We've all done it. You try to go on a healthy eating diet, but one day you binge. Maybe you go out for a big lunch with friends, or you're feeling a bit down and missing the chocolate or you're just tired and take away is SO much easier than cooking. Then you feel you've just lost the momentum and give up all together. This is what happens to a large percentage of diets or exercise programs, often in the first ten days. It's why so many fail. So how do you deal with a slip without destroying all the good work you've done, and without giving up all together? I think the first thing to do is accept that lapses happen to just about everyone. It's not the end of the world and it's definitely not worth giving up on your health plans.
Here are few strategies to deal with a lapse:
1. Celebrate your successes not your failure. If your lapse is on the fifth day, celebrate that you had 4 successful days rather than lamenting 1 unsuccessful day.
2. Relax a little and don't blame yourself for the lapse. Give yourself a break. You may have broken your diet but that's OK, you're human. No-one is perfect. As long as you treat yourself well, eating healthily as much as you can, the odd lapse shouldn't change your determination to look after yourself.
3. Instead of feeling like your diet is all over because you blew it once, take the time to figure out what went wrong. Consider if you were very tired, unhappy, scared, sad or anxious. Maybe you found the dieting situation pressured, uncomfortable or embarrassing. Figuring out where you may have taken a wrong turn and what you can do to get back on track to your weight loss goal will get you out of the "giving up" mode and may prepare you to avoid it in the future.
4. Give yourself a day off. If you are starting on a new regime it's fair to give yourself a day off. Allocate these days and let yourself eat as much chocolate as you want, or lie on the lounge in front of the TV rather than exercise, or have a big lunch out with friends and eat whatever you choose. This way, if you have cravings you know when you can indulge it, and hold off until then. Just be sensible in how often you allow these days. A day off every second day won't help you achieve your goals. Maybe start with once a week then extend to once a fortnight, then maybe even extend to once a month, but only if you can hold out that long between days off. A scheduled day off from any healthy eating or exercise program can actually ensure the program is a success.
5. The most important thing is to get back on track the next day. One lapse is not going to ruin your plans, but giving up will. Each time you lapse, just start up again the next day as though nothing happened. There's a good chance you'll lapse again. Don't panic!!! Each time you'll find there are more days between the lapses.
The key thing for you to keep in mind if you lapse is DON'T GIVE UP. Remember that lapses are a part of any diet, and a natural by product of any eating regimen change. Realistically, they should be taken into consideration from the earliest planning stages. Of course, you'll lose weight faster if you lapse less frequently. You'll certainly enjoy a diet more if you're not constantly struggling against cravings and temptations. One bad day is not enough to "break your diet" unless you let it get you down. It's what you eat over the long run that counts. The best way to get over a lapse is to treat it like the insignificant blip it is and just get right back on track!