Relapse is difficult. It causes you to watch your gains slip away, like sand sifting through your fingers at the beach. Sometimes it feels like you just can’t stop the repercussions. It’s as though all the good that came before can’t be maintained. Stopping the damage may be nowhere in sight. The big fear that is lurking in the background is: what if I end up fatter than I was before? It’s confusing too, because it seems like you’ve lost all control. And how can that be when you were eating so clean for so long? The juxtaposition of the two, train wreck versus clean eating is stunning. You had been so virtuous for so long, and now the converse is true. You eat whatever appeals, no holds bar.
So what emotions appear as you stumble, no fall into the abyss? Of course as mentioned above there is fear, but there is also mounting shame with each pound gained. Disrespect for yourself emerges as you pull out pants you thought you’d never need again. Thank goodness you never got around to tossing them. Then there’s the sorrow of the dream lost or fallen from your grasp. There is also regret. Regret that you couldn’t just maintain the gains you’d achieved. Couldn’t you have simply stopped losing and just remained on a grand plateau. That would have been nice. At least nicer than the glacial slide that’s been occurring. So just to review some of the emotions that accompany relapse include fear, shame, regret, sorrow. Sounds pretty miserable.
Have you experienced some of these emotions? Do you have lack of regard for yourself or suffer from low self esteem as your weight loss achievement eludes you and slips away? Think of five adjectives that ring true for you to describe what you have been experiencing during your relapse?
What caused your relaps? When did you chuck it all and really let go? When did you really dig in and start dishing up your favorites, despite promises to yourself to refrain? Why did you let yourself go for so long? Did it seem like it happened while you weren’t looking? When did you notice things where slipping? Did you experience self revulsion or self hate? Did those feelings cause you to eat even more? Did you experience despair as you began your ascent up the scale? Did you feel out of control? How did you feel as your body morphed back to where it had been?
What is the best thing you can do to catch yourself and stop the damage? Can you set a date when you will commence eating in a self respecting manner again? Can you clean out your pantry once again. Can you shop with control on your side? Perhaps go through the store with restraint, and then before entering the check out line, review what is in your cart, and then remove any items that don’t measure up to your standards of healthy eating. When you go home develop some healthy menus for the next few days, and then cook and eat with care. You could concentrate on no seconds and serving your food on slightly smaller plates. Did you know that your plate and bowl size severely impacts the amount of food you dish out? If you don’t have any smaller dishes you might want to consider investing in some.
How are you going to handle the set of emotions on your plate? You will have to find a way to soothe or baby yourself without incorporating food in that plan. It is as if the relapse has made you sick or depressed, and you must first deal with those emotions, before you can truly get better. The actions of beginning to retrace your steps and start losing again will help, but you will have to forgive yourself for the damage that’s been done, as you frittered away your gains. You will have to see your losses on the scale in a more sacred manner in the future, and covet them. You will have to see them worthy of protection and sacrifice.
How will you start to forgive yourself? Forgiveness is truly key here. Perhaps you can remember you are only human! This weight loss thing and letting go of sugar and carbs (or whatever it is for you, dairy and gluten or is it meat), is all gargantuan! It’s a tough road, but a worthy journey. Those who avoid certain cravings often live longer, as a result of their reduced size. Those who avoid foods they have sensitivities to, often live better. So don’t be afraid to re-double your efforts and strike out once again to slay that dragon. I say go for it. Do what you can. This just might be your lucky attempt. The one that brings you the joys that you seek. So make a plan and stick to it. And don’t forget to work on those emotions too. They lurk in the background and likely will affect you in a negative manner, if you don’t tend to them.
Best to you,
Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC, BCC
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
The Wellness Coach form Building Better Bodies Rocks
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio
Leap Into Action!