Fact or Fiction: If my weight is up one day, it means what I’m doing isn’t working.
Fiction. On any given day, your weight might be temporarily up for a myriad of different reasons: hormones, water retention, biological factors, etc. It’s important to remember that even if you are following your diet perfectly, your weight won’t go down every day, or even every week. All dieters have days and weeks where their weight temporarily goes up or stays the same – it’s just part of the process. Because of this, it’s important to not put too much stock on any one weigh-in. As long as you keep doing what you’re supposed to be doing, your weight will go down again.
Fact or Fiction: Calories don’t count on holidays, like Labor Day.
Fiction. Unfortunately your body has no idea that it’s Labor Day, or that it’s Thanksgiving, your birthday, or Christmas. Your body processes all calories the same, 365 days a year. However, it is perfectly reasonable to plan in advance to have an extra treat on certain days – but make sure you do so in a controlled manner so that you don’t end up taking in way too many calories.
Fact or Fiction: If I can’t follow my diet right away, it means I just can’t do it.
Fiction. Learning to diet successfully is like learning to play the piano. Nobody would expect to sit down at a piano for the very first time and play a difficult piece of music flawlessly. Of course not! They would know that they need to learn to read music, start out with scales, then move on to easy pieces of music, practice them until they get better, and eventually move on to more complicated pieces. They would also expect to hit wrong notes and make mistakes along the way, and wouldn’t think that one mistake means they should give up. Dieting is the same. You need to learn certain skills, practice them over and over again, move on to harder skills, practice them, and eventually you’ll get better and better. You’ll make mistakes along the way – but that just means you need more practice, not that you can’t do it.
Fact or Fiction: “Just this one time” is a legitimate excuse to eat something.
Fiction. Every single time counts because every time you eat something you’re not supposed to, you reinforce your tendency to give in, and make it more likely you’ll give in the next time, and the time after that. Every single time you resist unplanned food, you reinforce your tendency to stand firm and you make it more likely you’ll be able to do it the next time, and the time after that. There is never a time when you’re not reinforcing one of these two tendencies, which is why every time matters.
Fact or Fiction: If I’ve made an eating mistake, I’ve blown it for the day and might as well just start again tomorrow.
Fiction. There’s no such thing as blowing it for the day. It’s not as if you reach a certain point and your body will stop processing any additional calories. The more you continue to eat on any given day, the more weight you may gain. It’s never too late to turn a day around and start having a good eating day, because guaranteed you’ll take in fewer calories than if you keep eating out of control. And remember, being in control of your eating feels so much better than being out of control, so the moment you get yourself back on track is the moment you start feeling better.