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retro woman holding a doughnut

H. Armstrong Roberts/Corbis

There's that dreaded point in every diet — for me, it's after the first 10 pounds — when you start to slack off a little. You skip lunch one Saturday, and later that night at a restaurant with your husband, you're so ravenous that you order the salad, the soup, the entrée, and two glasses of chardonnay. Uh-oh, you think, I've blown it. And then you really blow it — by sampling half the dessert cart.

To avoid facing the bad news, you go incommunicado with your scale. Feeling defeated, you begin to slack off even more and, before you know it, those 10 pounds are back. Now you have to muster the motivation to lose that stubborn weight all over again.

Can you say yo-yo dieting? It's a cycle, but it's not unbreakable. The first step toward success: Learn how to deal with setbacks. "I always tell people to 'fail fast' — the idea is to recognize your error but avoid wallowing in it," says Holly Wyatt, M.D., who's with the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR). "One mistake isn't going to reverse everything you’ve worked for." Here, Dr. Wyatt and other weight-loss experts offer quick fixes for seven common diet goofs, plus tips on how to avoid future slipups.

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