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As I reluctantly admitted last year, after my mother died, while I was reeling from grief, despair, PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome), and more, I had a carb relapse that went on for some 10 months, and I packed on 21 pounds.
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For the past two-plus years — after I Bounced Back After Relapse — I’ve thought long and hard about how and why people relapse.
Now, I’m determined to show you how not to blow your diet as I did when trauma, abuse, gut-wrenching grief and emotional devastation over loss or betrayal strike.
Since people often want to know, “How do you bounce back after a relapse?” — as someone just asked me today — I’ve assembled pointers to help you get you back on track.
Here are 10 Ways to Bounce Back After You Blow Your Diet.
1. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself.
If you slip on your diet, this is not the time to berate or belittle yourself. Instead, use your relapse as a reason to lavish yourself with kindness, understanding and sympathy. The research is mounting on the benefits of giving yourself compassion. (More about that in a future post.)
2. Accept that you’re human — and therefore imperfect.
People with food issues often expect themselves to do everything perfectly, especially “dieting,” as I’ve discovered from coaching many people. Ironically, the word, “diet” even has “die” in it.
Of course, it’s impossible to be perfect, of course. Expecting yourself to eat “right” all the time sets you up for failure. So give yourself a break.
Since you’ve had a relapse, use this as an opportunity to claim your humanity. That means accepting — and even embracing — your imperfections. Plus, you want to forgive yourself. Doing these things can be quite freeing.
3. Consider this a great time to start over.
Instead of seeing your diet relapse as a disaster, regard it as an opportunity to start over. A so-called “mistake” such as this could be just the catalyst you need to reinvigorate you.
After all, aren’t you especially motivated when you begin a project? Besides, your determination can kick into high drive especially if you want to avoid or manage your low blood sugar, type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease or another illness.
4. See your slip as a Life Lesson.
In the wake of a relapse with French fries, popcorn, onion rings or other quickie carbs, sugar or other junk foods, you can use your slip as a wake-up call. Often, people begin to succeed — as I did back in 1998 and again in 2012 after my big relapse — when they’re so fed up with their self-destructive ways that they’re ready to fully commit to kicking their self-abusive habit.
5. Study your body’s reaction.
There’s nothing like a harsh dose of reality to make you realize that eating junk food doesn’t only add inches to your hips. Study yourself dispassionately like a lab rat to discover what damage you caused by your diet relapse. Ask yourself the following questions:
Am I more tired than normal?
Am I excessively moody?
Am I finding it tough to concentrate?
Am I having brain fog?
Do I have a headache?
Am I having a tough time sleeping?
Am I depressed for no good reason?
How else am I NOT my best me?
6. Record the results of your binge for at least 4 days.
Rather than beat up on yourself for blowing your diet, take notes on how bad you feel after your sugar or carb spree. Keep a journal for at least four days.
Make sure to document the emotional, physical and spiritual ramifications of your relapse. Write about your problems with over-reactivity, anger, brain fog, depression, irritability, nervousness, aches, pains, outbursts at your kids and fights with your honey..
When you carefully monitor your reactions, you’ll easily remember these awful repercussions so that the next time you’re tempted to succumb to donuts, candies, chips or other nutrient-poor foods, you’ll probably pause and then muster up the ability to say no to that junk food.
7. Reaffirm and recommit to your ‘Whys” and ‘Whats.”
Immediately after your binge or slip — however minor — realign your thoughts. Think about why you want to quit sugar or refined carbs in the first place.
Is your doctor telling you to clean up your eating, as mine did years ago, because if you don’t, you’re headed toward type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease or another potentially fatal illness?
What health benefits will you gain from eating better and cutting out sugar or fast carbs?
How will your life change on other fronts if you’re eating well?
Review your list again and again. You’ll find — as I have at two major points in my life — that your strong Whys-and-Whats lists will help you to break free from your carb or sugar addiction for good.
8. See yourself free.
Speaking of free, now envision that you’re liberated. Woo-Hoo! See how exhilarated you’ll feel by saying no to junk food. Keep watching your delicious success as if you’re catching your favorite TV show.
Do it now. It’s fun and freeing! See yourself back on the healthy-eating track. You’re succeeding and your addiction is lying back there in the dust! Yes!
9. Create a Power Phrase or mantra.
Now, verbally proclaim your success, too. You don’t have to say it in public, but you can quietly or inwardly affirm: “I choose and eat only healthy, nourishing foods and drinks, that peel off my extra weight, give me energy, and make me happy. I am free.”
Or create your own Power Phrase. Share your ideas here for what Power Phrase works for you.
Repeat your Power Phrase over and over — preferably while looking in the mirror.
As you probably know, visualizing success is a powerful Law of Attraction tool that’s discussed in the bestselling film and book, The Secret.
10. Reframe Your Relapse as a Spiritual Springboard.
Now that you’re getting back on track with your food, you’ll have a better perspective on your relapse. Most people I’ve coached have discovered that falling so low has infused them with a new-found spirituality, and feeling of joy and inner peace. They’re more determined to treat their bodies with respect and reverence, because after all, we’re spiritual beings. The same can happen to you, too.
I hope that this post, “Did You Have a Relapse? 10 Ways to Bounce Back After you Blow Your Diet” will help you get back on track.
Have you had a relapse? What worked best for you? Share your challenges or successes here, on this Sugar Shock Blog, or on Facebook.
And remember that eating healthy foods and drinking nourishing beverages help you to enjoy a life full of good health, joy, and peace of mind.
As you struggle to get back on your feet, kick your soda habit or get more sleep, remind yourself that life is much sweeter without all those refined sweets and other unhealthy habits.
Connie Bennett, MSJ, CHHC, CPC, ACC is author of SUGAR SHOCK! (Berkley Books) and Beyond Sugar Shock (Hay House), and Crush Your Crazy Cravings™ (upcoming). Connie is a The Sweet Freedom Guide, the Crazy-Cravings Crusher, a motivating speaker, and host of the Gab With the Gurus Radio Show. Connie has appeared on numerous media outlets such as “CBS News Sunday Morning,” “Oprah & Friends Radio,” and “The Howard Stern Show,” and she has contributed to many publications and websites such as The Chicago Tribune, ediets.com, and the Huffington Post. Connie is certified health coach, a certified life coach, a journalist and columnist.
Connie’s sour-to-sweet story began in 1998, when she quit sugar and refined carbs on doctor’s orders, and her 44 baffling ailments vanished, including horrible headaches, crippling fatigue and brain fog. Now, Connie pokes fun of her not-so-sweet past by jokingly dubbing herself an “Ex-Sugar Shrew!.” She has helped thousands of people worldwide break free of their sugar or carb addiction and from the depressing, debilitating aftershocks of overloading on sugar and culprit carbs.
© Copyright 2015. Connie Bennett, Sugar Shock Blog.
You are welcome to reprint this story if you use the above credits and this additional information: This post, “Did You Have a Relapse? 10 Ways to Bounce Back After You Blow Your Diet” by Connie Bennett, CHHC, ACC, CPC, was originally published on the Sugar Shock Blog. Please make sure to notify us that you’ve used this.