5 Ways Dieters Sabotage Themselves

You’re smart and well informed about lots of things in life, so why is it so tough for you to stay fit and healthy?

You may have lots of excuses, and no doubt you have a heap of challenges facing you, but don’t let these excuses be your reason for not achieving your health goals.

We certainly have unlimited access to cheap fast food, snack foods, and soft drinks, and we seem to have less time than ever before to prepare healthy meals. But, when you become more mindful of the everyday obstacles that can lead to weight gain, this can help you to avoid and overcome these obstacles in the future.

5 Major Diet Saboteurs

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1. You Say, “I’ll Start Tomorrow”

Many dieters repeat this line over and over again, and especially at weekend’s, when Monday seems like a great day to start once again.

But let’s face it, Monday is a big enough pain without adding to it.

Remember, you’ll be exactly the same person you are right now, tomorrow, Monday, or January 1st, so why not get the part you’ve been dreading over with now, and start immediately.

You may just find it wasn’t as difficult as you imagined.

Start by making a resolve to be more healthy right from this second, and go get a big glass of water to drink right away. Yes, even if it’s 9:30 on a Thursday evening… start IMMEDIATELY!

2. You Expect Miracles

One area that people expect miracles from is exercise. Obviously, regular cardiovascular and strength training exercise will help you to tone up and lose some pounds. In fact, it is vital for long-term success.

However, if you believe that those 45 minutes you just spent sweating away at the gym, allows you to treat yourself to a creamy coffee and donut on the way home, you’re way off the mark.

Think of exercise as a way to tone your muscles, and prevent lose of muscle mass as you lose weight. Then, focus on your diet for shedding those extra pounds.

Ultimately, exercise will help to boost your metabolism, which will burn more calories in the end. But, you need to make the deficit in your diet — that’s a huge part.

3. Your Mentality Is “All or Nothing”

Trying to attain a perfect diet is crippling. You know this, but I’ll say it again, perfectionism isn’t possible in anything, or anyone. So, stop using that as a way to avoid doing what you know you need to do.

Rather than stopping and restarting your diet each time something doesn’t go to plan, get back on track immediately, keep going, and don’t allow yourself to be racked with guilt.

There is no such thing as a “perfect” diet day, so just do the best you can, and get on with your life.

4. You Don’t Have “Time” For Exercise

I had this excuse from someone I was talking to recently. She had every reason under the sun as to why exercise was difficult, and she hates it.

For some of you, you may not have the pleasure of a nice safe park to jog around, or a gym next door. Perhaps you hate swimming, and you don’t have the motivation to workout to a DVD on your own, but you also don’t want to join an exercise class with other people around.

That may be the case, but there are so many activities you could do. You need to make the choice to find something you like and do it — you have to want to find it first, though.

5. You’re Extremely Impatient

Unless you’re losing 5 pounds per week, you deem your efforts a complete waste of time, and quit trying.

Perhaps the weight is simply falling off your friend, and you’ve been following a similar plan, so what’s the point of you trying when you obviously “can’t” lose weight.

That attitude is a huge mistake.

Actual fat loss depends on so many things, including your weight, your age, your sex, your level of activity, the foods you eat, your genetics, and a whole host of other factors.

Instead of quitting, then feeling bad about your efforts, try re-evaluating what you are currently doing.

Perhaps you need to make a few changes to your diet. Perhaps you need to increase your exercise effort. Or, perhaps you just need to stick with it, and ride out the storm in your mind.

Stick-ability is undoubtedly the key to weight loss success! There is no magic formula.

Get your mind focused on what matters. Namely, how much better you feel, how much more energy you have, how much more positive your attitude is, when your lifestyle is healthy.

These are the things that matter, not the numbers on your weighing scales.

In terms of weight loss, it is important to realize that you are up against a whole lot of potential saboteurs. But, by simply being more aware of these obstacles, it will empower you to make more informed decisions.

Best wishes!

What are your biggest diet saboteurs? And, how have you overcome them?

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About Melanie
Melanie is a Registered Dietitian who started Dietriffic in March 2007. Her aim is to make good health attainable and sustainable, without guilt and torture, making her approach popular with those who desire a level-headed approach to good health. Have you got your copy of her free book yet?


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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Vincci August 26, 2011 at 12:20 am

Great tips, Melanie! Reading just the headings, they can apply to *lots* of other areas in life as well!

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Melanie September 6, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Thank you, Vincci.

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lance August 26, 2011 at 2:55 am

These are all great tips. I think you can blame “the Biggest Looser” for allowing people to think they can drop 20lbs in a week. I always tell people,you didn’t gain 50lbs in a month. You sure aren’t going to loose it in a month. And if you watch T.V. then you do have time to exercise!

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Melanie September 6, 2011 at 5:33 pm

lol Lance. I like your comment about TV and time to exercise.

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Taleen August 26, 2011 at 7:30 am

The ‘all or nothing’ is a killer! This black or white thinking can kill a persons comfidence, motivation and drive to do well. If you don’t get it ‘spot on’ then you’ve ‘failed,’ or if you rule things out completely and label them ‘bad behaviours’ then you come down on yourself like a ton of bricks for slipping over to the ‘dark side.’ There shouldn’t be a complete wall between what you consume and don’t consume; rather, guidelines as to how much of it you consume. That way, if you have a nibble at a treat, it doesn’t lead to guilt or feelings of complete failure.

Thanks again Mel.

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Melanie September 6, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Yes, you’re completely right. There really isn’t such a thing as “good” and “bad” foods. It’s okay to eat healthy foods most of the time, but as you say, the problem comes when you feel guilty for eating foods that don’t fall into your “ideal” diet. Small portions of these foods should be allowed from time to time, without derailing your progress.

And, all of that negative language does nothing to inspire your healthy lifestyle anyway. It’s not easy, when you get into a habit of this kind of self talk, but it certainly can be overcome.

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Laura August 26, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Your advice is right on the money! As a former binger who is trying to get her health act on I recognize all of these. The all or nothing was the worst because if I had a single cookie then I used it as an excuse to let go and eat whatever I could lay my hands on. I think another way you can sabotage yourself is by viewing food as a prize. I would congratulate myself on a good job with cheesecake or donuts. My donut butt can tell you how that went. It takes time but these patterns of behavior and thought can be modified.

@lance I haven’t watched the Biggest Loser in a while but I think that they should always mention that the more you weigh, the more you will lose. That’s particularly true in the beginning when people (particularly men) can lose 20 pounds in a week. It’s best to remind that you didn’t gain weight overnight so you won’t lose it overnight either.

Mel this post inspired a similar one in my own blog. It’s health focused (a little broader than yours) Would love if you checked it out.

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Melanie September 6, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Hi Laura,
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It’s interesting to hear your experiences of this. Was there something in particular that helped to you start overcoming this behavior?

ps I will check out your blog, too, thanks!

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Wendy August 27, 2011 at 8:50 am

Thanks Melanie for such a brilliant article. It’s so spot on! I’m a student dietitian currently doing my placement in a obesity clinic and I hear these phrases all the time!

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Melanie September 6, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Hi Wendy,
Thanks so much. I hope your placement is going well. It would certainly be an interesting job working in an obesity clinic.

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Ruth August 29, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Brilliant Mel!!

I have to try to keep restarting EVERY day. I daren’t stop. Today has been good. The first day in a few weeks that |I haven’t even had a plain biscuit. The rest is easy!! Tomorrow I aim for the same, no sugar and EXCERCISE AGAIN!
This was a good wee reminder, thought my body is already reminding me these past few days!!

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Melanie September 6, 2011 at 5:47 pm

lol Ruth. You are doing great. Hope it can get easier for you again, though.

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TheyWorkout August 31, 2011 at 2:14 pm

My worst motivation killer was #2 – I expected miracles. I would get very disappointed with result after a week or two training, but now I manage to keep it aside in my thoughts and push harder and watch more what I eat and it works.

@Lance – There is a solution for wasting time in front of TV – I drive indoor bike trainer every time I watch my favorite TV series. After other workout it comes as relaxation.

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Melanie September 6, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Great tips, thanks so much for your comment.

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Vicki September 14, 2011 at 11:52 am

All or nothing is my downfall too.

I can be doing great with healthy eating, started the day with a healthy breakfast, had healthy snacks at my desk, just drank water and was sensible at lunch. Then something occurs, like a birthday cake going around, or getting back from the gym very late and hitting the takeaway. And then I think ‘ oh well, there is no point in being healthy the rest of the day, I have blown it now, start again tomorrow’ and before long the day has turned into a sugar and junk food binge!

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Melanie September 14, 2011 at 12:04 pm

That is such a shame, Vicki, you start the day off so well. What strategies have you put in place (or could you put in place) to avoid this happening over and over again?

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Vicki September 14, 2011 at 12:13 pm

I think trying to forgive a slip – not seeing it as a wasted day, but to get back on track right then and there. And learning a little self control to say no in the first place. I really need to re-focus on my goals. My first half marathon is this weekend but everything else has gone astray goals wise over the last few weeks. Hopefully once that is over, I can get back to normal life, get right back on track with healthy eating, catch up with my friends again, and take a short training break (but only for a week). After the weekend I can fouc on becomming slimmer again rather than whatever I need to cross the finish line (the charity I am running for really loses out if I don’t).

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Melanie September 16, 2011 at 8:14 am

Hi Vicki,
That will be such a wonderful achievement when you cross that finish line. Best wishes for the weekend :-)

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