I was recently reading the book Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin. It deals with the formation of habits. Rubin has a section in the book where she talks about loopholes people use to get out of following or creating good habits. I found while reading that the loopholes all have applications to dieting and eating well. A loophole is a way of thinking we use to excuse ourselves from positive behaviors. If we become aware of the loopholes we use, Rubin says we can stop kidding ourselves.
Moral License — I can be bad, because I’ve been good. I’ve earned it. For example, someone’s been losing weight successfully so they feel it’s okay for a little cheat on their eating plan.
Tomorrow Loophole — I can be bad today because I start my diet tomorrow. It doesn’t matter how much I eat today because I’ll be good tomorrow.
False Choice — I don’t have time to worry about eating well because I’m too busy.
Lack of Control — With everything that’s going on right now, I can’t be expected to stick to good eating habits.
“This Doesn’t Count” — I can eat this treat because it doesn’t count if it’s the holidays or a birthday or a wedding or a one time thing.
Concern for Others — I’ll hurt their feelings if I don’t eat this slice of cake they baked. I’m keeping junk food around the house for other people’s benefit.
Life Affirming — You only live once so why deprive yourself of that slice of cheesecake?
I think I’ve found myself using all of these excuses at one time or another. The loopholes apply to any habit you’re attempting to make in your life, or behavior you’re trying to change. It’s just that the diet ones resonated with me because I’m still following my new meal plan and hoping to make it into a lifelong habit.