What is the STARTOVER Mentality

Most of you know what it is. You start a diet plan, likely do well on it for days or weeks, then a certain lack of resolve hits. You decide it’s a good idea to discontinue your plan and start over on Monday, or after Mother’s Day, or the day after Thanksgiving weekend, or after your birthday, or your trip, or on a date that has a cool number like December 12, 2012. Then you put on your stretch pants and spend the time between now and that day cramming in all the foods that you have been denying yourself, giving yourself lots of leeway with all the other healthy habits you have been trying to make. The damage gets worse when you start pushing your startover date even further in the future because you just don’t feel motivated to start it all up again yet.  There are, after all, indulges to still jam into your binging schedule that you haven’t gotten to yet.

This startover mentality can apply to just about any habit you are trying to change, but I have found that it is by far most common with food.



8 Reasons Why to do Away with This Mentality Forever:

  1. It is an insidious form of procrastination that will pretty much never allow you to reach your destination.
  2. Your health is endangered leading up to the “startover” because you give yourself license to do what you think you can’t do once you STARTOVER.
  3. Good habits are weakened while bad habits are strengthened.
  4. It is psychologically damaging, making you feel like a loser.
  5. It actually causes weight gain.
  6. You eat worse than if you never went on a diet.
  7. It is ineffective.
  8. It most likely will increase insulin resistance and mess with other hormone balances.

What Can Trigger a STARTOVER

***A sudden indulgence of some forbidden food like potato chips, doughnut, French fries, alcohol, or pizza, so..
***Reading or hearing about a new plan and thinking in some it may be better than the one you are currently doing, so…
***You are invited somewhere that involves eating that you hadn’t planned on, so…
***Diet fatigue. You are just plain tired of deprivation and/or regimentation, so…
***An event you had planned on such as a wedding, birthday, holiday, etc. got the best of you, so…
***Pretty much any lapse in your health regimen, such as skipping exercise or failing to sit in the sun for 15 minutes, so…

Any of these things, and more, can cause you to throw up your hands, call “olly, olly, oxen, free, free, free”, and decide to indulge now and start over later.

The Viable Alternative

Monday is coming. Can I entice and persuade you to do something different?


Rather, build better habits and banish bad habits one decision at a time. And don’t ever have a start date.  Let your move towards healthier eating, exercise, and lifestyle be more like entering a pool with one of those beach accesses where, instead of cannon-balling or diving in, you just starting walking into the pool at your own pace, one decision at a time.


It is far better to take the “lIfe is a continuum” approach. Because life actually is exactly that.  So, it is smarter to have that thing (a glass of wine, French fries, or a candy bar) if you really want it, than to let a bunch of things slide because, after all, you are “starting over” on Monday, or whenever.

Banish STARTOVERS forever.

With the “life is a continuum” approach you could still try Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Diet for 2 weeks, Dr. Kellyann’s Bone Broth Diet for 21 days, or Whole 30 for a month as an experiment if you want to see how your body responds to it, but it all would be on the continuum.

Let me repeat. You can still try a new plan, you can step it up a notch or two with healthy eating, but you should strictly avoid giving yourself license to pigout or eat junky for days or weeks or months, and be honest with yourself, admitting that everything really counts. All of your big and little choices make a difference.

However, that said, you need to be very careful if you decide to do something like this because your brain will try to trick you into thinking a startover is a good idea.

What I want to help your mind grab onto is the moving toward something more continually without the starts and stops with major lapses and indulges in between. That is just stupid living.

We should be asking ourselves instead:
“Is this good for me or not?” If so, move in that direction with freedom and confidence.
“Is this wise for me to do?” If so, proceed.
“Do I want to erode this habit or strengthen it?” Act accordingly.

I think this Bible verse is apropos: “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”, 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NASB). Certainly if one follows this, one will not be living wreckless today because they are starting over on Monday. It just doesn’t make sense.  Yet, (sigh), I have been the Startover Queen.

Convince yourself of this: All choices and decisions matter.  Each and every one. Consistency matters. Habits matter.

Don’t make exceptions when they contradict your intentions or sabotage you goals.

Eliminate STARTOVERS forever! Concede that life is a continuum. Remind yourself frequently that procrastination is one of the worst enemies you can have for your health and well being.

Still Not Convinced?

Startovers are ridiculous. Do you plan a startover in your marriage when it hasn’t been going so well? Do you have a bunch of affairs, allow disrespect, ignore needs leading up to the startover date? No! How about feeling like a lousy Christian, with many unconfessed sins, haven’t been reading your Bible or praying much.  Do you set a startover date for Monday, but in the meantime allow yourself to be a hellion, breaking all of the 10 Commandments? No! is what most of you would answer. So why do we think startovers with diet and exercise are good ideas?

All of today’s decisions matter. Why make poor ones? You may make healthier ones or better ones in the future, but we should try to make good, healthy choices today. We want to be building health continually. Are the choices I am making today building good health? Or at very least stalling progress, not tearing down.

Take the analogy of building your dream home. You make progress on it for a couple of weeks.  Neighbors walk by admiring how things are shaping up.  You start feeling lazy or tired or it rains or is too windy-so work comes to a halt or slows down. Maybe the wind even causes a little damage.  But would all of this cause you to have a STARTOVER day? Would you allow yourself a little destructive behavior because you are starting over on Monday? Maybe break a few windows, rip out a couple of boards in the framing or sledgehammer a few bricks. Admittedly the analogy is a little weak here because those examples are not fun and not tempting, not like the things we do in anticipation of a startover, things like drinking too much, overeating, sugar-bombing, avoiding vegetables, eating fried, processed, junk foods while channel surfing on the couch.

Think construction of health, not destruction.

Startovers are delusional. Since we are on a continuum anyway, startovers do not really reset anything for your health. Nothing on Monday or any other startover day changes magically. If anything, you start over feeling bloated and like you have to play catch-up.


Banish STARTOVERS forever. Nuff said.

If you would like help stopping STARTOVERS, and want help making significant progress on your health journey, consider working with me as your health coach. I have incorporated in my 13 Week Wellness Adventure program the “life is a continuum” philosophy. This program includes a push towards your most cherished goals and developing new healthier habits, but has nothing to do with deprivation with an end in sight to re-indulge. Contact me here.

If you have a bad relationship with tobacco you might find this article that I wrote to be helpful:
Hope for the Hopeless Smoker

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