The popular adage, “you’re your own worst enemy” can be especially true when it comes to slimming down, eating better and getting fit. We asked MyFitnessPal users how they prevent self-sabotage; their insights might provide the solution(s) you need to overcome your obstacles.
Keep visual inspiration handy.
“I just look at progress pictures and rethink before I eat anything. It’s becoming a lot easier—down 128 pounds so far.”
“I tape photos of what I should be eating inside my fridge.”
“Look at old photos, read journals and reflect on what life was like right before you made the change to become a better person.”
“I keep a picture of me at my largest in my cheese drawer. Cheese is my weakness. It helped me to eat it in moderation when appropriate for the meal, and not just snack on it.”
“I look at progress pictures. I have also made list of non-scale victories along my journey and I read those when I get in my head and am tempted to say ‘screw this.’ Reminds me how far I have come. I also have a few friends that are accountability partners. I reach out to them when I am tempted or know I could be tempted. Knowing they will ask me how I did helps keep me on track.”
Slack just enough.
“I allow myself one day a week to go over my calorie limit by 200 calories. That way, I don’t feel deprived and binge.”
“Consistency is key. Having a ‘pig-out day’ just negates progress. It’s a mindset. Do you want to lose weight or not? If you do, pig-out days should be less often, and eating a healthy, clean diet should be a lifestyle change.”
“I accept that there will be bad days and allow myself to have cheat days (though not often) so that I never feel deprived. But I don’t let one bad day turn into a shame spiral that drags me down into more bad days. I shrug it off and try to be more active the following day to attempt to offset it a bit. We’re human, we’ll fall down at times on our journey to better health, the trick is to not let ourselves stay down.”
“Oreos are my weak spot. So I get the Thins and only eat half a serving.”
“We have chocolate but just a small piece. If we didn’t allow ourselves small treats then we’d pig out like we would never get to eat chocolate again! It’s about moderation.”
“During the week I remind myself that I whatever I’m craving that day I can have on the weekend if I still want it. I like to have one day to look forward to—even one small ice cream sundae won’t break my diet bank. I’ve found that depriving myself of something I really want only makes me want to eat a whole lot of other things I shouldn’t just to make up for that one thing!”
Control your cravings, don’t let them control you.
“Not the healthiest things in the world, but when I have a sugar craving, I chew sugar-free gum.”
“Eat everything in moderation.”
“I don’t keep anything in the house that I would binge on. If I want a treat, I have to go and get it. Even then I purchase either a child’s size or single-serving portion.”
“I eat everything in moderation and I don’t cut any foods or food groups out. It doesn’t have to be painful.”
“I try to find healthy alternatives when I have cravings. For example, if I want something sweet, I try to grab fresh fruits. If I want something salty, I try to grab salted almonds. When I get hungry, I try to drink water to see if that helps.”
“I look at what I am about to eat/drink and think, ‘Do I really want to write this in my food journal?’ If the answer is no, then I offer the item to someone else. If I don’t want to write it down, then I obviously don’t need to eat it.”
“I just love cake and cookies so much, but try to think of saving money by not buying them. Salads are cheaper and healthier.”
“I’m still trying to figure it out. As far as diet goes, I’m trying to learn to enjoy the healthier stuff, and make healthier substitutions so I can enjoy food and still stay on track.”
Schedule healthy practices until they become routine.
“Pre grill protein. Pack individual containers of protein, fruit and veg for several days.”
“I give myself a certain time in the day that’s ‘workout time.’ I tell myself, just go easy, but once I get into it I start pushing again and then I’m so pleased I didn’t just lay on the couch.”
“Packing my lunch and entering all of my calories the day before. This way my food choices are not made emotionally.”
“I’ve divided my 60 minutes a day on the treadmill into two 30-minute sessions. It seems to be working.”
“Schedule everything: your meals, snacks, workouts, etc.”
“I have put an 8 p.m. curfew on my eating. I don’t eat after that and so far it has worked.”
“Stay organized. Once I get disorganized, things like meal planning go out the window.”
“I schedule my activity in my appointment book and planner, and always schedule a day off. For food, pre-planning and using Sunday to do most of my cooking for the week helps.”
Recruit others to help/inspire.
“I had a trainer I worked with every week. It helped keep me motivated and focused.”
“I started fitness coaching. It helps me stay on track when I know there are people counting on me to post tips and new recipes, show progress pictures, and cheer them on to do their workouts. I need to be a good example for my daughter and my clients, as well as doing it for myself.”
Be proactive instead of reactive.
“I walk 5 miles every morning. I’m 69 years old and have lost 30 pounds. I have noticed that if I keep walking, I can enjoy a few different foods and not have to be so strict—just cautious.”
“If I fall off, I put it behind me and get right back to it. It’s a marathon.”
“If you know that you will go not be able to stop eating it only buy what you need. I use to buy huge amounts of cheese but I can’t stop eating it so now I only buy it when I am going to make something that need it and try to buy small amount of it.”
Focus more on changing the way you think instead of the way you look.
“I read somewhere it’s because you don’t believe you are worth the success, and have low self-esteem. I can definitely relate to that, as it isn’t even about ‘missing’ certain foods. Need to work on the self-esteem and realize I am worth it!”
“Change from dieting to lifestyle. It’s not short-term cram to get to your goal; it’s a long-term change in how you view food. My relationship with food isn’t one of getting companionship or comfort. It’s of sustaining life and that’s it. I can celebrate without eating. It’s an amazing thing to change how your mind thinks.”
“I celebrate in the little successes and take it one day at a time. If I have a moment of overeating and lay stuffed and lazy on the couch, I accept it and try to learn from it. I keep a little journal for these moments and look to the positive things I have written about myself to pull me back up. I’ve been on a really good streak!”
“I think about how far I’ve come and how hard it is to get the weight off and how easy it is to put it back on again. It doesn’t always work but most of the time it does. Also I think how little time the wrong food is in your mouth and then causes all those extra pounds to appear. I think at the end of the day it takes great willpower—without that it’s a disaster.”