Coping with a Lapse

Step 1: Stop

A lapse is a signal of impending danger, like a train signal at the crossing gates. Stop what you are doing especially if the lapse has started and examine the situation. What is occurring? Why is a lapse in progress? Consider moving yourself to a safe location where you won’t be tempted and where you can think in a rational manner.

Step 2: Stay Calm

If you get anxious or blame yourself for the lapse, the situation may get worse. You may conclude that you are a hopeless binge eater and that control is impossible. Coming to these conclusions is easy when you get all worked up. Try to separate yourself from the situation and view it as an objective observer would – that one lapse does not prove failure. Keeping a cool head makes the following steps easier.

Step 3: Renew your Diet Vows

Take a minute to remind yourself how far you have come, the progress you have made, and how sad it would be if one lapse cancelled out all of your hard work. Restate your program goals and renew the vows that you made when dieting began.

Step 4: Analyze the Situation

Instead of blaming yourself for letting go, use the situations to learn what places you at risk. Do certain feelings create the risk or being in the presence of food, other eating,  or other activities etc.? Did you do anything to defend against the urge? Did it work? Why or why not? What thoughts did you have?

Step 5: Take Charge Immediately

Leap into action. Leave the house, put the remaining food down the  garburator, or do whatever works for you. Don’t wait, be decisive. Waiting is an excuse for letting go even more. Jump on that lapse like a dog on a bone! Remember that it is usually easier to get control if you leave the situation.

Step 6: Ask for Help

Partners, friends, co-workers, and others can be a real source of support. If you could really use support during lapses, don’t be shy about asking for help.

Key Words: I need help. Do you want to help me?


Step 1: Write: STOP and your location:

Step 2: Write: I will remain calm; I have the right to cheat but not to quit.

Step 3: Write: your goals and benefits. Don’t forget your mental sequence.

Step 4: Write the reasons why it happened.

Step 5: Write your new activity and take charge immediately.

Step 6: Write the names of those you need support from and ask for help as soon as possible.

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