Preventing Lapse, Relapse, and Collapse
Everyone has a lapse from time to time. What matters is how you respond
Keeping off the weight you lose may be the greatest challenge you will face. It’s hard enough to lose weight, but keeping it off can be really tough. Most people who are overweight have lost and regained weight many times. To keep weight off, you need to break this cycle. You must learn how to keep slips from occurring. But you also need to act constructively if you do slip up. Everyone has lapses sometimes where they revert to old eating habits; the key is to keep these lapses from becoming relapses. To succeed, you need to try and avoid slips when you can. But just as important, you need to learn coping techniques that put you in control when you do slip up.
Distinguishing lapse, relapse, and collapse
There are a number of words you can use for the times you might deviate from your program: mistake, lapse, slip, error, etc. Relapse implies something different. Collapse is yet another matter. We talk about these terms because the words we use can be important.
When it comes to recovering alcoholics, some people think one slip or lapse is a relapse. Some think this about people who stop smoking, too: they think just one single cigarette is the first step on an inevitable path to relapse. However, there is abundant evidence that this is not true.
Many recovering alcoholics have had at least one drink since their reformation, and it is a rare ex-smoker who has not had a cigarette. Yet, they keep their lapses from leading to a relapse. The same is true for overweight individuals.
Don't let a simple lapse slip you up
A lapse is a single error or slip. It is one event, like eating a forbidden food or skipping your physical activity for the day. Relapse is when lapses string together and you return to your former state. When relapse leads to a habit that you have little hope of reversing, that is collapse.
The message here is that a lapse does not always lead to relapse.
A lapse can be an unfortunate but temporary problem. If you can view it for what it is, you can be prepared to respond positively to setbacks. Talking your way through a slip can help you keep a lapse from turning into a relapse. Alert your healthcare provider if lapses happen to obtain his or her input on how to manage them best.