How to Stop Backsliding With Dieting

How to Stop Backsliding With Dieting

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Backsliding into unhealthy habits is a common problem with dieting and can prevent you from losing weight. The causes of backsliding may be feelings of deprivation, the impracticality or cost of the diet, slumping energy levels or failure to make permanent changes to your lifestyle. You are not the only one struggling with backsliding. But by changing your life rather than eating healthful foods for just a set time, you work toward a healthier, happier you.

Step 1

Set small reminders of your goals in places where you will see them to help catch yourself before you start backsliding. For example, place notes on your refrigerator, bathroom mirror and work desk.

Step 2

Tell friends, family or coworkers about your goals. This helps reinforce commitment to your diet and keeps you accountable. If you begin to backslide, people you told about your goals can give you a gentle reminder to get back on track.

Step 3

Eliminate unnecessary sources of calories from your diet. Cutting the cream and sugar from your coffee, not buttering your toast and replacing soda with water are examples of quick ways to cut a few hundred calories. Look for areas in your diet to make healthful replacements, too. For example, replace sandwich bread with lettuce or cabbage leaves, candy with fruit or salad dressing with vinegar.

Step 4

Keep unhealthful foods out of your home, workplace and other areas you frequent. Using the "out of sight, out of mind" tactic prevents cravings from causing a backslide.

Step 5

Write down your motivators and rewards. Start with a list of why you want to follow a diet -- for example, to fit into an old pair of pants or to reach your high school weight. Place the list where you will see it every day. Outline rewards for sticking to your diet. A $50 purchase every time you drop 10 pounds is a possible reward. When you feel yourself backsliding, think about why you want to lose weight and what reward awaits you next.

Step 6

Create a list of your backsliding triggers. Certain things, such as a taste of peanut butter or a night out with friends, can trigger backsliding. Make a conscious effort to avoid the triggers on your list.

Step 7

Engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Increased activity burns more calories, aiding in weight loss. Think of physical activity as part of your daily life and learn to enjoy it; the less of a chore it is, the easier it will be to keep doing. Even activities outside of obvious, structured exercise -- walking your dog, playing with your children or cycling to work -- can count toward your 30 minutes.


  • A physician or dietitian can help you determine the correct amount of calories to eat daily for weight loss. Alternately, you can track how many calories you eat each day for a week and eliminate 500 from the average daily intake. This should result in a 1-pound weight loss per week.
  • Once-weekly cheat meals might help or hurt your diet, depending on your mentality about food. From one perspective, a meal without dietary restrictions can allow you to relieve the stress from rigid dieting and stop feeling deprived. In contrast, eating a meal not on your diet can stir up bad habits and trigger backsliding. Only you can determine if a cheat meal is beneficial to your overall diet.


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