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A Cheat is Snowballing Out of Control. What to Do?

Posted Jan 10 2010 2:00am

by Maria's Last Diet

Here are some strategies to use when you lapse, slip, cheat, or fall off while dieting. Whatever you like to call it, here are valuable strategies from Relapse Prevention by G. Alan Marlatt and Dennis M. Donovan.

Stop, Look, and Listen
First you need to stop whatever you are doing to look, listen and try to understand what is happening. Use the cheat as a warning signal. It says you are in danger. So just take a time out and see what emergency measures you can take.

Stay Calm
You'll probably immediately feel guilty and self-blaming for a dieting transgression. That's OK—but then let it go. Consider it a mistake from which you will recover, and then proceed on your way to your goal.

Renew Your Commitment
A lapse has the potential to crush your weight-loss motivation. You think things like "it's no use". You get hopeless.

So…set up an inner conversation between the side of you that wants to give up and chuck dieting altogether, and the side of you that wants to keep going. Remember: a single slip does not cancel out all your progress to date. Neither do two slips—or even more.

Think About What Led Up To The Slip
Quit blaming yourself as soon as you possibly can. Look at this slip as a specific, circumscribed event. Find out what things led up to it. Was it some kind of high-risk situation? Where were you? Who was there with you? How were you feeling? Why were you feeling this way?

Here's the idea: a slip tells you something is going wrong that you need to pay attention to and fix. Then imagine the whole scene turning out differently. This time, see yourself coping with the situation more effectively.

Make An Immediate Plan For Recovery From the Lapse
Right away, get rid of anything that added to your lapse—for example, any tempting food. Or get away from the situation altogether if you can. Leave physically if possible. Leave psychologically, at least for a few moments, to recover. Take some deep breaths. Relax. Try to clear your mind. Think of an alternative that will make you feel better. Do something that's good for yourself.

Ask For Help
If you are with people, ask for their advice to help you cope. If you are alone, you could call a friend or family member who might give you the support and assistance you need.

These are six powerful steps to take after falling off your diet. They give you the power to change what happens next. If you're used to falling into total eating chaos after a dieting slip, now you can repair the damage and continue dieting just the way you want to.

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