The 4 Biggest Diet Breakers and How to Beat Them
We all have them: those triggers and danger zones that derail our diets every single time. Each of us has our own, and we usually have more than one, but some of these diet breakers are common to everyone.
If you can identify your own triggers and learn how to beat them, then you have a much better chance of making your weight loss dreams a reality and achieving your ideal shape.
So what’s the first step towards identifying and crushing your own triggers?
Keep track of what gets you off track. I recommend keeping a food journal to identify your triggers and what happens when you give in to them. Don’t keep your journal for just a few days; there are weekend diet breakers and work week triggers that you’ll want to give yourself time to note. Since you’re trying to eat right seven days a week, you need to be aware of what you’re up against and when.
Keep your journal simple. You can use the memo function on your phone, or just keep a small notebook with you. Write down everything you eat, where you were when you ate it, what time it was, and most importantly, what you were doing and how you were feeling at the time.
At the end of this week of food journaling, take a look at the patterns you see emerging between what you eat, when you eat, and how you feel afterwards. I bet that one or more of the diet breakers below pops right out at you! This is your biggest trigger.
Here are four of the most common diet breakers, and what you can do to break their hold on you and your goals.
Yes, you have crazy busy mornings. Or maybe you’re just not a breakfast person. Perhaps you’re never hungry until noon, or you even feel a little nauseous in the morning. But most likely, you just don’t think you have the time to cook and eat breakfast ever single morning.
But skipping breakfast is a terrible idea. They call it “break fast” for a reason: when you first wake up, your carb and protein stores are already depleted because you’ve been “fasting” since dinner the night before. Your body now needs you to “break” that “fast” and give it fuel to run its metabolism and get you through the day.
If you wait several hours before you eat anything, you’ll find yourself reaching for the donuts at work or hitting the drive-thru at 11am to get your energy and your mental focus in gear. You just can’t be on top of your game without breakfast!
Take the time each morning to refill your body’s energy stores. Have an IdealShake or an IdealBar if you need to eat on the run, or prepare some healthy breakfast options the night before, then pop them in the microwave on busy mornings. On the weekends, you’ve really got no excuse: make it a family tradition to prepare healthy, balanced, hot breakfasts on Saturdays and Sundays.
Stress is a diet breaker for almost everyone. When we’re stressed out or feeling a lot of anxiety, we want comfort food to soothe us, or crunchy food to let us blow off some nervous or angry energy. Almost universally, we reach for unhealthy stuff: fried chicken, potato chips, gooey chocolate chip cookies, or our favorite childhood fast-food meal.
There are two ways to fight this trigger.
- You can find a substitute for food altogether. Opt for physical exercise instead of snacking: walk up and down the stairs a few times, take a turn around the block, or play some sort of game that requires both energy and attention. This will take your mind off of food!
- You can make healthier choices with your “stress foods.” Replace chips with carrot sticks, or cookies with fresh fruit. No, it won’t taste the same. But believe me, you’ll feel better after you eat something healthy than after you break your diet with junk! Eating something you’ll feel bad about later is a surefire way to make your stress worse. Try a desert-like IdealShake or a yummy IdealBar.
TV is a major diet killer for most people. We tend to have an unconscious association between watching TV or a movie and enjoying a nice snack: greasy movie theater popcorn, a box of candy, a huge soda… you know what I mean! But you have three great options for breaking the power TV has over your diet.
- Skip the veg-out time. While you’re on your weight loss journey, just don’t watch TV. Take a walk, take a healthy cooking class, catch up on reading, or join a neighborhood softball team. You’ll notice some benefits to your mental health and your productivity, too.
- Watch TV actively. There’s no rule that says you have to sit on the couch to watch your favorite show! Enjoy your guilty pleasures on TV while walking on the treadmill or unrolling your yoga mat in front of the television for some stretches or sequences. You can also confine your TV time to the gym if yours provides screens.
- Plan your snacks in advance. Take time on the weekend or on a quiet evening to prepare and portion out some healthy snacks, like fruit salad, sliced veggies and fruits with nut butter or yogurt dip, homemade healthy trail mix, or even some whole fruit sorbet. Craving something sweet? Blend up a delicious dessert smoothie with IdealShake.
Skimping on Sleep
One of the reasons we reach for sugary or caffeinated items in the morning is that we haven’t got enough sleep. Unfortunately, sugar and caffeine are only temporary solutions to sleep deprivation. They lead to more sugar and caffeine cravings later, which can in turn lead to insomnia and more sleep deprivation. There’s simply no substitute for sleep!
If you have trouble getting to bed at a decent hour, make 9pm your cut-off time for any electronic screens, which overstimulate your nervous system. Try drinking some chamomile tea before bed, and write down your to-do list for tomorrow so that your mind can stop thinking and start resting. Once you get this routine down, your body will understand that 9pm means it’s time to wind down, and you’ll find that you have less trouble falling asleep.
If your problem is getting up early in order to start a hectic day, try setting out your clothes (and the kids’ clothes if you’ve got ’em!) the night before. Make sure that all backpacks, bags, and briefcases are ready to go after dinner, and put out some healthy breakfast options the kids can prepare for themselves. And then… get an extra half hour of stress-free sleep!
Let’s Wrap It Up!
Now that you’ve got a handle on your own diet breakers, you’re ready to face them down and achieve your ideal shape. And we’ve got the ultimate diet jumpstart kit for you to begin with!