You’ve been watching your weight, exercising regularly, and paying attention to your eating habits and food choices. Your combined efforts are paying off — you’re meeting your weight- lossicon goals. But then it happens — something or someone — distracts you from your goals. Your weight loss is sabotaged, and the pounds begin to add up again. What do you do? Give up? Resign yourself to being heavier than you’d like? Neither. You can learn how to combat “diet” relapse and take charge of your weight.

Know the “Enemy”

Before you effectively deal with “diet” relapse, it helps to know the situations that are most likely to make you lose sight of your weight loss goals — a stressful situation, a special celebration, an in-law’s visitation? Perhaps it’s just an unavoidable temptation — your hostels’ prize cheesecake, your mother’s Sunday feast, your daughter’s Girl Scout cookies. Whatever it is, knowing the “enemy” is the first step to winning the battle — and the war.

Prepare an Action Plan

Once you know your personal weight-loss saboteurs, you can prepare to deal with them before they undermine your goals. It can help to actually rehearse how you’ll handle these situations when they arise. Stand in front of a mirror and act out the script with the ending you choose. “If I start feeling too tense, I’ll count to ten and take five deep breaths instead of grabbing something to eat.” “I’ll fill up on fresh vegetables at home before I go to the party so I won’t be hungry and tempted to eat when I get there.” “Thank you, Janice, the cheesecake looks wonderful as usual, but I’ll have to take a rain check this time.” “Mother, dinner was great, but I’m so full I can’t take another bite.”

Remember, the nature of temptations is that they are hard to resist — hard, but not impossible. By developing personal strategies to deal with difficult situations and alluring temptations, you can sabotage your saboteurs.

Retreat — Not Defeat

Sometimes temptations can be so great that even a well-thought-out action plan fails to curb your impulse to give in. When that happens, retreat! If you can’t remove the temptation itself, remove yourself. If you must buy the Girl Scout cookies, donate them to a local food bank, or make a donation to the Girl Scouts and forget the cookies. Leave the buffet if it’s too hard to resist, and take a brisk walk. Get up from the dinner table and offer to clear dishes (instead of the dessert plate). If you can’t pass the bakery without stopping for a pastry, don’t pass the bakery — take another route! These are just a few suggestions — why not to try to develop some of your own? You’re doing something good for yourself when you decide to control your weight, so make your weight lossicon plan as easy on yourself as possible.

Winning the War

You can still win the war against diet relapse even when you do give in to a momentary temptation. Just remember that going off your weight control plan temporarily is not the end of the world! As the saying goes “To err is human, to forgive is divine,” so forgive yourself if you have a relapse. Then, just pick up where you left off and give yourself a fresh start— you’re worth it!

Combat diet relapse by discovering your personal weight loss saboteurs.

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