Top 5 Habits That Are Sabotaging Your Diet

By Nicole German (RD, LD)

diet-sabotageDay after day I have patients cry out about the numerous sabotages to their diet.

Sometimes these can just be excuses we use to make us feel better about not reaching our diet and fitness goals.

Some of these are hard to overcome, while others can be quickly eliminated with a few lifestyle adjustments.

Here are the top 5 diet saboteurs and what you can do to keep them from ruining your progress.

1. Unhealthy Foods in the House

If it’s there, chances are you will eat it. We are only human. Food within reach is always a tempting choice. Even hiding the food does not help too much.
Do you have children or a spouse that you buy these foods for? If so, do not buy these foods. Or, at least buy a different flavor of that food that you do not like as much. Sit down and have an honest conversation with your family. Explain that you want to live healthy as a family. There may be a few changes to some of the foods in the house. But, still let your family pick out some grocery items, but let the control be in your hands.

2. Family Members are a Bad Diet Influence

unsupportive-husbandThe answer once again with this is to have a calm, open conversation about what your goals are and what health means to you. Get on the same page with your family. If they are not ready to give up their sweets or fried food, explain that you can not be making those choices on a regular basis.

Make sure to tell your family that you need their support. Their choices influence you and it is harder to stay on the right track. They can choose those higher calorie foods when you are not around or for special occasions.

3. Work Overload

This is a common excuse from many of my patients—work stress and job overload. Do not let this be an excuse. We must plan, plan, plan and take control. Organize yourself and prepare all of your lunch meals and snacks on a Sunday.


Schedule 15 to 20 minute workouts where you can squeeze it in. Everything counts.

Always take the stairs at work instead of the elevator.

4. Travel

If you work on the road or are flying to a new location every week, you may experience difficulty losing weight. This also requires more planning. Bring packets of nuts and protein powders with you for a last resort. Pick up extra fruit in the morning at the hotel. Schedule a workout at the hotel gym or workout in your hotel room! Review restaurants menus before you dine out.

5. Forgetfulness

This may seem silly, but I hear it all the time. Forgetting to bring a lunch, forgetting gym shoes, or forgetting to eat a meal. If you are serious about staying healthy or losing weight, there is no room for forgetfulness. Set timers for yourself, prepare your lunch the night before, and pack your workout clothes. Smart phones are great for keeping yourself on schedule. I keep an extra pair of sneakers in the trunk of my car. You never know when you will need them!

What are some other things that sabotage your weight loss?


  1. Brandon

    Number 5 is my biggest problem. I actually forgot my lunch yesterday, and grabbed something from the deli instead. Making some kind of a meal plan on Sunday, and preparing everything for the week sounds like a good way to overcome this.

  2. Bethany

    Number 3 is the hardest for me. By the end of the week I am tired of packing lunches and have used up all my favorite, go-to foods in the fridge. But I do so much better when I plan and prepare. I can see how important it is.

    And ditto on buying junk for the kids … As I clean my act up, they eat betterr too.

  3. Kaz

    Your right. Those stuff should be kept to a limited treat which should really be a then & there moment. Stocking up on them just encourages & implys more than that.

    • Kaz

      … the above is a reply to Heathers comment.

  4. Heather

    I don’t get the I need to buy these cookies and chips for my kids excuse. Do you really think your kids need that junk??

    • Kaz

      Sorry… Responded to your comment above.

  5. Spectra

    Number 1 on your list was my biggest problem—when I was living with my parents, I wasn’t the one buying the food and my parents would keep unhealthy stuff in the cupboard and freezer (like ice cream!) and it was insanely hard to avoid it. Now, I don’t bring my “trigger” foods into the house at all, even if my husband likes them. He knows that if he wants certain junk foods, he has to buy them himself and eat them at work. It’s a deal we’ve made in our marriage to keep food temptations at bay and it works well for us.

    • Kaz

      You gotta have some strong will power because for me as long as I know I have access to all the yummy treats im craving by just popping to my local shop it makes no difference weither there in the house or not cause at the time of a serious craving i’ll just go & buy them. So I don’t know how you do it but I rate you either way, good on you! 😉