Relapse….how did we get here..

Imagine the Imaginable


Relapse ……So how did we get here.

The meaning of Relapse is (A backwards step or worsening condition-a setback)

Relating this to a health issue like “exercise and eating,” would mean that a person has attained a certain level or maintained weight for a period of time. In order to appreciated that  healthy position and weight loss then that person has achieved good level of  maintenance  . Relapse would mean that person has regressed and possibly one could be eating badly once again, bingeing and overeating, had no physical activity at all and a result – Relapsed.

People who go into maintenance and have changed a bad behavior have one or more relapses along the way. This is sometimes typical of how people use behavior change. It can be a dangerous step backwards for some people (ie users of drugs can relapse and find themselves back in the same old arena) but for others it can be short lived.

It is not favourable to relapse.It is important to recognisable within a change process that relapse comes with pitfalls. Some of these can be:

  • A strong desire to go back to old habits
  • A need to be more compulsive than before
  • A lack of Caring
  • Self Esteem issues (feeling no good about yourself)

People who relapse also feel they have slipped and ruined every thing they have attempted to date. This is not true. It has been proven in studies (Di Clemente 1982) that it does help to know how and where and when the person relapsed and Why? This is good to note as the issues can be worked on and lessons can be learnt from them. So if the relapse is only for a short period of time the upside of this can be :

  • Learn from the reason the person relapsed
  • Take steps to avoid the area in which relapse occurred
  • Come through the process and become stronger
  • And try try again.

There is no magic potion for relapse,  just the desire to get back up and try again with new found knowledge that has been gained – hopefully stronger. Easier said than done………or not. There is always a reason to try again.


….keep going….


So after much thought and process and ongoing Action from someone who has changed their previous
behavior into a brand new one, Maintenance becomes the next stage for that person to assess,
review and to manage the ongoing current status quo.


While management of the new behavior has some very positive consequences (examples…Weight loss, increased fitness self esteem – it is interesting to note for some maintenance can just last between six months and five years. (Janis and Mann,19770. It then becomes a decision for the person trying to maintain the new behavior change to assess whether the change has became the new ‘Them/Me” This has been examined throughout the journey of the change process covered extensively and practiced by the transtheoretical Model, Prochaska, J.O., Redding 2002. If a balance is to be achieved, and then maintained whereby the individual feels that the new behavior is like a second skin to them, they then need to decide that the previous behaviors are not worth a second thought..

The involvement of this new skin (new me) to remain in place has been discussed by Bandura, 1977,1982 and how self-efficacy reflects a persons confidence an efficiency to continue in the same footsteps and on the same pathway with the new behavior when triggered by temptations. (eg  unhealthy decisions, unhealthy food options, lack of motivation to exercise) In a high risk situation the persons lack of confirmed self change may be challenged. This can result in a relapse situation, back to the originally unhealthy behavior. This could be momentarily or for a longer period, however the resolve to try ‘change’ again can be fortified as a result that the person has been there and  felt the new change and had became inspired by it……….

Maintain, maintain, maintain and reap the rewards of the new improved you.

…….Action Stations…Here we go…..

…a great start….

Here we Go, Here we Go, Here we go, and we’re off………

Action is the next exciting stage that will define what and where we travel to from here.

If its change you want, then its change you’ll get. The use of the change model by Prochaska and DiClemente, 1992 is used by professionals around the world, to invoke a clear and delineated gradient traveling from Pre-contemplation… to where we have progressed to “Action“, now.

Following the Contemplation stage, ‘Action’ is one of the biggest stages of Change used in order to test the waters and trial a new behavior. When people modify their behavior and move through to the action stage there has been a shift or growth in attitude shifting away from the bad behavior.

Action stage is just one of the stages- So at this level a person is prepared to give new challenges a go. It may mean that individuals will also modify other areas to overcome or to improve their current problem. Lets take a person who has weight gain for example, and what this may require from someone at the action stage.

  • Modifying their behavior

This requires commitment and time to action change. If it is an increase in exercise that the person needs, they need to find suitable time and a place to exercise on an ongoing basis. It may also mean that the person actively needs to seek out some support to keep them on track. Like the use of a gym for inclement weather, and healthy food alternatives.

  • Modifying their experiences

The person trialing their new action, needs to be mindful of how their past experiences have molded their bad behavior, and try and steer clear of these while changes takes hold.

  • Modifying their environment

Consider alternative options when your action is implemented, as the same old routine or environment (ie cake shops, movies,) and sedentary places filled with no exercise and lack of healthy food options only fuel the status quo.

‘Action’ stage is a highly visible stage that is recognizable to oneself and others, so for re-enforcement of healthy weight loss and exercise, continue sticking to the regime. This may include some encouragement from close friends and family at this time. Walking the walk and talking the talk also helps to  stay on track. Keep positive about your future steps and allow other people to join in and celebrate with the new you.

How to keep the “Action” stage favorable and part of your life.

  • Keep researching interesting information to remind yourself of the benefits of change. Seek out up to date information which will likely keep you on track, and go on-find something qwerky to keep you interactive.
  • Address problems as they arise and seek out solutions, so you can keep on top of the issues.
  • No excuses. Dont keep coming up with reasons to fail.
  • Access relief alternatives in preparation for stressful times-be prepped.
  • Avoid stimulus from friends and bad influences-steer clear.
  • Improve your environment for future change.
  • Continue to seek support for yourself
  • Reward yourself when you reach attained small goals…. and finally
  • WELL DONE….. Keep the end goal in mind


At Last……… Your a Contemplator………..

I’m a “What” – you say……. Yes, after blissfully skipping through life as a Pre-Contemplator or in a Pre-Contemplative state not caring about the issue of weight loss(Di Clemente 1992) then discussed that there may be reason to expect a shift in the stage that a person is at-and that the change made may make you a Contemplator. this means that there has been a shift on the Continuum from “Nope, Nup, Never and NO”!!!! to a more Contemplative ……Maybe.  So let us now look at this little shift and what it means.

“Well, Yes my weight has gone up a bit these last few years, and is a little bit concerning to me because I dont seem to be as quick to move as I used to be, and dont fit into my favorite clothes anymore, but I am really busy right now and couldn’t possibly start an exercise and weight regime just now. I may do though, after my months holiday.”

So that’s a Contemplator…..Does that sound familiar.

its OK  I’m.. just…thinking…about it.

So it makes sense, for anyone sitting particularly comfortably on a fence trying to decide what to do, that here are many tips to go to………..

Try encouraging a future scene by following some of the tips.

  1. Make a list of Pros and Cons (good and bad) of the current situation. Here is an example of how.

         Current weight Issues

         Uncomfortable, cant fit clothes

          Unhealthy weight to height ratio

          Increase in health risk

         Higher Cholesterol, heart/stroke risk

          Less involvement in activities

           With weight Loss

           Move more freely, look better

           Lowers BMI and Body fat reading

           Reduce associated health risk

           Reduce stroke/heart attack risk

           Higher Self Esteem

Then with this information there is forethought on the subject and how much priority is attached to        losing weight or keeping the status quo.

2. It is Important at this stage to let the person direct their own decision in which way to go- in this way the person will feel that they control the situation, which is a crucial element for change.

3. Exploring different options is a good way to help with the speed of decisions, once again making it a controlled move to change habits.

These Options – Healthy eating, Study of the subject, perusing different exercise Programs (gyms) male or female, reading up on the subject of weight loss (Google it) asking health Professionals, (GP) support based help and user friendly local options.

All of this information and advice moves someone further along the Continuum of Change and preps someone for the next change……………..stay tuned.






Are You a Pre-contemplator……???

Are you one of those people who blissfully float along in life and let the wind catch your hair saying “It will be alright on the day,” or “Nah, It will never happen”. Have you decided that while you remain unaware of any discomfort to your daily life that there is no need to address any change and continue on your current route.

If we are talking about a persons immediate current desire to do nothing,……. that there might be an issue – but they can see no issue, so they see there is no concern, when there clearly is a concern….(for example a weight issue) then they could fall under the little word known as a  Pre-contemplator….

Yes, that is right………. a Pre-contemplator.

healthy living…

Pre-contemplation is a stage in a change of behaviors that address the readiness of a person to move forward from their current position (doing nothing -blissfully ignorant) along a continuum into an area of change. Pre-contemplation may well cover a gamut of behaviors such as smoking, drinking alcohol, weight loss etc, or one that can be easy to explain like changing someones behavior in order for them to start up exercise. (Di Clemente CC, Prochaska JO 1992)

When someone has a weight gain issue, exercise is a helpful tool (along with a height/weight calorie controlled plan) to help maintain a healthy BMI and weight range. This does not mean that at this blissfully unaware stage that nothing can be done or said to help encourage someone to move forward towards change or in this instance exercise.

Goals are Important for a person to see that staying at the current weight and doing nothing will make the issue stay the same. Maybe you can help them to see a future for themselves.

  • Help the person understand the reason or reasons behind why change may be important to their life.
  • Understand where the person presently is stationed in their life.
  • Employ empathy as to their current situation ….and be mindful of this.
  • Encourage future and open conversations, without telling the person ‘What’ to do.
  • Validate the persons reasons for being who they are.

Always acknowledge that a Conversation is a start in the right direction, and because there has not been added pressure the person may return to you when they change their mind……….