Lapse Management

How to Manage Lapse’s

Learning how to manage a lapse is one of the most important skills that is necessary to learn for Weight Loss Maintenance !

Before we look at how to manage a lapse, lets look at the ‘Lapse Map’. This is a really great visual on how we end up lapsing in the first place.

So here we go…

  • This time in order to lose weight I should exercise every day…. I should not eat chocolate or anything sweet…. I should avoid all social situations so I wont be tempted…. I can do this… I have the willpower…. I am motivated…. This time it will work. I believe I can do it this way…. Positive Mental Attitude…. All good !!
  • Then a trigger situation… Person, situation, crisis, weak spot, tiredness, stressed,  an image – cake in the canteen, trying on clothes etc….
  • Next we have Conflict/discomfort/anxiety/confusion/tension in the body.

Now the self talk starts ..… one won’t hurt, I’m fat anyway so one won’t make a difference, or it’s not a big deal not to exercise today.So you have had the piece of cake or you have chosen to relax instead of pounding the roads !

Now the Negative Self Talk starts… I shouldn’t have had it, I should have gone for a walk, I should, I should I should…

Next we have the ‘I’ve Blown it syndrome’ which activates an array of beliefs…..

  • What’s the point ?….
  • I can’t do this ….
  • I always fail…..
  • I am not able….
  • I am a bad person….
  • I am weak/greedy…..

Now your Self Efficacy (belief in your ability ) breaks down completely and this is followed by your motivation hitting rock bottom and then the rest of the week you struggle with your feelings and over eat to manage them.After a period of time you start again, this time you are sure you can do it cause you are ready now !!!!

Here a helpful phrase comes to mind ….

The Definition of Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting Different Results !

So How Do you Deal with Lapses ?

Relax the Rules … Should, should not, must , must not , never …. These are all symbolic of ‘pressure’. The stricter the rule, the greater the inner tendency to rebel. Rules place you in high risk situations. Abolish all or nothing style thinking. In most cases it is unrealistic to exercise every day. Also using the word activity is more gentle. Introducing the notion of being more active daily is much better than having a rule I must exercise every day. In regard to food adopt an 80/20 approach…. 80% of the time I am going to eat healthy and 20% of the time I am going to eat less healthy. Rather than I should not eat something sweet. This approach allows you to lose weight and also have a little of what you fancy. Denial only leads to cravings and in some cases bingeing results. Plan Ahead

….. Planning is the key to weight loss and weight loss maintenance. Keeping a food diary initially will help you identify triggers and patterns and this give you vital information to help prevent lapses. For instance you don’t introduce a rule like ‘nothing sweet will pass my lips’ when you have four birthday’s to celebrate over the coming week ! This is pure sabotage !

Recognise Set Up’s and Triggers

I love this one ! So by a set up I mean something you unconsciously organise that results in you overeating. So let’s say you have an Aunt Madge and you invite her for dinner. Each time you invite Aunt Madge she brings chocolate cake. It’s her way of showing appreciation for your invite. So she comes over for dinner and you both have a slice and savour it ! Then she leaves and you inadvertently finish the chocolate cake. Your self talk then goes something like this…. ‘why did she have to come (cause you invited her)…. Why did she have to bring cake (she always does and you know it). Sometimes we are unaware of our own triggers and set up’s and there are simple ways to handle them. Ask Aunt Madge to bring flowers to show her appreciation or if you don’t want to deny yourself or her a slice then suggest to her to take the remainder with her as it will go to waste in your house. Alternatively bring it into your neighbour and tell her it will go to waste in your house or finally bin it. Many find it hard to throw out left over food but my attitude to this is you have more respect for the bin than your body as you are not willing to put it in the bin, but you are willing to put it into your body even thought you don’t need it or really want it ! Think about it ?! Here we get to use our problem solving skills and stimulus control skills (managing food in your environment) .

Recognise Cravings & Urges

…. A craving is a overpowering desire for something and it confers temporary gratification. It may suggest a loss of willpower or a weakness and may be triggered by an idea, smell, visual cue, or when the mood is low. Cravings also occur when deprivation (real or imagined) is felt, when a person leaves a long gap between meals, or when a high sugar food is eaten. Cravings can be viewed as an attempt to deal with stress (internal or external, real or perceived), unrecognised anger, frustration, or a spiritual void. When the craving is satisfied there is an immediate drop in tension and a surge of power, hence the addictive cycle.

Cravings tend to build to a peak and then subside after

Twenty minutes if not gratified. The more they are not

Satisfied the weaker they become.

Reframe Lapses…. By this I mean having the ability to view the lapse as a ‘learning experience’. It is an opportunity to

Learn something else about yourself. A positive attitude toward your lapse will decrease the lapse experiences and reduces their intensity. A negative attitude toward your lapse can activate a strong sense of failure and powerlessness. I always say to clients ‘ one meal will not change your weight but one attitude can !.’

Finally rather than focusing on starting again the next day, focus on feeling better right there and then.

There are no Good and Bad foods, only Good and Bad Habits ! Everything in moderation !



Suzanne ~ 087 2056560