Have you ever started a weight loss program and progressed with great results until that one day arrives when everything just seems to fall apart? Somewhere along the way you probably experienced small deviations………little slip-ups or mistakes. When enough of those small lapses have occurred you will find an old problem returning, yes, you are heading for a relapse!
A relapse can occur at any time during weight loss, stabilization or maintenance. Life changes such as moving, getting an injury or starting school can trigger a relapse. This behavior change can occur to anyone at any time and I’m here to tell you that a relapse is inevitable.
Now that we know what a relapse is……..how can we stop it from occurring?
- Firstly, make sure that you have a good support system in place. Family and group involvement will give you social interaction and a sense of them being involved in your efforts.
- Learn to recover or just avoid that first slip. Most people cannot handle “just one”. I have known some people to carry an index card around with them that states their reason for commitment as a constant reminder. This index card can also contain emergency contact information (that is, people that you can call when you need support) and actions to take in order to avoid a slip.
- Learn to be assertive. Be straight forward with your thoughts, feelings and beliefs.
- Take on responsibility for your own behaviors, schedules and priorities.
- It is really important to identify and prepare for high-risk situations. If you recognize the situation, mentally prepare ahead of time.
- Use specific skills or techniques for coping with difficult situations such as positive self-talk, exercise, meditation and relaxation.
- How many of us run into the problem of tunnel vision—–you know——–where we focus all our attention on the temptation at hand? Try not to focus on such things as eating, drinking and not exercising. Focus instead on the things to be gained from losing weight and the personal costs for not losing weight.
If with all of your best efforts you still find yourself relapsing, here are a few suggestions to help you get started again:
- Re-visit your weight loss goals and renew your weight management commitment.
- Review your exercise program.
- Journal! One of the most powerful tools for changing eating behavior is to write down what you eat and the circumstances that lead to the eating.
- Finally, find that support person that you respect and trust.