Many people embark on weight loss efforts full of enthusiasm and hope for their new regime, and then lose heart when life gets in the way. My advice is different. Embrace the odd slip or two. Actively expect it. Any change in life is usually a process of two steps forward and one step back. In addictions recovery, these backward steps are known as ‘lapses’ — the times when the old, familiar ways of being are the default action we opt for. Sometimes this can be very unconscious (for example your colleague offers you a biscuit with your tea and you take one simply because that is what you have always done).

It is important to be able to distinguish between a lapse, a relapse, and a collapse.

A lapse is one singular event in which you deviate from your desired goal. An example of a lapse is having a bad day at work or an argument with your partner. You reach for your usual comfort food — crisps or chocolate perhaps, and afterwards, or even while you are still eating, you think, “Why am I doing this?” That is an example of a lapse. Yes, you have made an unhealthy choice; however, you can limit it to just one bad decision, get back on track, and continue.

A relapse is a whole sequence of lapses strung together. Many people have a very polarised view of success and failure. They are either totally on the plan or totally off it. One lapse becomes, “I have messed up once so I might as well give up for today.”

Then one written off day can easily become two, until before you know it you are back to where you started. This is a ‘collapse’.

The important part is to keep perspective and pay attention to your behaviours over the course of the week, not just focussing on a single day in isolation. Remember that the weight has taken a long time to become part of you, so it is likely to take time to be free of it.

If you are interested in learning more about how to gain greater control over your eating, mindset, and the way it affects your life and health, then get your copy of my Positive Diabetes Home Study System. This easy to use guide gives you everything you need to immediately get more control over your diabetes, with a focus on helping you to implement new habits, build momentum and create lasting change to produce the results you want. Life is too short to keep struggling on your own. I know, I’ve been there — I’d love to help you too.

You may use this article on your website, or for your own e-zine; however, there’s one thing you MUST include: Dr. Jen Nash is a Clinical Psychologist registered with the British Psychological Society. Dr. Jen helps her clients find solutions with simple and highly-effective psychological strategies to gain freedom from the frustration and stress of living with diabetes. To sign up for her free Diabetes Diary, visit