Yo-yo dieting is a common experience for many people. You want to lose some weight, so you go on a diet, and you do lose some. But eventually, you start going back to your prior eating and exercise habits and put the weight back on, usually plus some.
Is there any way to end the yo-yo diet cycle? Fortunately, there is, but it's going to take a little work on your part. Follow these steps to find yourself in the fantastic position of losing weight and keeping it off.
Change Your Mindset
The first thing you'll need to do when you want to end the cycle of yo-yo dieting is to change your approach to and beliefs about losing weight and eating healthy.
Don't think about going on a diet as a temporary thing or as a restriction on what you can eat or do. Instead, think about your health, fitness, and good eating habits as lifelong pursuits without an end-date. Make lifestyle changes that you can sustain rather than starting a diet that leaves you feeling so restricted that you're always thinking about "cheating."
Find Your "Why"
In order to stick to a healthy eating and exercise plan, you will need to have some motivation. Sit down with a journal and some quiet and think about why you want to lose weight or get healthier. Don't think about your short-term goals, like an upcoming vacation. Instead, think about your whole life and how being healthy will improve it. Here are some "whys" that many people have that keep them off the yo-yo diet train:
- Children and other family. Being around, healthy and fit, for as long as possible for your kids and family is a powerful "why."
- Hobbies. If you love to ski, bicycle, play soccer, or do some other sport or hobby, you'll want to stay as healthy as possible to enjoy it longer with less chance of injury. If you want to travel extensively later in life, you'll need to make sure you're physically able to do so when the time comes.
- Health. Being sick or unhealthy is an all-consuming thing. It can greatly affect your quality of life. Losing weight and getting fit in order to feel good is a powerful motivator.
Re-evaluate Your Ideas About Healthy Eating
If you've done low-fat diets in the past, counted calories, or done other diets that were quite restrictive, you'll want to reconsider what it means to eat healthy. Here are some of our recommendations:
- Eat whole foods as much as possible.
- Avoid refined carbohydrates, especially sugar.
- Eat breakfast that includes protein.
- Consume healthy fats like avocado, nuts, and seeds.
- Listen to your body about how much to eat rather than trying to hit a pre-set number of calories.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Drink enough water.
- Pay attention to your gut health.
- Practice mindful eating.
You can find more of our suggestions here: "18 Proven Weight Loss Tips."
Work on De-Stressing Yourself
Stress is a killer. It can affect every aspect of your life, including your weight loss. Managing and decreasing your stress should be high on your to-do list, and it will help you end any emotional eating patterns that you may have.
Here are some tried-and-true destressing techniques that you can learn or increase in your life to help you end your yo-yo dieting cycle:
Find one or a combination of techniques that work for you, and make time to practice them daily.
Harness the Power of Positive Affirmations
Positive affirmations are statements that you say to yourself over and over. With repetition, your brain will accept them as true and it will be much easier to alter your behaviors to align with them. You can find out more in the article: "Positive Affirmations for Stress Reduction," and you can read specific affirmations for weight loss here: "Positive Affirmations for Weight Loss."