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Overcoming an Activity Lapse

If you feel that regular physical activity has become a permanent habit for you, that’s great! Confidence is key to staying on track. At the same time, it’s important to recognize that minor slips or lapses can and do happen.

The best approach to prevent lapses from becoming relapses is to plan ahead. Think about situations that put you at risk of straying from your activity routine. Here are some examples of possible high-risk situations:

● Getting sick

● Holidays/vacations

● Business travel

● Getting over a cold

● Very busy at work

● Family obligations

● Bad weather

● Moving to a new house

Take a moment to think about how you’d handle these situations. Maybe you’ll choose to go on a walk instead of a run when you’re getting over a cold. You may decide to take part in the manual labor of moving by hauling boxes. You may plan to exercise to your favorite workout DVD when the weather is bad. Jot down your “back-up” plans in your journal or on your menu.

When a lapse does happen, it’s important to use the lapse as a learning opportunity. If you find yourself slipping away from your typical physical activity routine:

Forgive yourself. It takes practice to build a lifelong habit.

Analyze your situation. What led you to trade evening walks for web surfing? With one choice at a time, you became less active. Were these the choices you were making back before you became active? Can you apply the same solutions to get back on track?

Think back to before your weight loss journey. Remember how it felt to be out of shape and sluggish? Then, how did it feel to be active? Do you remember the rush of:

Energy after a brisk walk?

Surprise of discovering definition in your muscles?

Pride of measuring inches lost?

Relaxation that follows a good sweat?

Confidence in keeping up with others?

Satisfaction of meeting a goal?

Plan to reward yourself. Once you’ve taken the steps to restart your activity plan, pat yourself on the back. Invest in a new pair of walking shoes or workout outfit. Make a contract with yourself that if you’re consistently active for a week, a month, etc., you’ll treat yourself to:

○ A round of golf

○ A massage

○ Tickets to a comedy club

○ Downloaded music

○ Tickets to a sporting event

○ A bouquet of flowers

Reaffirm the active person you are! Remember, after a lapse you are not starting from square one, you’re just picking up where you left off. Actively practice these affirmations:

○ Activity helps me manage my weight every day.

○ Activity energizes me.

○ Activity keeps me healthy and nurtures my well-being.

○ I will be active for the rest of my life!

Life happens -- lapses are common. Living an active lifestyle does not mean sticking to your exercise regimen perfectly. The goal is to turn a lapse around, learn from the experience and pick up where you left off. You can do it!