I’ll never be as attractive as I want, so why bother losing weight at all?

So many emotional eaters paint themselves into a corner with this one. It’s defeatist thinking at its very best. It convinces you that since you won’t be Tyra Banks or George Clooney after you lose the weight you shouldn’t try at all. Just because things won’t be perfect at the end of your diet, and just because you won’t suddenly look like a runway model, doesn’t mean something positive isn’t going to happen. This excuse tries to prevent you from abandoning emotional eating by telling you that things won’t work out perfectly so there’s no point in trying.

I’ve failed before, so why try again?

Most dieters have failed to achieve their goals at some point. Either they quit their diet early, or gained the weight back after reaching their goal. These failures or relapses are often used as a justification for not trying anymore.

However, previous “failure” doesn’t predict future failure. Up until now, you didn’t know that emotional eating is the number one reason that diets fail. If you didn’t understand emotional eating there was no way you could have succeeded permanently. With a new understanding of emotional eating you could finally have all of the tools you need to succeed. It’s like a baseball player: just because he struck out the first time, it doesn’t mean he didn’t learn how to spot the pitchers curve-ball the next time. Just because you dropped your diet once, or hundred times before, it doesn’t mean you didn’t learn what it’s going to take to make it this time. This excuse is really just a way to justify not trying so you can hang onto emotional eating.

I’ll feel too deprived if I give up overeating!

Emotional eating is satisfying to the emotional eater. It leads to compulsive eating Otherwise, it wouldn’t be so hard to give up. But, just because it’s the only way you can feel satisfied now doesn’t mean it’s the only way you’ll be able to feel satisfied in the future, or the only way to feel satisfied, period, as some emotional eaters believe.

Think of a smoker. They can’t visualize living their life without the satisfaction of smoking. They can’t face the deprivation they imagine they would feel without smoking. Of course, to a non-smoker this just seems silly. There’s plenty of ways to feel satisfied without smoking. And, after a few months without cigarettes, many new non-smokers realize how little the tobacco offered in the ways of real satisfaction. Nearly all successful ex-smokers wonder what the heck they were thinking. They wonder, “Why on earth did I think I wouldn’t ever feel satisfied without cigarettes?” The same is true for emotional eating and overeating. Just like smoking, food addiction offers some temporary stress relief, but at a huge cost. And just like cigarettes, once you break the habit, you begin to realize overeating is not the only way to feel satisfied in life. This excuse is really just the habit trying to convince you that there is no satisfaction outside of emotional eating and uses this as a justification to hold onto your unhealthy eating patterns.

Losing weight won’t really impact my health, so it’s not worth it!

This excuse is just wrong no matter how you cut it. While losing weight won’t fix all your health problems, even losing a small percentage of your body weight will drastically improve your health. A small reduction in your body weight cuts your likelihood for heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, impotence and a whole host of other health problems.

If you catch yourself making this excuse, tell yourself that pursuing good health is not an all-or-nothing endeavor. Just because you can’t avoid all health problems, doesn’t mean losing even a little weight won’t drastically improve your health.

Losing weight won’t fix anything…I’ll still have other problems to deal with!

It’s realistic to believe that reaching your goal weight won’t solve all of your problems. People that expect losing weight will solve everything set themselves up for disappointment. When you stop overeating, you’ll still have to contend with your spouse or job. That’s just a fact of life. When you eliminate eating as a coping mechanism, you start to learn how to tackle the real problems. You might see giving up the comfort of food as a loss but what you have to gain is being more effective in dealing with your life’s challenges.


In all the excuses above, there is an example of black-and-white thinking. “If things can’t be perfect, you shouldn’t try.” Believing in this all-or-nothing thinking is what gives these excuses their power. If you begin to see through this oversimplified assessment, you can begin to break these excuses down so they don’t convince you to hold onto emotional eating. Just because you won’t be a ideal model of health, or your life won’t be perfect afterwards, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue your goals. Don’t let these excuses get in the way of a new, thinner, healthier and happier you!

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