So… you went on a diet. It was really successful. Easy, even. You think “that wasn’t so hard”. After you reached your goal, you slowly (or maybe not so slowly) return back to your old habits. You gain some weight back, or all of it even. Maybe even more than you lost in the first place. You’re annoyed, but figure you’ll just do the same thing to lose it. Only this time it’s harder. You need to be more strict with what you eat, you need to work out more. You do it again, and again you gain the weight back after slipping backwards. Each time this happens, you have to restrict more, exercise more. It takes longer and more stress. Until one day, nothing works at all.
Does this sound familiar? If so, you have fallen victim to yo yo dieting. No it’s not a myth. And actually… it’s NOT your fault! The dieting culture that we live in promotes this lifestyle. We diet by making choices that we have no chance in continuing long term because we’re made to feel like if we don’t, then we’re “lazy” or “unmotivated” or that this is what it takes to be “healthy”. So, we go back and forth, up and down. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
My Yo Yo Dieting Story
Even as a dietitian, I have a similar story. In college, I gained the “Freshman 15” (and then some!). I lost the weight that following summer, and I did it in a healthy way. I made reasonable food choices, exercised more. But being the typical college student I was, I didn’t stick to those reasonable choices, and my exercise fluctuated. Oh well. Sh*t happens. But it has made managing weight as an adult harder. I lived this way for a good bit of my 20s- back and forth, up and down depending on what was going on in my life. It wasn’t until I was engaged to my husband when I began to learn the key to breaking this cycle. I did not want to spend my entire engagement dieting and
killing myself exercising. So I made a change.
It took the entire engagement and my entire first year of marriage to learn, and I did still fluctuate in that time. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still dealing with my weight… but having a baby will do that 🙂
The important thing is that I hold onto what I’ve learned in order to deal with what I have in front of me.To prevent the baby weight from causing me to fall back into the up and down, yo yo dieting fluctuations.
I’m here to help you do the same! I don’t want you to have to figure it out on your own like I did, so keep reading to find out how to end this cycle!
Are You A Victim of Yo-Yo Dieting?
If you’re reading this, then it probably applies to you. But to be sure, ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you ever lost weight using a crash or fad diet?
- Do you restrict and deprive yourself just to end up binge-eating later?
- Have you ever lost weight and then gained it back?
- Do you feel stressed, irritated, or unhappy about having to restrict what you eat?
If you answered yes to any of these questions… keep reading!
What I Learned:
What I learned is this: Restriction does not work. I repeat. Restriction does NOT work. Restriction is the reason you’re stuck. You’re not going to deprive yourself for the rest of your life. You’re just not. I promise- no matter how motivated you are when you start, you will end up back in the cycle. But it’s not your fault. Restriction is to blame- we are not made for it.
How To Break the Cycle
The first step to breaking the yo yo dieting cycle (aside from realizing there is a problem) is to reintroduce nutrient-dense foods. No more low calorie foods that leave you feeling hungry and irritable. Plan your meals with the intention to feel satisfied instead of just taking the edge off your hunger.
The second step is to condition yourself to eat mindfully. It takes a lot of practice, but it’s worth it. No more counting, tracking, or measuring. Instead, be mindful of what you’re eating, be mindful of your hunger and your fullness, and learn to enjoy every bite.
Other things that will help you on your path include:
- Stress management
- Good sleep habits
You don’t have to be stuck in this yo yo dieting cycle. It’s hard work, but you can break it. You can lose the weight once and for all, feel energized, live a fulfilling stress-light life, eat guilt free, and never have to diet again.
If you need help, I’m here! Click here to get started on your journey!
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