101 : Say NO to Shame | Healthy & Free Life

  8. Jan Arzooman

    June 3, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Great article, and good reminder for me — I was starting to obsess this week.

  9. Phil@yacht charter greece

    June 2, 2011 at 2:45 am

    Have you noticed that only the fat people obsses over that? It’s like they feed on their shame. Or use it as an excuse to blow things out of proportion and quit their diet. I’ve seen it countless times with my own eyes.

    • healthhabits

      June 2, 2011 at 6:16 am

      It’s not just fat people…there are a lot of people who feel shame about their “bad habits”.

      You’re right about using shame as an excuse to quit their diet altogether. “oh well, I ate that cupcake. That ruins my diet, so I might as well eat another 6 of them.”

  10. Amy

    May 31, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    I think this is so true! Even though I struggle with beating myself up over this it’s something I hope to implement into my life.

    • healthhabits

      May 31, 2011 at 1:50 pm

      I wonder why we do it. Obsessing over a mistake isn’t going to make it go away. But letting go isn’t always easy