Question: What is the key to preventing relapse and a return to my heavier weight?
Answer: Relapse is a big problem, because almost no diet is without setbacks. The question is, how do you keep a lapse or a setback or a mistake from becoming a full-blown relapse? And this is where the experts have done a lot of research and a great deal of information that can be helpful to people.
Number one, is you want to set realistic goals when you begin a diet program to begin with. So, expecting to lose weight every single week is an unrealistic goal. Expecting yourself to have setbacks is much more realistic.
Second, there will be times when you'll goof up--every human does. So, if you're at a buffet or a wedding or something like this, and you let loose and overeat, it's pretty human to do this kind of thing, and you just don't want to make it into a catastrophe by thinking you're a failure and giving up entirely.
You can't do that much damage in, say, a single day of going off a diet. And let's say a person really goes crazy and eats 5000 calories in a day, that's about a pound and a half of weight, and that just means it will take you longer to get to your ultimate goal, but it's certainly not the end of the world.
But very often, what might look to an outsider as a small slip or mistake, to the individual has enormous importance and it triggers this feeling of desperation and this thought that I can never do this, I'm hopeless and I'm just going to give up.
That's when a lapse turns into relapse.
So, preventing that means realistic goals in the first place, forgiving yourself when you make mistakes and lastly, and perhaps most important, is having a very specific plan in mind of what you're going to do if you slip.
This plan could even be written down on paper, that if I slip, the next day I'm going to do these four things.
And if you have a plan and then you execute that plan, you can get back on the track, and you might have taken a little detour, but it's not the end of the world.