Never try to fix a diet mistake

Never, that’s right, never ever try to fix a diet mistake. Fixing a mistake is the best way to continue making mistakes.

Diet mistakes happen. People want to lose weight, but sometimes they slip and do things counterproductive to weight loss.

Common diet mistakes people make

  • eat too much at one meal
  • eat too much for a full day
  • eat too much for a full week
  • eat too many snacks
  • eat foods that are forbidden on their diet 
    • Diets that restrict food choices and take away foods, or even a whole food group are unnecessary and lead to many more mistakes, than a food plan that leaves all foods on the menu.
  • skip their physical activity plans.

Making an occasional mistake won’t make much difference to getting to goal or even slow down the process. Making a lot of mistakes will slow you down, and too many mistakes will halt or reverse weight loss.

Successful dieters don’t fix mistakes.

When they make a mistake, they learn from it. Fixing mistakes is looking backwards and trying to erase where you have been. You can’t erase history. You can learn from history, and indeed, if you don’t learn from the past, you will repeat the mistake.

Learning from a mistake is looking forward and making a plan to avoid that mistake again. You can’t erase a mistake but you can turn a negative action into an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to learn from the circumstances leading to the mistake. Knowing why you made a mistake allows you to make a plan to react differently under similar circumstances.

The following flow chart illustrates how several things can come together to create a “perfect storm” that will blow you off your course. In this case it’s a matter of (1) not wanting to eat another uninspired brown bag lunch and looking for a legitimate excuse to eat something satisfying and ( 2) extreme disappointment and a (3) little anger.

click on image to enlarge

click on image to enlarge

Fixing the mistake is not an option. When you think you can fix mistakes you set yourself up to deliberately make mistakes. The trap is believing, “what I do now, I can fix later.”  The more you think that way, you start making mistakes all the time because you expect to “just fix them later as though it never happened.” The problem is it did happen and later never comes.

Exercise is good. Trying to erase an over-eating mistake with excessive exercise is counterproductive.

Exercise is good. Trying to erase an over-eating mistake with excessive exercise is counterproductive.

Making mistakes is part of the weight loss process. It’s okay. Making mistakes and trying to fix them is the biggest mistake of all. It isn’t a sustainable way to manage your weight.

To reach and maintain your goal you need to learn new habits that are a good fit with your life and your goal. Fixing mistakes keeps you stuck in your old pattern that was why you needed and wanted to lose weight in the first place.


Don’t fix your mistakes; you want to learn from them.

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.