25 June 2019Sick of Relapsing? Here are 4 Tips to Help You Keep the Weight Off For Good!

Tip # 1: Pay attention to your thinking

A relapse happens gradually over a series of meals, or missed workouts, vacations, etc. The goal is to recognize the early warning signs of a relapse which begin with a change in thinking about behaviors or habits. Can you relate to any of these thought distortions?

  • "I should be able to go on vacation and eat whatever I want."
  • "It's not fair that my partner can eat anything they crave and not gain weight."
  • "I blew it today at lunch AND dinner, now I am totally off track. I don't have what it takes to stick with this new eating plan."

Critical self attacks serve a function. They help us feel safe and comfortable. They shelter us from disappointment. Yet they also prevent us from finding creative ways to manage high risk events, make changes in our behavior, and learn from our mistakes.

Find ways to challenge your inner critic. Consider reading a book on improving self-esteem or meet with a friend or counselor to discuss ways to reframe negative thinking or check out this blog post on self-talk.

Tip #2: Are you focusing too much on other people's problems?

Focusing too much on other peoples' problems leaves little time and energy to focus on yourself. Successful weight management requires continual effort and energy. No one can do the work for you. If you are losing sleep, skipping workouts or missing meals because you are focused on other people, you are setting the stage for a possible relapse. Good self care involves taking time out for yourself to do things you enjoy, get enough sleep, fit in physical activity and generally take care of YOU!

Tip #3: Employ positive coping techniques when under stress

The way a person responds to a stressful situation impacts the likelihood they will relapse. For example, positive self talk or simple avoidance of a high risk situation are both examples of constructive ways to handle a difficult situation. In addition, the greater the frequency of using positive coping strategies will increase self confidence. This then decreases the chance of a future relapse.

Tip #4: The scale is not a mirror. It is a tool

Stepping on the scale on a regular basis helps check your progress. Individuals who have been successful in losing weight and keeping it off (learn more at the National Weight Control Registry) were honest with themselves when it came to the scale. They determined an individual red flag weight. Essentially a red flag weight is a weight that is 3-5 pounds above goal. If they noticed they had gotten up to this red flag weight, it was a signal that they needed to get back on track immediately to prevent further weight regain. Using the scale to catch a lapse before it becomes a relapse can be critical to long term success.

In Conclusion

Occasional lapses are a normal part of managing weight. If you are experiencing a lapse, start by taking a deep breath and working to get back on track as soon as you can. Your future self will thank you!



Joanna is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator with a passion for supporting individuals as they move towards a healthier lifestyle.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.


Weight Loss/Behavior Weight Loss/Goals & Monitoring Weight Loss/Plateau (Weight Stall)

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