Fallen Off the Diet Wagon? Don't Despair

Indulge your sweet tooth and maintain your diet

By Carol Sorgen
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD

You know how it goes. You're cruising along, following your eating plan, working out -- in general, doing everything right. The next thing you know, one slice of pizza turns into six, one scoop of ice cream turns into a pint, and you're banging your head against the wall asking yourself where you went wrong.

The answer is, you didn't.

"Having a dieting relapse isn't a matter of if, it's a matter of when," says Karen Miller-Kovach, MS, RD, chief scientist for Weight Watchers International in Woodbury, N.Y.

Ann Kramer, EdS, LMHC, a licensed mental health counselor in Florida, agrees. "I constantly encourage my clients not to go on a diet, but to live a diet," she says. "They need to focus their lives on the development of their 'wholeness' -- in terms of their physical, emotional, intellectual, sexual, and spiritual selves."

Since falling off the diet wagon is almost a given, what's important, says Miller-Kovach, is knowing what to do when it happens. "When it comes to maintaining weight loss, people who have developed good relapse skills during the weight-loss process are much more likely to keep the weight off."

Be Prepared

There are two different kinds of relapses, says Miller-Kovach. The first -- and the easier one to deal with -- is the acute relapse. You're going along fine and then, "you just lose it."