OK, so you are enticed by temptation . Maybe you give in to the urge to eat the minute you feel your
mood sinking. These are glitches that can totally kill your diet.
Here's a way to use a cheat—put it to work for you. Does that sound
like a contradiction? How can a bad thing like a cheat actually do
something good? Well, it can, and here's one way to make it happen.
It's called "repurposing".
What many people do after they slip while dieting is to regret
having done so. They feel guilty. They feel let down. They feel angry
at themselves. They feel trapped, because they can't go back and do it
over again—minus the cheat.
So, back to the idea of repurposing. Since you can't change what's
already happened, how about if you do the next best thing, which is to
alter the effect of what's happened on the present. Let's see how you
might take the aftermath of one of your cheating episodes and convert
it into a script for future actions. This will turn a "looking back
with regret" moment into a proactive moment.
Here's how it works. In the past, after falling off your weight-loss diet plan and
feeling terrible, maybe even hopeless about it, you probably said to
yourself: If only I had _________, things would be better. In the blank
might be: If only I had remembered my goal, or If only I had spoken up
to that person instead of stuffing down my feelings, or If only I had
told my hostess I was dieting, or If only I had skipped that luncheon
with my friends who are all overweight, or If only I had given myself
some "time-out" time and not gotten so tired. Anyway, you get the
You are trying to fix your cheat, in a way, by thinking of something
you could have done that would have been much better for you.
Well, this is a great thing to do. Now you can tailor this "if only
I had" thinking ever so slightly and come up with an alternative future
action. This is the way to achieve a positive outcome next time, a
better reality for you and dieting.
As a proactive strategy, you can take any "If only I had..." and
transform it into a definite and positive plan. For example: I will
bring a piece of paper with me next time I go out to dinner listing my
goals and remind myself of why I want to achieve them; I will prepare
myself with satisfying things to say when I feel like someone is
criticizing me; I will forewarn my hostess about the fact that I am
dieting so she won't need to feel hurt if I don't eat much; I will skip
lunch with my overeating friends until I reach my goal and feel more
confident; I will make sure not to get so tired that I can't focus on
You see how you are tooling up with a plan like this? And it comes
directly out of a cheat. In fact, without the cheat, you might not know
as well what you need to anticipate and plan for.
This will up your confidence, and equip you to negotiate any dieting
"hot spot". It will prepare you to meet the momentary challenge,
whatever it is.
It's really true: mistakes are the best teachers of all.