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From Lapse to Opportunity

Diet lapses happen -- a donut here, a few French fries there. So now what? Don’t let a lapse ruin your progress. You can turn a weight loss lapse into an opportunity with a positive mindset and outlook.

A lapse is a single event -- a slip-up when you didn’t eat what you planned, skipped your activity or let critical self-talk drive your day. It may seem like a lapse is something that just happens to you and is beyond your control. But, it’s usually when you’re lost in the moment, overwhelmed by a situation or a person, that a lapse is likely to happen.

What keeps a lapse from turning into a relapse (when you repeatedly slip and return to old, unhealthy behaviors) is your response. If you think that lack of willpower or another character defect is what caused the lapse, you may need to reset your thinking. You’re more likely to throw yourself into a binge, feel guilty about it and launch into a full-fledged relapse with that critical mindset.

Instead of thinking of a lapse as an uncontrollable event, think of it as a single moment when you lost sight of yourself, when you got out of touch with your own thoughts, emotions and personal goals. It isn’t a catastrophe. A lapse is an opportunity to learn. Also, keep in mind that healthy living is not about perfection, it’s about making smart choices more often than not.

So the next time you have a diet lapse, try this:

● Retrace your steps.

● Reflect on the lapse at hand... Where were you? Who were you with? What were you feeling?

● Create a plan for when you’re faced with the situation again.

● Rehearse the plan in your head to make it second nature the next time you need it.

Learning from your lapse will turn your negative situation into a positive experience!