The holidays are upon us, which means endless temptation in the form of cookies, pies, and booze. December is, perhaps, the most difficult month to maintain a healthy lifestyle. With parties, gatherings, and celebration, it is no surprise that many people fall off the wagon during the holidays, only to shamefully enter the New Year with a grand plan of stopping the failure once and for all.
The key to surviving the holidays, or any particularly difficult health-related situation for that matter, is the elimination of an “all-or-nothing” mentality. It is perfectly ok and understandable if you have a couple of cookies at Mom’s house on Christmas Day. Did you get a little carried away with the wine at your holiday work party? That’s ok too! These things happen because, well, we are human! With a simple switch in mindset and a clear definition of two key terms we can prevent the extra cookie from turning into a three-day binge!
A lapse is “a temporary failure of concentration, memory, or judgement.” A relapse is “a deterioration in someone’s state of health after a temporary improvement.” We need to start seeing our failure to maintain our healthy lifestyle as a lapse, not a relapse! Your decision to eat lasagna instead of steak and salad was a lapse, it was temporary and only limited to that one meal on that one day. It is not the marking of a failed nutrition plan nor is it an excuse to completely give up on all the hard work that you have been putting in.
Our greatest failures come when we let one bad decision roll into another. We think that since we ate the lasagna we might as well have an extra glass of wine. You ate poorly last night so you might as well get a bagel sandwich for breakfast right? And now that you already feel gross your going to take the day off from the gym. This is how easily a simple lapse can become a relapse, leaving your health goals behind and leading you down a slippery slope back to your old habits.
But you are stronger than that and, now, you have the right information to help you stay on track. Next time you eat something that is not aligned with your Nutrition Plan, forgive yourself and tell yourself that it is just a lapse. Hear the word, say it out loud if you need to. Do whatever you need to do to help yourself realize that this is a short-term, acceptable, and very common situation. It is not something that requires guilt, shame, or any other negative feelings. Use it as an opportunity to recognize how much progress you have been making and reaffirm why you want to stay on track in the first place!
How can changing your vocabulary to lapse and relapse help you? Let us know what you think! Leave a comment below!