Diet mistakes: Why you shouldn’t give up your favorite foods

Last week I started a series where I’m explaining the 3 biggest mistakes that prevent you from losing weight (or making it very difficult to maintain a healthy weight). If you didn’t read the first mistake, catch up here.


The second biggest mistake is absolutely forbidding certain foods. Although it seems counter-intuitive, if you have a no tolerance policy toward any unhealthy foods – and I am talking about things you really like – you may be doing yourself more harm than good.

Research shows that when people give in and eat a food that they were trying to avoid, they feel bad, and that starts a spiral that is more likely to end in the person giving up altogether. So you want to give yourself a little leeway; don’t set yourself up for failure.

If you do have the unhealthy food, perhaps focus on just having a smaller portion than usual, make sure you savor it (don’t do something that takes your mind off what you’re eating), and don’t feel bad about it.

One caveat – this really only applies to unhealthy foods that you LOVE. Sometimes, we may not LOVE it, but we eat it because it’s there, whether because we’re bored, we don’t want it to go to waste, or because someone brought it in to our workplace.

Before picking up the treat you need to ask yourself if it’s really worth it. A donut like those shown in the picture has about 200 calories. It would take a half hour run just to burn off those extra 200 calories! So, if you could take it or leave it – leave it!

This is a tough balance because you only want to eat something if you’re really jonesing for it…BUT, if you do, don’t send yourself down the shame spiral. Instead, pat yourself on the back for all the healthy eating you’ve been doing and don’t see this as a setback.

Keep on workin toward your healthy weight/healthy lifestyle goal no matter how much you think you “screwed up.”

Ultimately, being a healthy person means eating lots of healthy foods – whole grains, fruits and vegetables – and being fairly active. You DO NOT have to run marathons and only eat tofu to live a long, happy, healthy life.

Next week I’ll be sharing third biggest mistake that prevents you from losing weight.

What are the few unhealthy foods that you’re going to allow yourself to enjoy now and then? Share with us in the comments below. Mine are sugary coffee drinks and potato chips.