Dealing with personal sabotage: Gaming your food plan

It’s always the big question. What’s the secret? How do you do a diet program and lose weight, but still eat everything you really want to? How can I cheat?

I’ve done weight loss stuff before. It’s worked before. It’s gone back on before. The roller coaster of weight gain and loss is something many of us are familiar with. When those numbers start going down you get excited – but they’ve gone down before. And when you decide to finish your diet (*more like, you game/cheat on the diet for so long it stops working, and you decide you’ve had enough so officially say you’re done) and the numbers start creeping back up again, you say things like “oh it’s only a few pounds, that’s easy to lose.” But you do nothing about the habits that are making those pounds creep up, and suddenly, without ANY warning (I swear!) you’re at least 20 pounds overweight and your wardrobe looks like the racks at Savers, with used clothing in every size – and the only things that fit look like crap. And you feel really, really bad.

You don’t even remember how good you looked when you’d lost the weight before. And you want to remember that. So you start the roller coaster diet ride again.

We’re human. We are flawed. If a diet existed that said “eat two chocolate bars for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and four pizzas for snacks, your choice” then you’d be breaking out the broccoli and cheating on your milky way pepperoni pizza fest by week 10.

When the weight comes off, it’s fantastic. I got very used to those numbers sliding down every week. It was actually effortless. Truly. Nutrisystem is the easiest food plan I have ever been on. It is so unrestrictive, so easy to incorporate, and so easy to translate to ‘everyday’ food off the plan, that I had no problem with keeping the weight off while I was in Australia for seven weeks, not following the official food plan. Two weeks after my return and being back on the plan, I’ve discovered the weight just isn’t coming off as easily any more. And it’s my fault.

The range of food is so broad with Nutrisystem that you never need to actually cheat because your tastes aren’t accounted for. Nope – that’s not why. Instead, I’ve worked out, subconsciously, how to maintain the weight loss by adding little bits and pieces that are cheating. Except in doing those sneaky things, I’m sabotaging my further weight loss.

A finger full of Nutella here, a couple (fistfull or two) of the kids’ fries there… and the biggy – a couple of glasses of wine. Before long, it’s all happening on a daily basis.

It adds up to the scales not moving downwards fast enough, and sliding back into habits I didn’t want to have – the ones that brought me to Nutrisystem in the first place.

So as of this week, a few changes are a-gonna-happen. I’m enjoying slightly cooler weather which invites lots of hiking. Plus, I’m going to have an increase in water. I’m drinking about a quarter of what I should be, and the lack of it is part of what leads me to throw other stuff down my gullet instead. Could water be my saving grace? Let’s see. I’ll check in with you next sunday. 🙂

Results: Before I went to Australia, I had lost 17 pounds with Nutrisystem over 11 weeks. I ‘found’ 3 of those pounds during my 7 weeks in Australia. Two weeks after my return to Colorado, I’ve lost those 3, as well as one more. So I’m now at 18 pounds lost, and working solidly towards my next Nutrisystem bear, the purple one, for a 20 pound weight loss.

Disclosure: Nutrisystem is supplying my food and dietary support for four months in return for my honest reflections on the program. Do you live in the US or Canada, and want to join me and get healthy with Nutrisystem? Join today by calling 1-888-853-4689 or by visiting


  • “You can do it, just set your mind to it!” Words stolen from a Hi5 song.

  • Oh my goodness Shari, you’ll have to sing it to me. Is there a dance? There should totally be a dance.

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