Tips to share: don’t let guilt destroy your dieting plan

Recently, I started a 30-day food detox by attempting to eat as much raw and steamed vegetables as I can while cutting down on my sugar intake. Before this detox, my eating habits were going downhill as I started eating out more, consuming lesser vegetables, and also taking too much fruits and refined carbohydrates daily. This had resulted in very high levels of sugar in my body and it felt like my body had gone all haywire. So through the detox, I was hoping to cleanse my body and balance out the sugar levels. However, when my birthday approached, the cake became a big issue for me.

To eat or not to eat
I was contemplating just before my birthday if I should cave in and have some cake. Anyway, my husband got me a customized cake, and all the effort he put in to make sure I had a pleasant birthday made it difficult for me to reject eating it. On the other hand, I felt as though my personal willpower was being challenged and so the whole birthday cake was really putting me in a spot. Eventually though, after seeing my husband’s effort and not wanting to disappoint him, I decided to have my cake and eat it.

Instant sugar rush
Because my diet was so consistent and low in sugar, the sudden intake of the cake actually made me feel a little woozy and bloated. However, I think I only had myself to blame because when the cake was presented before me, I got so carried away by the looks and smell of it that I ate two slices really quickly right after my dinner!

Eating ‘naughty’ foods is not guilt free
I seriously chowed down the cake so fast that even my husband was shocked! But the look of satisfaction on his face was priceless and worth it although I was also hit by a strong guilt that I had ruined my low sugar, all vegetable diet. The 15 minutes following the cake eating session involved me freaking out if I had ruined my diet, and whether my sugar level was going to be messed up again. Funnily enough, the sleepiness that set in soon after got me more relaxed and that was when I sat down on my couch and starting thinking.

One wrong food/meal shouldn’t discourage you
I realized my obsession with pursuing health is a little too excessive because honestly, it was just two slices of cake. I remember telling myself, “today is my birthday, and I should relax and not get discouraged or stop my diet just because I ate a ‘wrong’ food. Besides, I already ate it and there’s not much point in worrying”. And it got me thinking that perhaps this happens to people who are on a diet to lose weight, and when they get hungry and cave in by eating a ‘bad’ food they sort of lose focus and give up their initial plan.

My birthday taught me a lesson about not giving up
Okay, this is going to sound cliché but don’t be discouraged by little setbacks; it’s the same even when it comes to diet. Personally I’ve known friends who are trying to lose weight for health purposes but find it extremely hard to do and the amount of shame and guilt whenever they cave in and eat unhealthily is something they can do without. So my purpose of sharing this incident is to remind anyone who is on a diet and/or trying out a new diet to not let these little setbacks make you less incline to stick to your initial plan. One meal or even one day of wrong food won’t kill you! As long as you keep it slow and steady (your diet I mean) and generally eat healthy, don’t let the guilt affect you so much as it’s not good for your mental health too!


  1. Tam says:

    On the show, “The Biggest Loser,” I learned from one of the contestants that you shouldn’t abandon an entire diet commitment just for an occasional slip-up. Sometimes we’ll say, “Oh well, I slipped up! I’ll start again next week or next month.” However, from that show, I learned that you jump right back on the horse and start with the next meal doing it right.

  2. Cassie says:

    I haven’t watched that show but I totally agree with it!

  3. Leila says:

    A few years ago, I read about this sort of behaviour regarding diets (although it can apply to all areas of life when you are reaching for a goal) and it’s actually pretty common. It’s called the “what the hell effect” when people just give up and probably one of the biggest reasons for failure. I’m sorry I’m not exactly sure where I read it now (possibly New Scientist) so I’ll summarize the idea here.

    They studied the behaviours of dieters; those that were successful would continue even after a falling off their path and kept the weight off. Then there were others who would binge after one misstep thinking that they had already ruined their plan, so why not just fall off altogether, hence “what the hell” (although this could just be for the day, point being, they took one failure as a licence for a break from or abandonment of their plan). These people would unsurprisingly, be worse at keeping the weight off.

    I think your advice is good here, just relax, you can’t undo one bad turn, but you can sure make sure you won’t let anything get worse! There’s no need to ever feel guilty, just carry on. In the long term, which is worse, a minor slip-up or just abandoning your goal altogether because you didn’t do it perfectly? Imperfect is better than nothing.

    When dieting, an occasional indulence is fine too because you’re less likely to binge when you want to satisfy a craving. In the end, enjoy life, especially your birthday!

  4. Cassie says:

    Well said, Leila! ?

  5. Sue Lin - Makeupmew says:

    Hi Cassie! “One meal or even one day of wrong food won’t kill you!”- how true is that!

    This post really resonates with me. Currently struggling with insulin resistance right now, so I have to watch my sugar and carbohydrate intake. I give myself at least one cheat day a week, so I won’t go crazy and start bingeing myself silly and feel awful afterwards. A birthday is definitely a day of celebration and totally justify letting go a little.
    Sue Lin – Makeupmew last post is: Nurturing Force Blot Out Offensive Shine + Oil Control Cream Review

  6. Brownies says:

    I would indulge in these meal once in a while. However, I will feel tired and stressed easily for a couple of days. Then my morning sinus will return. That signals the drop in my health. Hence, I will feel guilty after an occassional treat of unhealthy/sugar rush/fried food meal and tend to avoid it for another 1/2 months.

    But they are occassional, once a month ritual. Sometimes these food are just hard to resist for a long period of time without any replacement of a “favourite food”. I will normally make it up with more exercise and not fall into the pit of endless indulge in such food.

    Control, diligence and discipline is the key.

Leave a Reply