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The Full Mind Weigh™ to Lifelong Weight Management, a program of the Institute for Lifelong Weight Management – teaching you the skills you need to keep the weight off forever!

More Stories we Tell – Ourselves

In my last post I wrote about Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project”, who has said that often the reasons why people fail to reach their goals is not a matter of willpower but a product of a kind of magical thinking – we search for and find what she terms “loopholes”, those justifications that offer us an excuse for failing to act or to change in any particular situation. But, Rubin says, when we spot the loophole, we can try to reject the desire to let ourselves off the hook.

Here are more of Rubin’s top loopholes; perhaps some of them sound familiar to you.

6. This-doesn’t-count loophole: Choosing to make an exception to your goal-oriented habit or behavior.

Example: “It doesn’t count because I’m on vacation, or I’m depressed today, or it’s Monday, or I didn’t mean to do it” – take your pick.

Remedy – Realize that everything counts!

7. Questionable-assumption loophole: Making assumptions that influence our behavioral choices – usually not for the better.

Example: “I’d better eat everything I can eat right now, because I may not have time to eat later, and then I’ll be hungry and not be able to do the things I need to do.”

Remedy – Question your assumptions!

8. Concern-for-others loophole: Telling ourselves that we’re acting out of consideration for other people.

Example: “My sister will feel hurt and think I’m ungrateful if I don’t eat a piece of the cake that she went to the trouble of making for me.”

Remedy: Don’t engage in mind-reading. Ask your sister to please not bake cakes for you. You can express gratitude without eating any cake! If you can handle it, take a tiny bite and tell her how wonderful it is but you’re so full that you can’t eat any more – note: not everyone can stop at one bite. If you can’t, don’t try this.

9. Fake self-actualization loophole: Using the idea of living fully or accepting yourself to justify engaging in a behavior which sabotages your efforts to reach your goals.

Examples: “Life’s too short not to live a little”, “I want to accept myself just as I am”, “We all have to die of something after all”, “The special occasions in life should be celebrated to the full.”

Remedy: Plan ahead for an exception to your usual habit that will leave you feeling good, while staying in control and keeping your long-term goals in mind. After you engage in the exception, ask yourself if you felt good about that particular choice – or not.

10. One-coin loophole: Assuming that one deviation is insignificant, or alternatively that engaging one time in a goal-related behavior is also insignificant.

Example: “If I miss a day of exercise, it won’t matter”.

Remedy: Accept that consistency pays off, and that both goal-directed choices and self-sabotaging choices build on each other. It takes repetition to build a healthy habit – or an unhealthy one.


To learn more about effective weight management strategies, join my next weight management class, The Full Mind Weigh™ to Lifelong Weight Management. For details, visit

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With your continued health in mind,

Doreen Lerner, Ph.D.

Director, The Institute for Lifelong Weight Management

Creator, The Full Mind Weigh™ to Lifelong Weight Management

The Institute for Lifelong Weight Management provides education and training. The Full Mind Weigh™ is strictly an educational program and is not a substitute for medical or psychological evaluation or treatment. If you think you may be suffering from an eating disorder, please consult with a qualified mental health professional who is trained to evaluate and treat eating disorders.