So you’ve been doing pretty well on your diet lately. You’ve been on track when it comes to the food you eat, and the path your weight has been taking is looking very promising. For the first time in your life, you’ve been staying true to your diet and you’re actually losing weight. You’re not even feeling the urgent cravings you used to get for pizza, cupcakes, and pie–or at least they’re not as attractive to you as they used to be.
Until one day, for whatever reason, you were able to rationalize having that slice of cake after lunch. You thoroughly enjoyed it while you were eating it, and it was only moments later that you realized something: You just cheated on your diet.
Shame, worry, and regret no doubt began to fill your very being. You asked yourself why you had that cake in the first place and if you even really wanted it. You started vowing to punish yourself and steer clear of all temptations, and maybe add some extra minutes to your regular workout session just to burn off that errant cake. You hated yourself for caving in, and immediately proclaimed yourself as fat, undisciplined, and pathetic.
Does all that sound familiar to you? Yeah, it happens to everyone who’s on a diet, so it might cheer you up to know that you’re not alone. The point is, everyone cheats on her diet at some point, but it’s not the cheating part that matters–rather, it’s how you handle yourself afterward. Instead of berating yourself repeatedly and dwelling on your diet-breaking, just calm down, breathe, give yourself a break. Believe it or not, it’s not the end of the world. As cliche as it is to say this, you’re only human and you make mistakes, and this particular mistake will not set you back significantly, even if you think it already has.
So you cheated on your diet with a food item you joyfully savored. That’s a good thing. What’s bad is if you cheat on it again and again, until you ultimately fall off your diet and back to your bad eating habits. The occasional treat won’t do you harm, and obsessing about it is completely unhealthy. You don’t even need to punish yourself over it and totally deprive yourself after just to make up for what you ate. It was something you needed to eat at the time, and as long as you haven’t been pigging out again, you’re still in pretty good shape.
Don’t throw up your hands and say, “Well, I’ve made a mess of that” then quit your diet altogether, since you probably think you’re too undisciplined anyway to keep it up. One mistake will not cost you. Give yourself some space to enjoy the sinful foods you enjoy; the more you deny yourself, the more you’re going to want to chow down on them. It never hurts to cheat on your diet from time to time, since we can’t all have iron-clad willpower. Make sure that when you do, it’s really worth it, however, such as treating yourself after completing a project at home or at work, on your birthday, or other similar occasions.
Just remember that one misstep won’t destroy you. Tomorrow is another day, after all.