5 Clever Ways to Stop Sabotaging Your Healthy Eating Plan

Lisa Goetz

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The psychology of gaining, losing, and regaining weight is complicated. So it should come as no surprise that approximately 80% of people who go on diets and lose weight actually gain the weight back within a year, according to a recent article published in Scientific American.

Unfortunately, the high failure rate can impact all aspects of a person’s life. When you fail at something like healthy eating and losing weight, you might feel that you’re also a failure in other areas of your life like family relationships, job performance, and community engagement. If you’ve been trying to lose weight and eat healthy for a long time and keep backsliding, it could be that you’re sabotaging your own efforts without even knowing it.

Staying on track with your healthy eating and weight-loss goals might seem complicated if you’ve failed in the past. The good news is that eating healthy and losing weight can be attainable goals once you take action to stop sabotaging yourself. These are some of the things you can do to stay on track and achieve your health and weight-loss goals.

Always grocery shop with a list

Does this sound familiar? You’re on your way home from work and you stop at the grocery store to buy an ingredient or two to prepare a healthy dinner. You put the two ingredients in your shopping basket — say onions and skinless chicken breast — and then wander through the supermarket looking for food to satisfy a craving. So without even realizing what you’re doing, you add potato chips, ice cream, soda, and a cake to your shopping basket.

You can get around sabotaging your healthy eating plan by always writing down what you need to buy at the grocery store. When you follow a shopping list, you stay acutely aware of what you’re buying so you don't wander. Even when you stop at the supermarket on the spur of the moment, take a minute to write a shopping list. If you don’t have a pen and paper, write your shopping list in the notepad app on your smartphone.

Keep a treat or two in your eating plan

Some people start healthy eating plans and then stop because they don’t want to live a life without the sweet and savory goodies they love. The good news is that the best healthy eating plans actually call for treats. You just have to be smart about the treats you choose and when you eat them.

Practicing self control and putting thought into your actions is the best way to indulge in the treats you love, even when you're watching what you eat. There are two strategies you can choose to enjoy treats and stay on your eating plan.

  • Choose healthy options of the treats you love, such as low-fat ice cream, sugar-free candy, or low-sodium, low-salt potato chips.
  • Eat regular fatty, sugary treats in moderation and know when to stop.

Both approaches require self control. Limit your treats to earlier in the day. For example, plan to have one or two cookies after lunch or an ice cream sandwich as a late afternoon snack. If you exercise in the late afternoon or evening, enjoying a treat will make you feel good and won’t negatively impact your ability to lose weight.

Measure your portions

You might be self sabotaging your eating plan if you overeat routinely. Some dishes are just so good you have to go back for seconds. But if you’re trying to lose weight and get healthy, you need to measure your portions. Buy an inexpensive food scale or use measuring cups. Be sure to measure carbohydrate-heavy dishes like spaghetti to ensure you don’t eat too much. If a dish is especially delicious, measure out two portions and save one portion for a meal the next day.

Get comfortable with being upset

Stress, sadness, and anger are a few of the emotions that can cause you to sabotage your diet. You might be used handling your feelings with a sugary, salty, or fatty snack. This is a challenging habit to break. The trick to winning when it comes to your emotions is to stay with them.

If you’re following a healthy eating plan, the next time you get upset, give yourself a time out. Allow yourself to be upset without grabbing for food, recommends Dr. Bernadette Rock in an article published in Huffington Post. Once you get over the feelings, you’ll be glad you don’t have to deal with feelings of failure and guilt from eating something that’s not good for your health.

Ditch your weight shield

Your family, friends, and coworkers are used to you being overweight. When you lose weight, you might feel like you're forcing people in your life to get to know a whole new person. Afterall, you’ll be different, a slimmer version of you.

You might feel like staying as you are, and keeping your weight on as a shield, will protect you having to make any changes your friends and family might expect if you lose weight. Fortunately, you are in control of you. Avoid allowing your weight to be a shield that stands in the way of your ability to achieve more in life. Remember, you are in control of what you do going foward.

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Lisa Goetz writes cryptocurrency news, analysis and opinion. A freelance journalist with 11 years of experience, Goetz's articles have been featured in USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and the Houston Chronicle.

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