“Reality Check” is an article series which looks at common mistakes people make when they begin dieting for weight loss. We’ll check out some ‘thought adjustments’ that will help you make better choices on your journey. The articles include tips, new ideas to try, strategies to follow, and encouragement to keep you moving forward.

How many ‘bad’ meals is TOO MANY?

“Sure, you can cheat a little. It won’t make ANY difference to your diet at all.”

I know, I know. I’ve said this in these articles time and time again. And it’s MOSTLY true, if you qualify it (as I hope I always have) with a follow-up phrase which goes something like this:

Sure, you can cheat a little. It won’t make ANY difference to your diet at all, AS LONG AS YOU GET BACK ON DIET IMMEDIATELY THEREAFTER.”

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And that’s the problem

A lot of people, most people in fact, allow one bad meal to turn into one bad afternoon. That afternoon merges into evening, and suddenly the day is a bad eating day. The next morning you wake up feeling guilty, and decide the only solution is to begin your diet more seriously again next Monday, and you eat like a crazy person until then.

Now it’s a few bad days. Then Monday arrives, and you feel terrible because you just realised there’s a work dinner at a burger joint, and so you’ll actually only start dieting again later in the week.

You get my drift?

One bad meal is fine, but it usually has consequences which are far from acceptable. One bad meal cannot be allowed to turn into a bad week, because that makes a difference.

So how does one do it then? How do you limit these bad meals so that you can stay on your diet? Well, the main thing here seems to be that you want to keep a healthy perspective, because guilt seems to be the lead cause of the bad eating turning into a habit.

If you had a bad meal, then you want to put it into context, accept it, and move on. Don’t let it upset you. Maybe even make space for a bad meal or two every week in your eating plan. However you do it, you have to stay in control of your emotions, and keep moving forward, because the only alternative is to have no bad meals ever, and that’s tough if you love food.

Read more ‘reality check’s below:


While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.