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Looking today at dealing with lapses. I know that a lot of you have been used to dieting a lot and so therefore you are used to a very “all or nothing” way of eating. You’re either on it 100% or you lapse and then you find it difficult to get back on it again. I’m going to look basically at why lapses happen, I’m going to go a little bit into the science of why lapses, happen in a very simple way (I’m not going to bombard you with science, I never do), and why they happen. Then hopefully give you some strategies to look at to avoid lapsing.

A lapse doesn’t mean failure, it doesn’t mean you can’t do this. That’s a very tough defeatist mindset! It’s really hard to lose weight… your body wants to hold onto fat and in fact it’s a protective mechanism, it’s desirable to have the ability to hold onto fat. This meant that you would have survived the harsh winters or when there was no food, you would have survived so it’s not failure. This is a kind of science behind it, it is really hard losing weight… We used to kind of let that eating in the late summer and autumn help us put on our reserves to last us through when it’s dark outside and things weren’t growing, it was difficult to get food and then we were meant to use those fat supplies to survive on through the winter. Nowadays we have a constant bombardment of food, so our bodies still want us to overeat and feast on the food because it’s a survival mechanism. It’s really hard to fight this. You’re going against biology and going against science by learning to lose weight. There’s a couple of things you can do. The first one is, if you are too restrictive this can lead to yo-yo dieting which slows down your metabolism and it takes a while. Also, if you are used to dieting, you’re used to jumping on a bandwagon and following a particular diet and usually they are quite hard because losing weight is hard but in order to keep people in that diet club they want results so therefore the diet itself is actually quite hard to follow; it’s very restrictive, there might be rules, there might be no carbs, there might be a massive calorie deficit. They are also usually for a short period of time. You’ll see diets advertised online – “lose weight in four weeks, in 12 weeks”… They’re designed to be that period of time because that is a really easy period of time to diet for. Anyone can diet for four weeks, it’s what happens afterwards. Here at ShowMe.Fit we will be teaching you to eat well all the time so that means that the weight loss is slower because it’s not massively restrictive but you’re picking up a really healthier way of losing the weight and therefore you’re going to keep it off for longer and you’ll get out of that ‘diet, not diet, diet, not diet’, yo-yo which ultimately slows down your metabolism. This can be dangerous because once you slow down your metabolism then you have to work even harder to lose the weight. You can reset your metabolism, it takes a while though, so you have to be a little bit patient. Just keep going for several months and your metabolism will speed up again. The way you keep going is not to be too restrictive, so you do need to just eat well. Follow the principles of ShowMe.Fit: your three meals a day, your no snacking, not too much of the alcohol and stuff like that. That hopefully will reset your metabolism if you need it and make sure you’re moving your body as well and doing some kind of exercise.

So, what do you do when you have a relapse or a lapse? The important thing is to learn from it, understand that: “right I’m reaching for alcohol, I’m reaching for chocolate, I’ve eaten a whole loaf of bread” or whatever it is; why have you been driven there in the first place? Stop what you’re doing, don’t let the eating of 1 chocolate bar to turn into “oh I failed, I’m now going to eat 10 chocolate bars.” Why are you doing this? What has led you to reach for something that you feel is not desirable? Is it because you’ve been too restrictive? Have you gone into this saying, “I am never going to eat biscuits again, I’m never going to have a drink of alcohol, I’m never going to have any chocolate”? That’s not what we’re doing at ShowMe.Fit, we’re not being too restrictive. If it’s your birthday, of course you can have a piece of cake. If you’re going out for dinner with friends, of course you can choose what you want from that menu. If you fancy a little bit of chocolate, absolutely have some chocolate. Don’t be too restrictive. What else could you learn? Are you hungry? Have you maybe missed a meal? Have you eaten kind of something that will spike your blood sugars loads? Have you had some fizzy drinks that will lead you to hunger? What has led you to this lapse? Is there anything you can learn from it? Have you had a really stressful day at work? In which case, what can you do now? Stop, look, listen and learn from this. What can you do tomorrow? Forget about what’s happening now… What can you do tomorrow to stop that lapse becoming a total collapse and a “I can’t do this” mindset? So just relax… Secondly is calm down. Quite often, if we have a lapse, some people are different, but we will either eat really quickly to almost forget. We kind of trick your brain into thinking ‘I’m not doing this’ so you’ll eat really quickly. Or you might eat secretively away from other people. They might hide the wrappers. They might then overeat so it’s really important to calm down. If you’re tense, it will stop all rational thinking. I think that breathing exercises are brilliant, they help release relieve tension. I go on about breathing exercises quite a bit. If you are in a really stressed state and sometimes a lapse can put you in a very stressed state, you’re going to be doing shallow breathing and that is really hard, so you need to take a moment, understand that you’re having this lapse and really look at what you’re doing and how you are breathing. Really breathe deeply, slow down. We’ve got some mindful techniques that Tammy put up, some breathing exercises and yoga. All of this will really help you to calm down. You also want to look at why you doing ShowMe.Fit. This isn’t a quick fix diet, this is helping you and teaching you healthy habits. What are you doing this diet or plan for? Why are you doing it now? I did a Wellness vision with everyone as a coaching tool, so you’re basically creating your best self. This is on the habits talk has been uploaded here. This is a really important thing, this is a vision of why you are doing this plan, how you are going to be once you’ve done everything. You also want to do something like boost your motivation. Quite often, when we lapse where we feel bad, we don’t like ourselves. So we need to talk to ourselves much more positively rather than beating ourselves up about it. Refer back to this list of why you started this journey in the first place and move forward. We’re learning from the experience but also what have you learned? Looking at the stop, look and listen, we are very much looking at what you’re learning from there. So what can you do differently next time? Was it a really stressful day at work that led you then to reaching for the alcohol? How can you change that next time you have a really stressful day at work? Could you, rather than come home stressed in your car, could you come home and go immediately out for a walk to distress before and then come back into your kitchen, in your home in a much better frame of mind? Also make sure that you speak to people… We’ve got a really supportive Facebook group now which is everything! You are not alone in having a lapse… There will be other people that are also feeling this so don’t be ashamed. Reach out, get some help from one of us. Tag me if you need assurance but there’s so many people now that are absolutely brilliant on that Facebook group. We’ve all been there, we’ve all done it, none of us are perfect. You are not dealing with this alone. I think that’s really important to understand… you are not alone in this. You’re not the only person that has lapses. Gregg talks about “being good enough is absolutely good enough”, you don’t need to be perfect. This is teaching you for life, not perfection.

Are people’s lives in balance? This is another little coaching tool that I like to use with people to find out whether their life is in balance. I’ll show you (see next slide).

It is a wheel called the wheel of life. In order to be very satisfied in all areas of your life, you would ideally be reaching at 10 in every area on this wheel. Have a little look… are you hitting a 10 in every single area of your life? Are you feeling healthy? Is your weight good? Are your energy levels high? Are you hitting some personal achievements? Are you satisfied with your work and your career? Do you have a purpose in life? Are you happy? Do you have some fun? Do you manage to spend time with your family? Do you have a social life and friends that you can draw on? Do you have time for yourself? I find this is a really big one, especially for women that have families. We don’t spend enough time looking after ourselves. We so busy looking after partners, children, getting to school and stuff that we neglect “me” time. Especially if you’re working at the same time. “Me” time gets put right down the bottom. Are you doing some kind of fitness? I know that a lot of you don’t like the idea of exercise or you can’t do exercise for health reasons… for me the fitness is less about formal gym exercise although that’s absolutely fine as well; I like going to the gym. It’s more about moving throughout the day. Are you walking? Most people can walk. Are you moving around throughout the day? Are you using the stairs? There was a study recently, I think it’s called “bungalow legs” or something. That shows the people that move into a bungalow too early in life actually have problems later on because we need the stairs, we need to be able to move. It’s good for us to challenge ourselves a little bit and go up and downstairs. So, are all of your areas balanced? Then look at which areas are you doing really well in? I would focus on those areas first. Focus on the areas that you are good at and how have you achieved those areas that you’re good at? If that’s work, well what about your work has made it easy for you to hit the 10 or an 8? Are you happy with your “me” time? What other things have you achieved? Have a look at that and focus on the positives before you then look at the weaker numbers and see what you can do to change that. I think this is a really a good tool just to check that your life is in balance because quite often you’ll find that if you’re unhappy about one particular area on this wheel, that is usually thing that could be driving for the lapse or needing to reach for food for comfort, for stress or whatever it is that you’re reaching for food for. So, that’s a good idea to just have a little think about how your life is balanced. know with ShowMe.Fit that most of you are here for weight loss but I’m a nutritionist and I’m looking at health reasons for feeling good with our weight. For me, I always address how people’s health is before their weight. If we are healthy then our weight naturally shouldn’t be inflamed, and we shouldn’t be overweight. We should naturally be at a good weight.

Use this wheel to create awareness and balance in your life. Look at your high schools before your low scores and, do you need to get some support in some areas? If there is particular help that you need, reach out into that Facebook group. The first step to make changes is awareness, become aware of where and which areas of your life that you might need to work on.

To make change your mindset has to be positive. I find a lot of people say they need motivation to make change but actually it’s all about being positive. When you’re positive and you’re in a really good frame of mind, you have become unstoppable. You find everything works for you and actually I’ve seen several messages on the Facebook group this week, there’s a couple of people, actually two women and both of them were sharing successes – not weight related successes, but they were looking for other positives. They were focusing less actually on the number on the scales and less about how much they were weighing and they were looking at more non scale victories and they were proud of these pictures, and so they should be. They weren’t focused anymore on the number on the scales, it has become meaningless really to them. They’re focusing on what they are getting out of life and what they’re doing. They’re going to the gym, they’re stepping out of their comfort zone slightly and they’re feeling really positive about this. When you start to feel positive it comes much easier to make change. Your mindset’s in a really good place and so therefore it’s easier to stick to habits, easy to eat healthily, it’s easier to eat well so you feel great. You feel the positives! Then sometimes something happens, you get stressed, you’ve had a bad day at work and then you stop with that positive mindset and you stop getting results. Now the results haven’t changed, you’ve just changed your mindset. Your mindset has now become negative, you could have still been hitting your results but your mindset’s had a shift and you’ve become negative. So, it’s nothing to do with your motivation, it’s all about being positive. We become motivated when we’re committed to something, so again really small, small habits, don’t reach for the stars, set yourselves really small goals. If you’ve got something like 4 stone to lose, don’t fixate on the fact that you’ve got 4 stone to lose… break it right down, break it down to four pounds at a time if you need to and celebrate that four pounds each time rather than focusing on that for stone. Change things up and reach for much, much smaller goals.

I mentioned this slightly in the habits talk, for those that were here, to make change you need to attach a pleasure to a new behaviour and almost pain or unhappiness to an old behaviour. So, if you work really hard for a week, how are you going to feel if you do everything right, you eat on plan and you hit all your exercise goals and you drop two pounds, how would that make you feel? It would probably make you feel really good! You’ll be able to put a message on the Facebook group saying you have achieved your things. That then gives you the motivation to try harder next week, to do just as well, but again don’t get fixated on the number on the scales, it’s so much more than that. It’s how you’re feeling, how your energy is, how well you’re sleeping, what your skins like, have you got more energy? Focus or not just the number on the scales, look at everything else. Then look at how you could reward yourself at the end of the week if you achieved one of your goals. What can you do to reward yourself? Preferably a non-food related reward – going for a walk, meeting with friends, having a massage, buying some flowers. I have mentioned these non-food related things quite a lot, but I think it’s important to have non-food related goals as well as going to the pub and having a glass of wine. It’s not about being perfect 100% of the time.

So are you reducing stuff too much to make it not sustainable? Yes, the number on the scales means that for that four weeks that you work really hard you can do it, but actually can you sustain it? I find that people, if in this mentality of being really good, then lapsing, then being really good and lapsing, at the end of the year, quite often if you got it all up, they probably haven’t lost a huge amount of weight because the being really good hasn’t been quite as much as a the not being so good and their lapses. What I’d like to think about now is actually changing slightly how you’re thinking of stuff. Could you try really hard for one month, which is easier rather than six months of trying really hard. Try really hard for one month, lose some weight for just one month and then the month after relax slightly so that you maintain for a month. This is a bit novel, I know. So, you’re really good and you lose, then you maintain for the month after, so month three you go back to losing. That means at the end of the year you’ll actually have lost probably more than if you’d been right on it, then had a big lapse, then right on it and then a big lapse. It’s much better. At the end of the year you’ll actually be in much, much better state. It’s easy to be focused for a much shorter period of time, the results are just as good in the long term. So, you’re actively losing weight, then you’re maintaining and then you’re actively losing weight again. I think that is quite a nice way of looking at things and changing stuff up if you find the idea of being on a diet or something for a whole 9/10 months just too difficult and you’re finding it really hard. For that second month when you’re in the maintain, you allow yourself a little bit more. Hopefully still sticking to some of the same principles, so you’re having your three meals, you’re not snacking, but you might introduce a takeaway in that month, you might introduce the fact that a couple of nights of the week you give yourself a pudding, you might have a night of alcohol or a glass a couple of nights. You’re just allowing yourself to be a little bit less restrictive and then at the end of that month reign it back in again for a month and see if you can jolt the weight loss. I think that can sometimes work really well for people, makes it a little bit more healthier.


This is what I’m trying to talk about it, it’s not being a perfectionist. Are you getting the results still?


That’s answered your question, you’re still losing weight! Everyone will have a slightly different way of managing it, if this is working for you and you’re still getting a loss then absolutely! What you just need to make sure is that then doesn’t become whole weekend. That’s difficult but I think the reason diets, and I know this isn’t a diet, but the reason they fail is that they are too hard. Therefore, you’re going to have to relax slightly and I think that’s a really positive thing that you’re doing – relaxing slightly and managing it that way. Now some people find that too difficult, it depends on what you’re having but for some people, they have a treat, and it is particularly sugary or a chocolate one that then leads to craving sugar and some people can’t manage that too much, so it very much depends slightly on everyone else. But if you’re still getting the results that is absolutely fine!