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Weight-Loss & Wellness Articles

Escape the "What-the-Hell Effect": Mastering Setbacks for Weight Loss Triumph

Updated: Jun 6, 2023


Losing weight can be a tough challenge, and sometimes, certain obstacles make it even more difficult to achieve our goals. One of these obstacles is known as the "What-the-Hell Effect." In this article, we will discuss the "What-the-Hell Effect" based on a study conducted by researchers Haws and Liu, who explored how the feeling of failure can influence our choices.

We'll explain why this effect happens and provide helpful tips and strategies for overcoming it. By understanding the "What-the-Hell Effect" and learning how to handle it, you'll be better prepared to face challenges and continue on your path to successful weight loss.

What is the "What-the-Hell Effect"?


The "What-the-Hell Effect" is when someone gives up on a goal after making a small mistake. They think they might completely forget their goal since they have already messed up.


Imagine you're trying to eat healthily, but you eat a piece of cake. Instead of stopping after one slice, you think, "I already ruined my diet, so I might as well eat the whole cake!" This is the "What-the-Hell Effect."

Why Do People Experience the "What-the-Hell Effect"?

Conflicting Feelings

Researchers found that sometimes, people have different thoughts or feelings that make them uncomfortable. When they make a small mistake, like eating a piece of cake on a diet, they feel bad and decide to give up on their goal to make themselves feel better.

Wanting to Be Perfect

Some people want to be perfect and think they've completely failed if they make a mistake. So when they make a small mistake, they give up on their goal.

How the "What-the-Hell Effect" Makes Losing Weight Harder

The "What-the-Hell Effect" can make losing weight really hard. People who make small mistakes, like eating too much or missing a workout, might give up on their weight loss goal. This can make it hard for them to stick to their plan and lose weight.

How to Beat the "What-the-Hell Effect"

According to a study conducted by Stanford University, to beat the "What-the-Hell Effect," one can make realistic goals, focus on progress rather than perfection, understand the challenges and variations that come along with it, be mindful about eating, learn from mistakes, and find friends to help and plan for problems. By following these strategies, we can avoid getting derailed by a small mistake and stay motivated toward achieving our goals.

Make Realistic Goals

To beat the "What-the-Hell Effect," make goals that are possible to achieve. Break big goals into smaller parts, and be happy when you reach them.

Focus on Progress

Remember that getting better is more important than being perfect. It's okay to make mistakes sometimes as long as you keep trying.

Understand What to Expect

Losing weight isn't always easy, and sometimes you'll have good and bad days. Don't be too hard on yourself when things are unplanned.

Be Mindful About Eating

Pay attention to how hungry you are and how the food tastes when you eat. This can help you make better choices about what and how much to eat.

Learn from Mistakes

When you make a mistake, use t as a chance to learn and grow. Don't fear making mistakes because they can help you improve.

Find Friends to Help You

Having friends or family who support you can make it easier to beat the "What-the-Hell Effect." Share your goals with them; they can help you stay motivated and on track.

Plan for Problems

Know that you might face problems, and be ready to deal with them. Make a list of healthy ways to cope with challenges, and remind yourself to stay positive when things get tough.


The "What-the-Hell Effect" can make losing weight harder, but you can beat it. By understanding why it happens and using the tips in this article, you can stay focused on your weight loss goal. Remember, getting better is more important than being perfect, so keep trying and don't give up!


What causes the "What-the-Hell Effect"?

People experience the "What-the-Hell Effect" when they have conflicting feelings or want to be perfect. This makes them give up on their goals when they make a small mistake.

How can I stop the "What-the-Hell Effect" from making it harder to lose weight?

Focus on making realistic goals, getting better instead of being perfect, understanding what to expect, being mindful about eating, learning from mistakes, finding friends to help you, and planning for problems.

Is it normal to have problems when trying to lose weight?

Yes, having good and bad days is normal when trying to lose weight. The important thing is to keep trying and learn from your mistakes.

How can friends and family help me beat the "What-the-Hell Effect"?

Friends and family can support you by encouraging, helping you stay motivated, and reminding you of your goals when things get tough.

What is mindful eating, and how can it help me beat the "What-the-Hell Effect"?

Mindful eating means paying attention to how hungry you are and how the food tastes. This can help you make better choices about what and how much to eat so you don't give up on your weight loss goal when you make a small mistake.


Before and after transformation photos of Gus Bouari, co-founder and health coach of the SOZA Weight Loss program, showcasing his remarkable weight loss success.

Gus Bouari from SOZA

Health Blog Writer

About Gus Bouari, SOZA Co-Founder

After his childhood friend and co-founder, Dr. Anthony Wehbe lost 50 pounds on the SOZA weight loss program, he also did the program and lost 35 pounds.

Gus is a wellness advocate and enthusiast. Gus truly believes we can all transform our lives by adapting to and following a healthy, wellness-focused lifestyle.

He has appeared on Miami NBC 6 Health in the Mix, discussing healthy eating and healthy cooking.

If you ever bump into Gus, it would most likely be at a health foods store helping fellow shoppers make better food choices.

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