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Learning from Lapses

A lapse is a momentary “slip up” in behavior. It can last for just one meal, one day or one week -- it depends on the situation and the person. Lapses are part of the weight loss process. When you do slip up, remember that it’s an isolated event, not a reflection of a defect in your character. If the result is that you didn’t lose weight, let it go and refocus on all of the other positive changes you’re making. It is important to recognize why the lapse occurred in the first place.

3 Lapse Scenarios

No Way -- an uncontrollable circumstance with no way to make a better choice. Forgive yourself and celebrate what did go well.

No How -- you didn’t have the skills, resources or information to make a better choice. Benefit from hindsight, and learn ways to stay on track next time.

No Desire -- you didn’t have the desire to make a better choice. Refuel your motivation to make a better choice next time.

A lapse can be turned into a benefit if you know what to do. After you’ve determined what triggered it, you can now take action:

● Take back control to gain feelings of empowerment. Imagine how proud of yourself you would feel if, after your lapse, you got right back on track for the rest of the day instead of waiting to follow your plan again until tomorrow - or the famous “on Monday”.

● Reinforce the importance of conscious, mindful eating. Being in the moment and present can help ward off lapses because you will have that mind/body connection and you will be able to tell when you have had enough food.

● Create a deeper awareness of your personal eating style. If you know your eating style, you can gain knowledge and learn techniques to handle situations that are challenging for you. Do you know what eating style or styles you have? If not, take our Eat Well quiz in your personal profile to find out.

● Get a win-win with activity. Activity is a great all-around swap for many negative habits. Feeling bored? Do some gardening. Anxious? Go for a quick, 10-minute jog to calm you down. Feeling lonely? Volunteer at the animal shelter to play with a dog who needs some love. Exercise lowers stress, boosts mood and burns off extra calories.

Although a lapse can be perceived as a negative event, how it is perceived and managed is what turns it into a benefit or barrier. Taking control over your lapse is important because it can prevent you from having a full-blown relapse. Staying positive and learning from your slip-ups can set you up for lifelong weight management success.