Diet Mind Tricks

Dieting Mind Tricks 101 – How to keep to your healthy eating habits by avoiding ‘loopholes’ in stressful situations.

It was only when I read Gretchen Rubin’s inspirational book ‘Better than Before’ and listened to her podcast ‘Happier’ that I really became aware of the idea of having a ‘Loophole’ in a habit.


Gretchen’s definition of loopholes are ‘Justifications that will excuse us from keeping a particular habit in a particular situation.’  She divides these habit loopholes into 10 categories (see the links below if you’d like more information on what these are).

Whilst moving house I have been conscious that I have been using 5 of these loopholes in order to eat unhealthily – Here are the loopholes and how I’ve been using them:

Tomorrow loophole — “It’s ok to eat unhealthily today, because once we are settled again I will eat healthily.”

Lack of control loophole — “Because we’re moving I don’t have access to my normal food/cooking facilities etc, so I have to eat this burger/drink this wine etc”

“This doesn’t count” loophole — “It’s different because we are moving”

Fake self-actualization loophole — “You only live once! Embrace the moment!”


One-coin loophole“What difference does it make if I break my habit this one time?” (whilst we are moving…)

Being aware of the loopholes you are using definitely helps you to avoid them more, but maybe I should have used ‘an exception’ instead?

I hope that by reading about how I struggled with loopholes it will help you guys to see that we are all only human and in stressful situations keeping to habits is hard for everyone.

The Exception – In Gretchen’s other work she also talks about making ‘exceptions’ for certain situations/habits.  Perhaps, whilst we were moving, rather than beating myself up about how I was eating,  I should have given myself a bit of a break as it wasn’t a long term situation?

I should have treated this time as a ‘Planned exception’ and therefore kept better control over the situation – that might have made me feel better about it…I could have made a few more rules for what I ate  to control and manage this allowed exception to my healthy eating habits.

Do you find yourself using ‘Loopholes’ in order to break your healthy eating habits?   What are they?  I recommend you check out this page of Gretchen’s website to learn more about habit related loopholes.  In future posts I will be discussing the other loopholes and ways in which you can try to avoid them.

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