HOW DO I GET BACK ON TRACK AFTER A LAPSE?
A lot of what we did in my ‘overcoming to the urge to overeat’ video is excellent for using throughout; the cognitive defusion, the breathing and Zen exercise would be great for when you’re attempting to come back from a lapse or relapse and, hopefully, never from a collapse.
What is a lapse? A lapse is a single violation, a single slip of the past and then you can get yourself back on. It’s the sort of “oh one won’t hurt” and “oh well I’m fat anyway, so what does it matter?”, “I can’t stop at one piece of cake”. It’s all of these things that we tell ourselves.
Then we have the relapse and that’s when two of these violations are strung together, so the lapse would be when you have a night where you will perhaps eat or drink too much but then a relapse is when you keep it going and they’re strung together.
Then we get to the total collapse where everything goes… the breakdown, the whole belief system and the rule system. We then go on that slippery slope and all restraint behaviour is abandoned altogether until we start back on it again.
The psychology of relapse… Basically it’s what consumes your mind, controls your life, it’s the chain of behaviours. So, for example, ‘I’ve had a bad day, I’ve had a bad day may promote a craving, so I buy chocolates on the way home. I go into the house and I eat it very quickly before anybody sees me and then I feel bad and I feel disgusted.’ Now these are the thoughts that we need to get ourselves out from, we need to be able to come back from.
Lapse anatomy is when we identify from our food records our behaviours. An example would be: How did those biscuits get into the house? What did I do in order to then make that happen? What did I eat and how much? Where and when? What was happening before? What triggered it? What was going on for me that I went against my thought processes and went into that lapse anatomy?
What we don’t tell ourselves… we don’t tell ourselves “this is hopeless, I’m too tired to keep going up, I’ve blown it, I’ll start again tomorrow, that’s it I give up, I’ll never be able to do this, this is impossible”. Words like that would ensure that you don’t get yourself back on track.
We need to identify our hot thoughts. Identify them – “I’m a fat cow”, “I’m fat”, “my thighs are disgusting”, “everybody will think I am fat”. Actually, no they won’t. They’re probably more likely to be thinking about when we are coming out to lockdown, will I have my job, all those other things that will occupy people’s minds. Wishful thinking… “if only I could lose 10lbs”. “Losing” drop the word “losing”…
… we’re gaining health! We are gaining health… so change your mindset, stop us living in the prison of our mind. If we are overweight, we reframe – “I am gaining health”. ‘Losing weight’ either way is lose-lose. We are gaining health… we are gaining health.
Food records. Keep food records. On every page write: ‘food is medicine, food is fuel’, ‘food is medicine, food is fuel’. If we have a lapse, you put on your diary LE – Learning Event. It is a learning event, you need to work out what happened before and what happened after. What caused the break in your behaviour? What was going on?
How to prevent lapses. You will need to relax the rules please keep out to the tyranny of the bullying language, the should, the must, the ought to’s, the finger pointing, the should, the must, the ought to’s, I mustn’t, I will never do this. Recognise how you set yourself up. What do you know? For example, “I won’t eat all day and then I can have a dessert when I go out for dinner tonight”. No… everybody here, you cannot afford to be hungry. Hunger is our enemy, that is what sets us up for binges. That’s what makes us overeat.
We look at lapse management. Prevention… prevention is about having long term and short-term solutions to avoid the high-risk situations, the cravings and the impulsions to miss meals. We cannot miss meals. Change the lapse ritual. Change of strategy. We need to change the DVD. Eating with another hand, standing on 1 foot, only shopping after you’ve eaten. and remember to stand back and go “that’s interesting”, rather than following on the behaviour that will make you breakaway from attempting and doing and getting yourself into health.
Stop, look and listen. Get out of the trance and disassociate from the cravings. Examine the cravings… Where is it? Is it in your throat? Is it in your mouth? Where is it? Do remember emotional hunger is from the neck up, always from the neck up. What happened before the cravings started? Go slowly through the preceding events. Does something bother you? Was there something that you needed to say? Has something dented your sense of commitment? Of doing? Of being? And remember delay, distract and then decide. The three D’s.
Have a cravings card, keep it with you. Check with you: Am I hungry? Is my blood sugar low? Did I eat or drink something that triggered this? Would something else help me at this time? What else might I want? What else might I need? Is there a feeling I’m not allowing myself to feel? What am I not saying? Check in with yourself. Always check in with yourself. The more you do this, the more you really get an expert in your own eating behaviour.
Strategies for resisting cravings. Remember in the resisting the urge to overeat video… calm down, work out a clear picture of what you will see, what you will feel and what will be there in a picture in the near future if you resist the craving. Get help and be specific, be clear about what you want. You might say to your loved one, “can we go for a walk after supper” or “just for the moment, can you do me a great favour and don’t bring cakes home to me”.
This is a great exercise to do, it’s called and/and. It’s scrambling the DVD, that’s what it does. So, you basically have a piece of cake and you eat something healthy. Then what happens is something overrides as you go along and then you find yourself, once practised, going for the healthy option.
Check in with yourself. Remember the word halt. Halt. Stop. HALT. The H is for hunger, the A is for angry, the L is for lonely and the T is for tired. So, am I hungry? Am I angry? Am I lonely? Or am I tired? Check in on all of those things before you respond to the urge to eat.
So what works? We know what works… in fact if you go back to my top tips (First Steps) that are on the site and go through them methodically – looking at triggers, problem solving, planning your meal, reinforcement. All of those things that we need to keep on going. All of that planning, that is what makes the impossible, what seems like the impossible, very possible.
Positive thoughts – “I can”, “I will” and “I am doing it”. “I feel great”.
Think positively and when you do that the best is yet to come. Thank you very much. I hope you enjoy this and remember stand back, stand back. Thank you.