Diet damage control
Why is it that we can have willpower of steel for days and then,
in one moment, lose all self-control and eat everything in sight?
discuss their diet sabotage experiences and offer advice on how to
deal with these inevitable blowouts.
So you’ve been extremely diligent this week, exercised regularly and
eaten all the right foods. Then Friday night rolls around and
you find yourself faced with some mouth-watering chips or an
irresistible plate of takeaway. Most of us give in and then
immediately regret it. To find some answers on how to prevent
diet sabotage, we culled some iVillagers’ suggestions from the
diet message boards.
Here are their simple strategies:
In the face of a tempting Indian meal one iVillager suggests, ‘Eat
really slowly. Chew each mouthful twice as long as you normally would
and put your fork down occasionally between bites. That way you really
get to taste your food (the difference is amazing), your brain has more
time to register when your tummy is full, and you don’t feel pressured
to eat just because everyone else is, or just because the food is there.’
Another iVillager says, if you know you are going out for a meal
with friends, ‘try and eat light meals during the day, but
yourself or you’ll end up eating the whole lot once you’re at
dinner.’ She also adds sensibly that, ‘Unless you’ve got a will of
iron, you aren’t going to be able to resist, so eat small portions
and try to drink a diet drink or water.’
Another iVillager’s approach is as follows: ‘I don’t have a drink
during the week because I would snack at night. During the week,
I concentrate on work so I don’t think about food. Weekends I
relax and get easily sidetracked, so I make myself buy healthy food,
except the kids lunch box treats and crisps.’
iVillager Stinny suggests one way to get back on track with your diet:
‘Before you eat anything, ask yourself how hungry you are, on a scale
of one to ten (ten being starving), and only eat if you are a six or
over. It’s a really good trick and it makes you think before you eat.’
As far as the emotional ups and downs are concerned, most of us are
much too hard on ourselves and need to allow some room for mistakes.
iVillager Blinxmum says: ‘Right, so you’ve had a blowout, which does
not a diet break. We’ve all been there.’ She adds: ‘Just put it
behind you. There’s no point feeling guilty– it’s extremely
counterproductive because you just start to think in negative
terms – how you can’t cope or can’t do it. Just forget it happened
and carry on as normal.’
For some of us, however, giving in to our temptations stems from
frustration due to our lack of progress. iVillager Karen explains:
‘Guess who didn’t lose weight this week??!! I really cannot believe it.
I’ve tried soooo hard. I gained 2lbs last week, and I thought I would
have got at least that 2 off, but no. I wish I’d not bothered now.
I’m so close to giving up completely and just staying fat. At least
I wouldn’t be so upset every week if I didn’t lose any weight, and
I wouldn’t be as obsessed by every morsel that entered my mouth.’
This type of inability to lose weight can be due to reaching a plateau,
where the body’s metabolism adjusts to the foods being eaten and the
exercise being done, and therefore slows down and burns fewer
calories, making it more difficult to lose weight. The best thing to
do is to vary your exercise routine.
It may also be worthwhile reviewing your food
intake and reassessing some of the foods that may be contributing to
those stubborn extra pounds.
Another question to ask yourself if you’re not losing weight is, ‘Are
you eating enough?’ One iVillager notes, ‘If you starve yourself,
then your body will go into famine mode and hold onto all its
precious fat reserves. What you might need is to eat regularly and
kick-start your metabolism.’
iVillagers mention other reasons for diet sabotage:
Having tempting foods in your fridge or cupboards.
‘Being at home is impossible. The cupboards are stocked
with junk food for the benefit
of my younger brother,’ says one iVillager.
Eating fattening food when you’re a guest or with friends.
‘I don’t want
to upset mother by declining home-cooked lard,’ one woman complains.
Peer pressure from friends who don’t understand how important your diet
is to you. ‘I’m going to be surrounded by women who are ‘always on a
diet’, but never keep it up because they always pig out, so I won’t
get any sympathy from them. They’ll say ‘once won’t hurt’ and stuff
Feeling like you’ve strayed so far from your diet and exercise plan
that it feels pointless to go back. ‘Terrible eating has got me out
of feeling that I’m on any sort of healthy regime, so I haven’t
The best strategies for sticking to your diet are:
Take it one day at a time
Remember the progress you have made regardless of your setbacks
Allow yourself some mistakes
Stay busy and focused on something like work or spending time with
friends, so you have less time to sit around thinking about foods
Keep any tempting foods out of your cupboards
Anticipate the times when you might be tempted, such as during the
weekend or eating out with friends, and try to prepare yourself for
these situations with some of the tips mentioned above.
When all else fails, allow yourself a treat in moderation and, most importantly, enjoy it.