The psychological principle of “moral licensing” explains how your “good” choices can backfire. The term refers to rationalizations that you deserve something “bad” or indulgent based on past or future “good” behavior. It’s one of the rationalizations that leads to emotional eating and undermining our goals.
You may think that since you’re planning to have a salad at lunch, then you can indulge with donuts at the morning meeting. Or that since you went to the gym in the afternoon, you deserve to indulge at dinner.
A good plan to stop moral licensing is by interrupting the judgment process about bad and good, whether that applies to food or eating behavior. When you toss out the idea that there’s a right or wrong way to do things you can choose what to eat based on saner criteria.
This article explains it further.