Monday, September 21, 2009

Recidivism Continuied

Journal Entry: Weight = 172.8; Coinage = $.44, 14 pennies, 4 nickels, 1 dime; Glass bottel retrievals = 3; Ground scores = 1; Best coinage find = a shiny dime on the "neutral ground" in front of my house as the walk ended. Yet another man's shirt was successfully recycled.

Feature Entry: The MoneyWalker’s last blog ended with this question, “Is the MoneyWalker heading back to 180 lbs, if not higher?” Is he in the full thralls of weight loss recidivism? As readers will recall, his weight losing trek began with an unacceptable weight of 180 lbs reached over a year ago. By utilizing the MoneyWalker’s four principles of weight loss/weight maintenance, he had lowered that poundage to 169.8, just 1.8 lbs from his body mass index goal of 168. But having moved into the 160s was too much for him and he slipped right back up to yesterday’s weight of 174.

First, the answers to both questions is no. He is not heading to 180 and he is not experiencing weight loss recidivism. But he has experienced what Barry Gumbine in his book Obesity calls a lapse. A lapse is a short term slip away from healthy eating and healthy activity. Gumbine placed a lapse in the middle of a four point continuum of behavior:

(a) Healthy eating/activity >> (b) Slip/lapse >> (c) Relapse >> (d) Collapse

A relapse occurs when all weight loss created by a regiment of healthy eating and physical activity is regained. The final stage is collapse and suggests that all attempts of healthy eating and activity have been discontinued and even more weight is gained away from the initial baseline.

Knowing how to successfully deal with a lapse is an important strategy for losing and maintaining weight loss. Having reached a sub-goal, people watching their weight are vulnerable to weight-control lapses that left unchecked will lead to full blown recidivism. Psychologically, the walker must overcome the temptation of taking food rewards. It is easy to rationalize food binges after successfully reaching a major weight loss goal or sub goal.

Later the MoneyWalker will talk about cognitive counseling theory and how to use psychological cueing and “self talk” to avoid allowing a lapse to become a relapse or recidivism. Understand that as social animals we will be confronted with numerous overeating episodes that can lead to lapses and relapses. What follows are a two tips to avoid serious lapses.

1) Identify and avoid high risk situations if possible.
2) If not possible, plan ahead about how you will avoid over eating.

In my case, I plan in advance to take small portions of only the food that has eye appeal. If it is a stand up affair with hor d’oures, I keep one hand occupied with a beverage. It is very difficult to eat holding a beverage glass. After the event, I go back to the basics: weigh every day, eat a healthy breakfast, take a motivated 75 minute walk, and consciously practice portion control at the next several meals.


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