You’re not alone if you’ve had the intention to start a diet but fall off the wagon and succumb to temptation. You may not realize it, but psychological factors can have a profound impact on your diet’s success.

The thing about forbidden foods
You may be familiar with the logic that people tend to want something they can’t have. When you deprive yourself of treats or foods that have been part of your diet and suddenly aren’t, the transition can be difficult. Cutting something out of your diet cold turkey isn’t always the best way to go about trying to lose weight – especially if temptation is lurking.

People often associate dieting with giving up all of their favourite treats to reduce their calorie intake. However, research shows people who try to avoid their desired snacks and deprive themselves, typically end up consuming more calories.    

The ‘oh well’ mindset
Because diets can create such a constructed and strict plan, the moment a person falls off the wagon and indulges they get in the habit of saying ‘oh well.’ When in this mindset they throw caution to the wind and indulge excessively because they think they’ve already failed with their diet.  

The truth is a few extra calories are unlikely to have a major impact – but indulging excessively or binge eating will.     

Setting attainable goals
What can be learned from all of this is that diets that require you to follow strict rules and forbid you from consuming foods you enjoy can actually sabotage weight loss results. It’s important to set goals that are realistic for your lifestyle. For instance, if you want to diet, try cutting back on certain treats rather than cutting them out completely… at least to start!

Also realize that temptation is at its highest when hunger strikes. To avoid finding yourself hungry and stopping in at a fast food joint, meal prep healthy meals and snacks to have on hand or in a pinch.