What Is a Lapse?
A lapse (or a “slip”) is when you eat off your meal plan; however, you still manage to regain control over your actions.
You arrive at work, and someone brings in a box of doughnuts. You quickly eat one and then think, “I blew it.” Then, you say “Since I already ate a doughnut, I might as well eat McDonald’s for lunch.” However, when it is time for lunch, you decide to eat the food you brought and get right back on track.
What Is a Relapse?
A lapse left unchecked can grow into a relapse. This is a gradual decline in function that precedes or leads to the recurrence of your previous unhealthy habits. No matter how hard you try, you cannot to control your behavior. Eventually, you give up and stop trying.
One afternoon, you go to the bakery and buy a cake to share with your co-workers. You eat the whole cake in the car while driving to work. After finishing the cake, you are angry with yourself and frustrated with your attempts to stop bingeing. You think, “Despite trying so hard these past few weeks, I cannot stop bingeing, the treatment didn’t work, and what is the use?” “I will never be able to stop bingeing!” Over the next few weeks, you binge eat often and end up with the same pattern of unhealthy behavior(s) as when you first began your diet. You have lost your motivation, your mood is low, you feel defeated, and you are out of control.
6 Steps to Avoid a Relapse
Recognize that almost all people attempting to lose weight experience one. Lapses can and will be useful learning experiences.
Resist the tendency to think negative thoughts and beat yourself up with harsh and punishing words. You’re not a failure if you experience a lapse; it’s normal!
Use this as an opportunity to learn from the lapse. Was it a special occasion? Did you eat because of social pressure? Were you stressed?
Review the situation and think about it neutrally. Then, plan a strategy for dealing more effectively with similar situations in the future.
Regain control of your eating at the next opportunity. Don’t tell yourself, “Well, I blew it for the day,” and wait until the next day to get back on track. Getting back on track without delay is important in preventing lapses from becoming relapses.
Talk to someone supportive or a trained Weight Loss Specialist to discuss your new skills and strategies for handling lapses.
Most importantly, remember you are making life-long changes. Weight loss is a journey with many decisions and choices that add up over time. Focus on all the positive changes you have made and realize that you can get back on track. The decision is yours!
Our dedicated team is here to support you as you take the first step on your journey towards a healthier and happier you. Request an appointment to get started today.