Don't Give Up on Your Day

There are donuts in the breakroom. Your favorite sweet drink at the coffee shop. Fresh-baked cookies at your friend’s house. You give in to the craving. Well, today is shot, you say. Tomorrow you’ll get back on plan.

False! Today isn’t shot. A donut might contain around 30g of carbohydrates — not great, but certainly not a disaster. For most people, the spike of insulin from a single donut isn’t enough to kick them out of ketosis — if they stick to their plan the rest of the day. The “tomorrow is a new day” attitude excuses ditching your plan, opening up the possibility of another donut, another sweet drink, another cookie. Suddenly, your day is full of insulin spikes. You’re out of ketosis and your fat burning engine has shut down completely. It may take up to five days of eating to your macros to get back into ketosis; days that would have otherwise been spent burning fat.

Doubling down on the day’s loss is an easy pattern to fall into. Your journey is not just about weight loss, though — it’s also about shifting from unhealthy habits to healthy ones. Every time you excuse the next donut, you are strengthening the wiring in your brain for the reactive behavior you are working to stop.

Creating new habits requires combining two signals in the brain: both “I don't choose that reactive path anymore” and “I now choose this new path.” New pathways in the brain take time to turn into habits — and consistency is the key to getting there. In the end, good habits make things much easier!

How Do You Respond to a Slip-Up?

1. Make a rule for yourself for when you feel the urge to give up.

When I slip up and reactively eat non-approved food, I am back on my plan the next time I put food in my mouth.

We make rules for decisions we deem important, preparing in advance for challenging situations. When you are on the brink of breaking your rule, use scripted self-talk to step back and honor your commitment. “I made this rule because it’s important for me not to take a step back and strengthen reactive neural patterns — but rather to honor my commitment to losing weight and healthy eating.” Try composing your own and speaking it out loud; think about your goals and how they fit into your decision to stay on track.

2. Create an keto eating plan for the next time you’ll eat.

If you get off your plan, respond by getting right back on. Even if you can’t track the nutritional content of your next meal, limit yourself to keto-friendly foods. Consider the lost time ahead of you if you don’t: it could take several days of strict adherence to your macros to get back into ketosis — several days that would have otherwise been full of fat burning.

3. Take a moment to examine your slip-up, your goals, and your process for making choices that align with those goals.

One misstep is just that and nothing more. Resist the urge to make up stories and excuses. Instead of telling yourself “this is too hard” or “I’m not strong enough,” stop and consider the facts. I saw the donut, I wanted it, and I ate it. Making excuses rids yourself of accountability — but accountability can be empowering. Remember that you do have the power to make different choices. You are strong enough. So seize the opportunity to change the course of the day, end the slide, and strengthen healthier habits!