There's a simple question to ask yourself when you diet, yet it often doesn't get asked. Make it different this time around.

There’s a simple question to ask yourself when you diet, yet it often doesn’t get asked. Make it different this time around.


“This time will be different. Starting Monday, eating all the crap will be over. I HAVE to do something about this!”

How many times have you repeated this same phrase.

You are by no means being judged, because countless others have been in the exact same shoes and know how frustrating it is to try and change your eating habits and your diet.

After all, we all like to eat food…it serves so much purpose in our lives.

All our happy moments are enhanced by great food – that fantastic raspberry-filled wedding cake at your best friend’s wedding. An amazing turkey stuffing your Auntie makes every year for Christmas dinner. That perfectly moist carrot cake muffin you had at that little corner bakery during your visit to New York City.                                                       

But sometimes, food is the end result of those not-so-great moments of life.

That time during a breakup, and the only thing that made you feel better was ice cream. Or the time you felt fat and thought, “What’s the point?” as you ate another brownie. Or the time you had a stressful day at work, came home, and ate that one cookie that destroyed your perfect diet habits up until that point. And then the guilt sets in:

Why did I eat that?

I was doing so good and now this.

That’s it! I’m starting a juice cleanse on Monday!

This is the setup for the Binge-Eat-Repeat Cycle, and it’s not good for your health.

Now, let’s be clear: there is nothing wrong with any particular style of eating. If you love your nutritious green juice or smoothie, go for it! The problem is when we become focused on any one “food rule” and try to make that our lifestyle, hoping for a dieting miracle that we can sustain. As a result, we feel deprived not eating all the other foods we love which are no longer in our lives. Often times, we feel frustrated that our efforts are short-lived because we can’t stick to simple rules.  We feel disappointed in ourselves for failing a diet – yet again.

But the question to start asking is, are you really failing diets, or are diets failing you?

Be honest with yourself, and being to unravel how specific triggers elicit emotions that cause self-destructive behaviors. After all, every behavior or action is preceded by a thought. Sometimes they are automatic and seemingly subconscious, but this time, question it.

Are you looking forward to what your food choices will look like once you finish your diet? How do you feel about spending money on meal replacements, shakes, dieting pills, and meal plans that you’ve become dependent on? And most importantly, do you like the diet you’re on?

If that answer is no, there you have it: your reason why it didn’t last.

Living healthy is about creating a lifestyle that is sustainable, not one that leaves you feeling deprived or looking for another answer. It’s one that isn’t bound by a specified time range, because it’s meant to be everlasting.

It’s about developing a healthy relationship with food, in which all foods are neither good or bad, and you can learn to enjoy all of them in a healthy, manageable way.

Now that’s something you will want to continue for a lifetime.

Adapted from the original article.

Amber Madden, MA, LPCA is a Kentucky-based licensed mental health counselor specializing in treating eating disorders. As the creator of “Beat the Binge”, a 6-week online program, she helps individuals tackle their food rules and break free from the struggles of disordered eating, binge eating, and emotional eating. Learn more about Amber at Bloom Nutrition Therapy.