The mind is a very powerful influence in everything we do and this includes diet self sabotage. When you pass the snack table on the way to the photocopier you have to make a decision not to indulge in the chocolate cake or to remain committed and keep walking. You will of course have to mentally validate your decision and this is done through minimization, rationalization or justification.
The influence of justification, rationalization and minimization play a dynamic role in decision making, sometimes validating good decisions and sometimes not so good. At the heart is orientation or commitment. If committed to your weight loss program then decisions will be validated in accordance with maintaining good food choices, but if you are not fully committed they can just as easily validate a decision to break your diet.
Correct Internal Dialog is Key A good example of an internal dialog for justification might go like this: “I have been working hard on my weight loss program and I deserve this slice of chocolate cake and frosting.” Fact is the chocolate cake with frosting has nothing to do with the hard work you have put into your diet. It directly strikes at your commitment to your diet. The validation is aimed at breaking your diet and making a food choice you know to be counterproductive toward your goals.
If on the other hand you are fully committed toward achieving your diet goals, the only validation you seek is going to be in direct line with successfully achieving your goal. A good example of an internal dialog for justification might go like this: “ I’ve been working hard on my weight loss program and I want to continue making progress and I need to refrain from eating this chocolate cake and frosting.” Then you walk away. You see in one instance the validation was in support of your commitment and the other was contrary to it.
Keep your Eye on the Goal Nothing is more effective for breaking your diet then a rationalization supporting a bad decision. An example would be: “Everyone else is having chocolate cake and frosting and I don’t want to insult the host by not having a slice.” Of course a better rationale would be: “ I am on a weight loss program and eating this chocolate cake and frosting is going to set me back and so I am going to pass, thank you.” In the former example, rationalization didn’t support your commitment but in the latter it did.
Have you ever heard a minimization that went like this? “I have been working hard on my weight loss program, what is it going to hurt if I have one piece of chocolate cake and frosting.” Fact is, it is going to hurt very much in terms of the time and energy it will set you back. A better use of minimizing toward a positive outcome would be: “ I have been working hard on my weight loss, abstaining from this chocolate cake and frosting is no big deal for me.” Being truly committed to your diet will orient your decisions and validations in line with your goals and will add momentum to your progress.