I need to tell you a story of what a lapse looks like in real life…

How this played out is something we can all learn from.

We all know how easy it is to slip off track.

It happens to all of us.

There something weird in the human psyche that allows us to slip up—even when we know full-well it’s wrong…and even harmful to our health.

In my experience, there a few major categories of Lapses.

They are:

  • An exceptionally stressful period
  • A dramatic change in schedule
  • A poor support system around you
  • An injury or other physical setback
  • A major (sometimes unexpected) job or personal life change
  • A period of complacency or boredom

Of course, there are other causes, but they generally fall into one of these categories…

I’ve been writing and speaking about my friend Tony who is on a weight loss journey and has been having extraordinary success.

He started out at a peak weight of 310 pounds at less than six feet tall.

When we started working together, we set a mid-range goal of 250 pounds body weight by Christmas.

We put a plan in place.

  • We figured out his food triggers
  • Pinpointed the time of day when he struggled most
  • Made slow and steady changes to his activity levels
  • Removed the worst food(s) from his diet

With a solid plan in place, Tony’s numbers started to change significantly.

His blood sugars went from a deadly 350-400+ range down to under 100

His A1C figure slowly dropped out of the “diabetic” range

His body weight started dropping at a clip of 3-4 pounds per week…this varied from week to week, but trended downward steadily.

He sent me a picture of his daily readings like clockwork.

He was dialed in!

As December neared, Tony was under 260 pounds and it became clear his would easily achieve his goal.

And then something happened…

Like a lot of my clients, Tony has a very demanding job.  He has an upper management role in a very large company south of Boston.

He departed of a whirlwind trip that required him to hit multiple cities, non-stop for days on end.

All of sudden, the daily photos stopped…

And for the first time since we had started working together, I didn’t receive a “check in” text from him for several days.

I knew something was wrong…

Sure enough, when we finally got on the phone, he “confessed” to a major backslide.

Even though he was a regular traveler and had a solid routine down, this trip was just too much of a stressor.

In fact, this occasion checked off at least three of the categories I listed above!

Too much stress…

A major schedule change…

A lack of a personal support system by his side…

And he admitted to something else…

He was so sure he was going to hit his goal be Christmas, he slipped into complacency mode. 

This is a VERY dangerous place to be!

He “allowed” himself to eat foods he hadn’t touched in months.  As a result, his bodyweight shot up by 5 pounds in a very short period of time…

I could sense the goal we had set may be in danger.

We broke things down.  We effectively halted the complacency mindset in its tracks and regrouped.

His “lapse” had lasted nearly a week…but since we were able to recognize the source of the problem and put a viable plan back in place and get him back into his healthy routine, the lapse was halted.

This was proof of something most wellness coaches are aware of:

“It’s not the lapse that matters.  They are going to happen.   It’s the LENGTH of the lapse that matters.”

Tony had this to say in a recent text, “…in the past, that would have been the end of me.  I feel good about pulling myself back on track…traveling under high stress was definitely the trigger.”

It’s all too easy to throw our hands in the air and declare ourselves failures when lapses happen.

Accountability is crucial at these crossroads.

And at the end of the day, that’s what helped Tony get back on track so quickly.  He knew he was accountable to someone.

There was no hiding.

The result?

  • His morning blood sugar is back under 100
  • His body weight is back down to within 1 pound of his goal.

(Phew…that was a close one.)

I hope you or someone you know can apply the lessons from Tony’s story:

  • A lapse does not mean total failure
  • Having an accountability plan in place matters
  • Anyone can get back on track

Enjoy the week everyone…And always have a plan in place…just in case.