Which diet "don't" is most often your downfall? We put this question to WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members on our "Friends Talking: Daily Journaling" message board. They confessed to five common mistakes that sometimes sabotage their best weight loss efforts.
Knowing your weaknesses is the first step to overcoming them, so these members are already on their way to better habits. Maybe you'll recognize yourself in some of their stories.
Members' Top 5 Diet Sins
1. Not Eating Enough -- or Often Enough
Several members confessed that they sometimes skip meals (and pay for it later).
"This is scary to say, but for probably 10 years or more I never ate breakfast," writes member chekty. "I would occasionally skip lunch and be [ravenous] by dinnertime and afterwards. I was definitely a binge eater and did not realize it."
Writes surgglo: "I have a bad habit of not eating a meal at all because I get too preoccupied with whatever I am doing. It's almost always lunch, too. So then I end up snacking late and not wanting dinner at our normal time. "
Others believe that trying to cut out favorite foods can ultimately lead to binging.
"I think being too restrictive because you don't know how to incorporate favorites foods in moderation could be considered a diet sin," says member 2spooky. "This tends to cause people to binge and crave foods, which starts a very vicious cycle."
Another member has found that adding healthy snacks helps keep energy on an even keel.
"I don't have diabetes," says member Hopeful00713, "but I definitely can feel when my blood sugar drops. That has been happening less frequently since this program. When I first signed on, I did not want a snack on my meal plan because I thought snacking was my downfall. Now I am choosing fruit or yogurt more often than processed "snack food," so maybe that has something to do with feeling fewer "sugar highs" and "lows."
2. Eating Too Much
Not surprisingly, eating too much ranked high on the list of diet sins.
"My problem wasn't just that I'd eat too much at one sitting," writes grease52678, "but then I'd follow it up by constantly "snacking" on things that could almost be meals by themselves. Hot pockets, quesadillas, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, whatever happened to be in the fridge.
"I am getting better at controlling portion sizes, even not finishing all the food at restaurants, but the oversnacking is still a problem."
Writes member Joanie0921: "From time to time, I still eat until I'm stuffed, then find myself foraging for food in the fridge an hour later. I think this mostly happens just before my period."
Member luv2cook49 finds that a passion for cooking can lead to overeating. "I love to snack on bread or even veggies while making dinner," this member writes. "Even though some of my snacks are good choices, [the problem is] the quantity of snacks I consume. Many times, especially if dinner is late, I snack on enough food to count it as dinner.
"The other problem is portion control," continues luv2cook49. "I love to cook great meals and search high and low for high flavor, low-calorie recipes. The problem is if the food is great, I tend to eat too much. … Cleaning the kitchen after dinner is a problem. I tend to clean my children's plates and also take a few extra bites when putting the leftovers in the refrigerator."
3. Skipping Exercise
Hopeful00713:6 has not yet met a goal of making fitness part of the daily routine. "Right now, it is more like two times a week, but that's a step up from zero," this member writes.
"Skipping exercise has been a big problem for me lately," writes Joanie0921. "I know I'm getting better emotionally because I'm starting to get lazy. I'm getting comfortable with my life the way it's shaping up. My appetite is back and I've been skipping my trips to Curves.
But Joanie0921 is already getting back on track: "I went every morning this week!"
4. All-or-Nothing Thinking
With this kind of mindset, a small setback can snowball into a diet-devastating binge.
"Too many times I hear my friends lament that they pigged out and ruined their diet," writes econisgr8. "When I do it, it feels like, I might as well give up now, forever.
"Then my doctor convinced me to consider my food intake a week at a time instead of every day. She encouraged me to look at the average of all of my eating. I learned that I was having good days, good meals, and then the bad days, bad meals became fewer and fewer. I stopped feeling sorry for myself just because I slipped at one meal. I automatically make up for it during the week, or at the next meal. This has been very helpful for me. "
5. Assuming Your Food Choices Are Better Than They Are
Several members pleaded guilty to this offense. Specifically, some said that they too often choose juice over whole fruits.
"I'm EXTREMELY picky and certain types of foods just have textures that make me gag," writes littleb16. "Juice is the only way I can get those nutrients in. …. One step at a time. Giving up (or minimizing) juices will be my last step."
As we all know, there's no such thing as diet perfection. So if you've committed a diet sin (or several), take a cue from these members who shared their shortcomings: Shake off your mistakes, learn from them, and keep making those little changes, one at a time.