We made it to the last few days of July! Did a particular topic resonate with you? Do you know someone who could benefit from the advice shared one the past several weeks? All the hard work can go to naught, if we don’t know how to prevent a relapse.
Relapse is a term usually referring to alcohol and drugs. However, it can be applied to any habit. Maybe you stuck to your diet for weeks, and then overindulged at an office birthday party. Maybe you went 10 years without a cigarette, and then bought a pack when you broke up with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Remember that your ultimate success in developing healthy habits is more important than any backsliding. Think of relapses as part of a process, rather than unpredictable events. If you pay attention to what you’re feeling and thinking, you may be able to avoid a setback.
Try these techniques:
- Deal with emotions. Your feelings may be the first sign that you’re headed for a fall. Accepting your anger and sadness will help you find new and more constructive ways of managing them.
- Build support. Surround yourself with family and friends who will encourage you and give you useful feedback. Let them know how they can help you. You might want to search for support groups in your community or participate in forums online.
- Know your triggers. You sometimes need to limit contact with old friends who engage in the habit you’re trying to break. Certain places or situations could also make you vulnerable to relapsing.
- Wait it out. What if you have an urge to go on a shopping spree or bite your nails? Try waiting 5 or 10 minutes to see if it passes. It’s a quick solution that often works.
- Seek moderation. Being too strict with yourself can backfire. A restrictive diet makes junk food look more tempting. Allowing yourself a low-calorie dessert like fruit could help you avoid binging on donuts and cheesecake.
- Focus on consequences. Before you take a step backwards, think through what will happen. Is wasting time on social media causing you trouble at work?
- Practice self-care. Protecting your physical and mental wellbeing is essential for reaching your goals. Eat sensible amounts of whole foods, exercise regularly, and make sleep a top priority.
Recovering From a Relapse
If it’s too late to prevent a relapse, you can still turn things around. Put your mistakes behind you and keep building on the progress you’ve already made. Some or all of these strategies will help you get back on track.
- Face the truth. It can be difficult to admit that you’ve relapsed. Be honest with yourself and take accountability for your decisions.
- Remember your purpose. It may help to think about your original reasons for making changes in your life. They may be so compelling that you’ll be ready to try again, or you may need to find another source of motivation.
- Forgive yourself. Be kind and compassionate toward yourself, especially while you’re struggling. Use your self-talk to boost your confidence. Let go of the past and concentrate on what you can do today.
- Break it down. Trying to make lifelong commitments may seem overwhelming. Pick a time frame that’s realistic for you. You might aim to sustain your new habits for a single day or even an hour at a time.
- Take action. Regain momentum by taking a positive step forward immediately. If you’re trying to stop overspending, leave your credit cards at home unless you’re planning to make a specific purchase. If you want to cut down on complaining, start a gratitude journal.
Think of relapses as a learning opportunity that helps you to find out more about yourself. Each time you temporarily lose a little ground, you gain more insight into what you need to do to make positive changes in your life.
Use these free worksheets to help you sty focused.
To Your Success,
If you’re trying to lose weight, you may want to stop eating in front of the TV at night. A recent study presented at the European and International Conference on Obesity adds to the growing evidence that when you eat can matter almost as much as what you eat.
Researchers found that the average adult consumes nearly 40% of their daily calories after 6 pm, and hunger typically peaks at about 8 pm. Unfortunately, that’s long after you’ve probably completed most of your usual physical activities. Late night meals and snacks also tend to involve less nutritious food choices. You’re more likely to open a bag of chips than to toss a green salad.
That means you’re likely to go to bed with elevated blood sugar, which leads to storing more calories as body fat and increasing your risk of diabetes. Plus, digesting heavy meals can disrupt your sleep, causing an increase in appetite hormones and more weight gain. Breaking the cycle will help you to eat healthier and slim down. Scary stuff!Try these suggestions for changing your eating schedule to one that supports your health.
How to Eat More of Your Calories Earlier in the Day
- Change your bedtime. Do you skip breakfast because you run out of time? Go to bed earlier so you can avoid the rush and wake up feeling refreshed.
- Drink water. You lose about one liter of water due to breathing and perspiring each night. Rehydrating will make you feel more alert and stimulate your appetite.
- Go outside. Morning light gives you energy too. Make breakfast more appealing by working out outdoors first and eating on your balcony.
- Choose delicious foods. If you think cereal and milk is boring, try less conventional options. Eat grilled fish or black bean soup for the first meal of the day.
- Make it convenient. A nutritious breakfast can be simple. Heat up leftovers from last night’s dinner. Prepare the ingredients for a smoothie the night before and store it in your refrigerator.
- Stop for lunch. You’ll be more productive if you leave your desk for lunch. Pack a balanced meal you can bring with you. Browse online to find nearby restaurants with healthy takeout menus.
- Carry snacks. Keep a cooler in your car filled with healthy treats. Put them in your desk drawer too. Smart choices include nuts, string cheese, high protein cereals, and cut vegetables.
How to Cut Back on Late Day Calories:
- Plan your menu. Decide what you’re going to eat in advance. That way you’ll be less likely to accidentally binge on pizza or a whole pint of ice cream.
- Cook at home. Making your own meals lets you control the ingredients. Restaurant fare usually has more fat, salt, and sugar. I can’t be the only one who needs. nap after eating Chinese
- Limit portions. Serve meals on individual plates instead of family style bowls that encourage additional helpings. Buy single-serving snacks or take out 2 cookies instead of bringing the whole bag into the TV room.
- Leave the table. Lingering around the dinner table may extend your eating time. Go to another room or clear away the dishes if you want to talk.
- Focus on protein. Your body uses protein more effectively if you spread it out throughout the day instead of eating most of it at dinner. For evening snacks, a little protein will help you to feel full and stabilize your blood sugar.
- Brush your teeth. Try to stop eating at least 2 hours before bed. Brushing your teeth may remind you that the kitchen is closed until morning.
Knowing when to eat can make losing weight and eating a nutritious diet easier. Enjoy a hearty breakfast and lunch and lighten up on dinner and evening snacks with these strategies.
To Your Success,
You know that distracted driving is dangerous, but what about eating when your thoughts are elsewhere? A new study explains why you’re likely to snack more while you’re watching TV. Intrigued? I was too!
Researchers at the University of Sussex studied the impact of perceptually demanding tasks like watching TV or playing video games. They found that subjects whose attention was engaged in another activity ate 45% more chips. This supports the theory that your brain has a limited supply of attention, so it focuses on what seems most important. As a result, you keep on eating because you miss the fullness cues that your body is trying to send you.
Read this before another bag of chips or cookies disappears while you’re binge-watching or talking on the phone. Paying closer attention to your eating will help you to maintain your weight and cut down on junk food.
How to Recognize When You’re Full
Feeling full depends on chemical changes in your body that take about 20 minutes for
your brain to register. That sated feeling is designed to last for several hours, but
many common habits can undermine the process. Keep the following in mind:
- Understand cravings. Distinguish between hunger and appetite. Physical
hunger builds up gradually and subsides after eating. Emotional appetite and
cravings come on suddenly and may be more persistent.
- Slow down. Sitting down and dining at a relaxed pace gives your brain a chance
to know you’re full. Chew thoroughly and savor each bite.
- Avoid crash diets. Cycles of fasting and splurging confuse your body. Find a
balanced regimen that you can stick with for the long term.
Other Tips for Non-Distracted Eating
Recognizing fullness cues will help you to make healthier food choices. Take a look at some additional strategies for paying more attention to what you’reeating:
- Plan ahead. Creating daily or weekly menus may help. Use an online calculator
to figure out how many calories you need, so you can stay in the middle ground
between ravenous hunger and a post-Thanksgiving-style food coma.
- Focus on fiber. Unprocessed foods rich in fiber enhance your overall health
and satisfy you with fewer calories. Fill up on vegetables, fruits, and whole
grains. High protein foods have a similar effect, so include them in each meal
and snack instead of waiting for dinner.
- Drink water. It’s easy to confuse thirst with hunger. Have a glass before and
during meals and anytime a craving pops up. Once your stomach feels full, it will
be easier to resist temptation.
- Shop wisely. Speaking of temptation, keep junk food out of the house. Use a
shopping list when you buy groceries. Stick to the outer aisles where you’re less
likely to run into snack cakes and crackers
- Manage stress. Create a soothing environment, especially during mealtimes.
Talk about pleasant subjects or play soft music
- Work out. Physical activity helps you listen to your body and regulate hunger. It
also burns extra calories. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic
exercise each week. I remain fuller longer, when I use a pre workout before hitting the gym.
- Try again. Changing your eating habits takes practice. Be patient if you slip up.
You’ll recover faster if you stay calm and learn from the experience.
- Talk with your doctor. Your diet plays a major role in your physical and mental
health. If you have trouble managing your hunger or other concerns about your
eating habits, discuss them with your doctor or a registered dietician
- Paying attention . Your food and how much you’re eating can transform your
relationship with food and protect your health. Put the screens away during
mealtimes and pay attention to what’s on your plate. You’ll learn to listen to your
body and enjoy your food more.
How helpful are these tips to fight distraction eating? I have slowly been incorporating them into my own lifestyle. It’s slow, but I am moving faster than those not doing anything. As usual, this advise is not a one size fits all, always consult with your medical and mental health providers for support.
To Your Success,