Fit Tip Friday: The “What the Hell” Effect

Hello everybody and Happy Friday!

I’m going to be upfront with you. I didn’t write this post today. I actually didn’t even write it this week.

I knew this week was going to be a crazy one. I needed to get as many things done ahead of time as possible so I would have time for work, training my clients, finishing up a few projects, doing a speaking gig at Running Room, and somewhere in there getting ready for Mexico and maybe trying to sweat like once or twice.

For all I know, as you read this I could be laying on the floor staring at the ceiling not knowing who I am or where I’m supposed to be. But I hope I’m relaxing and getting my nails done šŸ˜‰

During these crazy busy times it can be really easy to fall off the wagon, whatever our reason for being on it is. Maybe we’re trying to make smarter eating choices. Maybe we want to hit the gym five days each week, or maybe we’ve made a goal ofĀ crossing everything off our to-do lists before wasting the night away on social media.

As we get overwhelmed and begin to let things slip it’s far too easy to throw our hands up in the air and say “what the hell” before eating everything in sight, cancelling our gym memberships, and liking 500 pictures of cats on Instagram.

Hence, the “What the Hell” Effect.

“I’ve already had four cookies..the day is ruined, so I might as well just eat that entire plate.”

“I missed my workout today, so I might as well just wait until next week and restart my program fresh.”

“I sat on my ass and did nothing this morning…the day’s shot so I might as well just do that for the rest of the it!”

Seems a little counter-intuitive, but people utilize this thinking all the time. I’ve been guilty of it many times.

The psychology behind the “What the Hell” effect is undergoing a lot of research. Scientists are trying to figure outĀ whyĀ we engage in this self-destructive behaviour.

SomeĀ believe this has something to do with willpower. There is strong evidence that suggests willpower is like a muscle – it’s something we can strengthen, but it’s something that can also be fatigued if we overuse it.

I don't even have kids and sometimes I feel like this

I don’t even have kids and sometimes I feel like this


Being overly restrictive with our diets or our schedules can cause us to snap. For some, all it takes is a morning of saying no to soda and muffins before slippingĀ into a nighttime food binge, and for others, it may take a few weeks or even months of late nights & early mornings trying to conquer the world before they end up spending a week doing nothing but eating ice creamĀ on the couch wearing theĀ same pair of pajamas.

To prevent one misstepĀ from turning into a huge ordeal you can’t turn back from, begin by letting go of those feelings of guilt and shame. They serve you no purpose, and as lovely as it would be to change the past, we can’t!

Then put your eyes back on the prize – that big goal you’re working towards. Completely jumping ship after one little misstep isn’t going to get you any closer to it.

Pick one action that will get you closer to your goal, and do it right away. It doesn’t matter how small it seems. Did you eat half a bag of chips while you’re trying to lose weight? No biggie – toss the other half in the garbage.

Did you completely throw away your to-do list in favour of cleaning your apartment like I did a couple of weeks ago? Don’t worry – re-evaluate that list and pick just oneĀ thing to do before bed (this is when it helps to have every single little mundane task on your list šŸ˜‰ ).

It’s an overwhelming time of year, and typically as soon as the madness of the holidays winds down we tend to set lofty goals to become svelte, wealthy go-getters.

This year, cut yourself a little bit of slack. Take five when you need it while prepping for that epic Christmas dinner, and instead of writing down the first ambitionsĀ that come to the top of your head this New Year’s Eve, take some time to think about a couple of goals you really see yourself being able to work towards.

If you find yourself struggling with the “What the Hell” Effect, hit me up! I’m always happy to lend a listening ear šŸ™‚

Have you ever heard of the “What the Hell” Effect? Ever experienced it? What did you do to combat it?Ā 


One thought on “Fit Tip Friday: The “What the Hell” Effect

  1. I definitely experience the “what the hell’ effect when it comes to food. (I love it a little too much. šŸ˜› ) I get back on the wagon usually by the next day though, so I like to say that as long as everything’s in (semi-)moderation, not all is lost!

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