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When Does Your Healthy Eating Plan Go Awry? Let’s Fix it!

So you’re on a diet. Maybe not trying to slim (though, if you’re Joe Average, you’re probably a few pounds overweight) – but you might be attempting to kick the junk food habit, spend less on food, or make better nutritional choices. Whatever it is, you know you need to plan ahead and make conscious decisions on what you’re eating. But it keeps going wrong…

There are seven flash-points in the day when it’s easy to screw up your diet. Everyone will most likely fall into one of these categories of failure. The key is identifying your weak point and planning for it. You might need to put in a bit of effort to begin with, but get these sorted and you’ll be set for success.

What time of day kills your healthy eating habit?

There are many, many articles online to help you spring out of bed in the morning. Read How to Wake up With Energy Each Morning and on Dumb Little Man, or Steve Pavlina’s hugely popular How to Become an Early Riser.

Why does getting up early help your diet? You start the day in a relaxed, unrushed frame of mind. You have time for some exercise, journaling, reading inspirational health and fitness blogs, and, crucially, you can prepare a healthy breakfast and lunch. Which leads me on to…

Don’t just grab a doughnut on the way to work or class – loading up your body with with sugar first thing is going to lead to an energy crash well before lunch. And spending a few dollars on coffee and a snack every morning just because you couldn’t be bothered to wake up earlier (see above) is bad for your wallet, too.

The healthiest breakfasts are ones you prepare yourself. Nothing complicated – a bowl of cereal with skimmed milk, or a couple of slices of wholegrain toast with baked beans, are perfect. If you really can’t have breakfast before you leave the house, can you keep milk and cereal at your workplace and get in ten minutes early to eat?

You don’t need me to tell you that a giant cookie isn’t likely to fit well into your diet plan. If you’re hungry, have some fruit. (Not sure if you’re hungry or not? Try asking yourself “Would an apple or granola bar satisfy me…?” If only a king-sized chocolate bar tempts you, you’re not hungry, you’re craving.)

Keeping healthy snacks on hand is a must; easily done at home, but trickier if you’re in work or school. Your desk drawer, locker or bag are all good places for a stash of fruit, trail mix, granola bars or plain popcorn.

As with breakfast, prepare your own meal: whether that means brown-bagging leftovers the night before, or taking five minutes to make a sandwich in the morning (you got up early, so you’ll have plenty of time). You’ll have complete control over what goes into it: wholegrains, lean sources of protein and plenty of vegetables and fruit works well. And if you’re not buying lunch out every day, you’ll save a lot of money.

If you ate a light, healthy, lunch, you may well be feeling a bit peckish by 4 o’clock. That’s fine – and there’s no point waiting till 7 o’clock to eat if you’ll be so ravenous that you’ll scoff down triple helpings. Have a healthy snack – 5 Snacks That will Smash That Afternoon Groggy Feeling might give you some ideas”



If you can’t cook, get a good “beginner’s” style book that covers all the basics. Learning to prepare healthy, tasty meals is an essential skill: if you’re still living at home, offer to help out in the kitchen once in a while, and get your parents to teach you, and if you’re at college, don’t eat in the canteen every night.



Don’t do this to yourself. Brush your teeth as soon as you’ve finished eating for the day, and don’t have anything else till breakfast time. Doing some activity which involves your hands (knitting, writing, painting) or mouth (talking to friends or family) is a big help, as you won’t feel that constant temptation to grab a snack.

Which of these seven is the worst time of day for your diet? How do you plan ahead and cope with it? Share your tips and experiences in the comments below.


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