Slip-ups Are a Part of Life

Behavior change is a cycle, and lapses – or slip-ups – and relapses are part of this cycle. Learning to handle the slip-ups, and even prevent them, in a way that honors your progress and YOU can be the key to successful behavior change.

I was speaking with a friend recently who was lamenting that she’s been having some professional struggles lately which have led her to “eat everything in sight.” I immediately asked her what she was going to do about it. I asked her to conduct an exercise:

  • Take 15-30 minutes, or even an hour, somewhere alone and visualize what it was like for her “in her pain.” What was it like before weight loss surgery? What was it like even right after, when she knew she had to start the uphill climb? What led her to even make that big decision? What was it like for her when she started to see changes? Feel sexy? Shop for smaller clothes?
  • Look at old pictures. How would it feel to know that after X years of really hard work – and being only 10-15 pounds away from her goal weight – she’d slipped back to the beginning? And how would it feel to not realize how she’d gotten there?

I always encourage people (as someone once encouraged me) to be gentle with yourself when there are slip-ups. But, if you continue to repeatedly give yourself permission, you can reach a point where rebound feels impossible. Have a conversation with yourself about what those mental, physical, emotional and psychological consequences would feel like and decide if it’s really worth another “eat everything in sight” moment.

I then encouraged her to hit the reset button and change up her routine a bit with these ideas:

  • Introduce one new recipe you can get excited about (check out the Recipes section here for some quick and tasty ideas!)
  • Buy a new food journal, or even a new pen that feels fabulous to write with (you might think this sounds crazy, but it works for me, especially purple ink!)
  • Interject your day three times with this five-minute routine:
    • 15-20 push-ups: do these against a wall, your desk or a counter, or even on your knees if it’s appropriate
    • 10-15 tricep dips off a chair or bench
    • 30 seconds- 1 minute plank holds on elbows: You can do these with elbows on a chair or bench as well; the key is to pull in your abs and keep your hips low, maintaining a straight line from your neck to your heels. Helpful tip: Listening to and/or singing out the chorus to your favorite song can distract your brain from counting the seconds!
    • Repeat the whole thing one more time!

Are you grappling with your own plan to change a particular “unhealthy” behavior? What are your relapse threats? It’s okay to slip, we all have those moments – it’s what makes us human. The important part is to pick yourself up and move forward; and, in preparation for the next time relapse threatens your progress, arm yourself with the tools that honor your progress and honor YOU.

In the eloquent and poignant words of L’Oreal: You’re worth it!

Resources:

Video: How to do Push-ups (YouTube) (keep this same form if you move from mat to a counter or the wall)

Video: How to do Tricep Bench Dips (YouTube)

Video: Plank It Ab Exercise form Exercise TV (YouTube)

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