Recovery Vs. Relapse

Each patient encounter reminds me of the incredible work I do every day. This story, I believe will really resonate with many of you who struggle between losing and gaining.

I recently met with someone who has been coming to the office for years. She had not been seen for some time and had regained. She described to me in great detail all the things that had happened to cause the weight gain. She could identify the behaviors, (not tracking, not exercising, emotional overeating/stress eating and going back to the same comfort and trigger foods).

Before she left, she said to me “If I could focus on my recovery the way I focus on my relapse then I would be able to feel better again and lose the weight”. I thought this was brilliant insight and it made me wonder about the 100’s of other stories I hear.

Patients can become very attached to the behaviors that lead to relapse. For some this is more wine at night, more comfort foods, less activity. This leads to avoidance of all the recovery behaviors. The relapse behaviors are more comforting and feel like an old friend you have invited back into your home again. On some level whether conscious or unconscious they are safe and provide some purpose.

So, how do you shift the dynamic of time and effort spent in relapse to recovery?

If you feel as if you are relapsing, try to take a look at what your behaviors are during this time. What was the trigger that precipitated these behaviors? How do these behaviors serve you and how do you get back to the mindset of recovery?  What was recovery for you before?  Was it coming to the office, tracking, moving, prepping, paying attention to yourself and your stressors?

You are not your relapse. This is only a stepping stone on the journey to peace with food. The tools are there for you to get back on track. Shift the focus back on self-care and self-kindness.