How NOT to feel guilty when you slip-up on your diet

forgive yourself

An interstate client of mine wrote to me earlier in the week to get my advice and support on an incident that made her feel pretty crappy. Before I tell you what the incident was, it’s important to know that this client of mine is VERY dedicated to her health & fitness. She recently did the fat-loss detox I recommend, and is now following my training protocol…and she loves how training/eating well makes her feel.

The Slip-Up That Happens To Us All

So my client has become very good at preparation! This isΒ key at staying on track with your diet. If you prepare your food for the week or at least the following day, this will…

  1. Stop you from buying food on the go…and the wrong food
  2. Keep your blood sugar levels stable by eating regularly, which again stops you from grabbing that cheeky muffin with your coffee!
  3. Make sure you know exactly how your food was prepared and what source it came from (ie organic, free-range, cooked with coconut oil etc)


My client has kindly let me quote part of her email to me, revealing her slip-up…

I do have an eating question though. Of late, my eating hasn’t been as clean as it used to be – my biggest downfall was yesterday. I wasn’t organised enough with food for the whole day and managed to only have a snack for lunch, thinking it was okay – however when it came time after dinner it was like I had no self control and one track mind for anything glutinous. I had 5 xmas mine pies and a donut and felt complete and utter shame and disgust. I tried to do some forgiveness work on myself and was happy to discover the underlying cause (of not enough good fats and protein throughout the day and will not make that mistake again!) but I was wondering if (and if you do when) you go through something like this what are your coping strategies for it the next day?

How I Stop Myself From Feeling Guilty

Do I ever go through something like this? Sure I do, I’m human like the rest of you, but it doesn’t happen often. In saying that, I did have a minor slip-up only a couple of weeks ago. I was feeling very emotional about a boy – I talked briefly about this here – and demolished 3 tim tams in a row because I wanted to feel better and because I felt like I deserved it! I was suffering god damn it! πŸ˜‰

Did I feel guilty? Yes I did…for about a minute! I felt guilty for that fleeting moment as I NEVER eat biscuits, especially tim tams (even though I luv ’em!) because I know they’re processed and packed full of sugar and trans fats. If anything, it’s some yummy dark, raw chocolate that I go for, but tim tams? Never. It’s only because my flatmate had them in the house (excuses, excuses, haha) that I B-lined for them!

Anyway, I was able to dissolve that moment of guilt very quickly as I know that not being forgiving of myself is very harmful…as is having negative thoughts going on in your head after slipping-up such as:

  • I’m weak
  • I’ve ruined all my hard work
  • I’m never going to be able to reach my goal
  • I feel like shit. I’m ugly, I’m fat, I’m useless…

And then the yo-yo dieting begins…

When I ate those totally delicious tim tams that I thoroughly enjoyed, I said to myself “you know what Liz, you never eat these and you work hard on your body and your health…I give you permission to enjoy them.” And I did. I let go of the guilt and the “I shoulds” and I didn’t think about it again.

Did I consciously eat a little more clean for the rest of the week…yeah, I did, but not outragelously different to how I normally eat. I was probably just a little more conscious of my sugar intake, but certainly felt no pressure, guilt or shame the following day after my slip-up.

Strategies For Overcoming Guilt

In my opinion, there are 4 primary reasons why we slip-up on our diet…

  1. It tastes good – whatever your vice is. And if it’s anything that has sugar in it, it’s also extremely addictive
  2. Emotional reasons – comfort food or a reward – you want to make yourself feel better
  3. You’ve had an afternoon lull (usually from not eating the right ratio of macronutrients throughout your day) and need a sugary ‘pick me up’
  4. Self-sabotage – deep seeded self-worth issues (although this one is probably more for those who continuously slip-up, rather than occasionally…that’s a different subject I may write about later)

Okay, so you’ve slipped-up…what do you do now?

  • Forgive yourself, let it go and then get back on track
  • Don’t have your ‘treat meal’ if you had it scheduled for later in the week
  • Throw in an extra training session if it makes you feel more in control, but no need for over-training and stressing your body out
  • As I’ve already mentioned, eat a little more clean for the rest of the week but don’t obsess over it or do some radical fast
  • Focus for a minute on how you are feeling – the disappointment, guilt, shame…and then think about how you feel when you don’t grab that muffin or eat all that cheese…this feeling of being in control of your weight and health needs to be so strong, that you can stop yourself next time. Remember how you felt the last time you slipped-up

Try these affirmations of mine:

  • I love you and I forgive you
  • I am in control of my mind and my body
  • I lovingly and willingly let go of all feelings of guilt and shame. I forgive myself
  • My body is my temple and I do my best to love and respect it

Do you have slip-ups? What makes you slip-up and what are your copying strategies? I’d luv to hear from you! πŸ™‚

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  1. Kathryn says

    What a great article! I believe as women we are continually too hard on ourselves for not being 100% perfect. This came at a great time for me to read – I will in the future be practising some self forgiveness – thanks again!

  2. N says

    I don’t really see how 3 Tim Tams is at all similar to 5 Christmas pies? A one off of three Tim Tams is really hardly even a slip up.

    • says

      I guess everyone has their own version of slipping up. For me, 3 tim tams is a slip up! And the calorie amount would have been pretty similar to the mince pies as these were caramel tim tams…very high calorie! I called it a ‘slip-up’ on purpose – not a ‘binge’. This post was directed at people who mostly eat pretty well, but occasionally eat some things they shouldn’t and feel guilty about it. Hope this makes sense πŸ™‚

  3. says

    @ Max – that’s a hard one a lot of people battle with! Do you eat fast too? I think if you slow down you will give yourself the chance to realise when you’ve had enough. If you’re inclined to keep going cos it tastes good, stop for a minute and really listen to your body. Do you reaaally need to eat those last few mounthfulls? πŸ™‚

  4. Rochelle Klein says

    I love this post, too true:-) I NEVER feel bad if I’ve had something naughty to eat….why? Cos 99.5% of the time I eat heathy foods:-)

  5. says

    I have had the pleasure of helping people melt their fat off and become shredded whilst eating as many calories as they want without “slip ups”. eating high amounts of natural clean carbohydrates in the form of plant whole foods such as fruits, vegetables grains etc. Cravings occur when you calorie restrict, because you aren’t eating enough food to satisfy your body functions. This can result in mood swings and inconsistent energy levels. When they binge, they binge on the highest caloric foods they can find, and that usually means cakes, pies and other junk. Carbohydrates get the blame despite the fact it is covered in fat, and somehow fruit gets lumped into this same category. The leanest people on the planet eat high carb (fruit rice beans etc) the kenyans, thai’s, okinawans are never calorie restricting and thus don’t have “cravings” or “slip ups”.

    • says

      Hey Phil. This post is coming more from an ’emotional’ perspective and has nothing to do with calorie restricting. You’re right, cravings do occur when you calorie restrict (and I never recommend this unless doing the detox I’ve written about that supports your body with supplements), but cravings also occur when you don’t have the correct ratio of macronutrients for your body type – and this usually is not enough protein and good fats. Not that this is what this post is about, but I’m not against starchy carbs entirely and I eat berries daily. I think a small amount of sweet pots, quinoa or brown rice particularly after weight training is fine if you don’t have insulin issues. Kenyans, Thai’s and Okinawans lead completely different lifestyles to Western society and are not as heavily influenced by McDonalds, chocolate and other processed junk.

  6. Ruth says

    Hi Liz,
    really Great post!! i actually needed this so much today as i was having a particularly bad day at work yesterday emotions running high and slipped up by eating a few freddo’s at my desk! The worst part is i not stopping to check in with myself before i just gobbled them up i just did with out thinking after reading this i was able to dissolve the guilty feelings and have been being kind to myself today. Love the affirmations thank you :)excited for wednesday!!

  7. says

    I binged for a week and four days and have gained 5 pounds . I’m having sever trouble getting back on track with my diet and I can see and feel myself getting fat . It gets to the point where I wake up not feeling the slightest bit hungry . My sister called me fat today and it made me feel horrible an now I hate myself . I find myself being triggered by the silliest things . An amazing and very accurate example would be Abraham Lincoln and his eldest son Robert Todd Lincoln . I had just started the diet slip up when I was required to study Mr.Lincoln for school . I soon became obsessed and wanted to know more about him , and started reading about him almost every day . Then I noticed how thin he was and stared reading about his diet , which made me look and feel like a fat cow! It got to a point where I can’t look at pictures of him anymore without feeling fat and hating myself and wanting to die ! He ” forgot” to eat at times and when he remembered , he didn’t eat much . That’s how I want to be . My sister calling me fat doesn’t hep , especially since she’s skinnier than me .

    • says

      Hi Nia. Thanks for reaching out honey. I’m so sorry to learn you’re having such a tough time with this. The important thing to remember here is to be kind to yourself. Speak to yourself as you would to a best friend. Would you tell your best friend she’s ‘a fat cow’? I’m guessing no. The more you think and stress about it, the worse it becomes. You definitely don’t need to ‘forget’ to eat. Just crowd at the processed crap stuff by eating more of the whole food healthy stuff. Work on your relationship with yourself. Learn to love and respect YOU, and everything else will fall into place xx

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