Are you a yo-yo dieter? Some people think yo-yo dieting is losing a lot of weight, gaining it back, and then losing it again. The definition is close, but not quite accurate.
Yo-yo dieting is not about how much weight you lose. It is about repetitious loss and gain regardless of the amount. It could be losing and gaining the same five to 10 pounds over and over. Any amount that is lost and gained back repeatedly qualifies as yo-yo dieting.
You may try to rationalize that weight loss of any kind is a good thing – even if you gain it back; but, not so. Yo-yo dieting on any level takes a toll on the body and your health.
Yo-Yo Dieting Can Make You Gain Weight
When your weight goes up and down in a repetitious cycle, your body starts to fight back.
The continual losing and gaining sends “mixed signals” to your body and triggers starvation mode. It holds on tight to every pound you have and makes it more difficult to lose any weight.
In other words, you are programming your body to work against you rather than with you.
As a result, you may put on extra pounds and become heavier than you were before you ever started dieting.
Obesity often begins with constant dieting that includes cycles of deprivation and overeating.
It Impacts Your Health
Yo-yo dieting can also impact your health in a number of other ways.
For example, it can lower your good cholesterol level, which increases your risk for heart attack or heart disease.
Another more subtle problem, but equally serious is that it can drag you down emotionally. You get excited and feel great when you lose the weight, but disappointed and sad when you gain the weight back.
The emotional highs and lows can lead to depression that is intensified when you come in contact with others who have dieted and kept the weight off long-term.
The impact of yo-yo dieting on your health is potentially so dangerous that it can shorten your life span significantly.
You Can Break the Cycle
In spite of all this bad news, there is a positive message also – you can break the cycle of yo-yo dieting so that it is no longer part of who you are.
Stop looking for the magic diet that will instantly change your life by melting away the pounds in a few days or weeks. Extreme fad diets are created to make money – not to help people live healthier, happier lives.
When you make drastic changes to your eating patterns, it is almost impossible for your mind to adapt and it will usually rebel. This is particularly true if you have emotional attachments to food.
Take It One Step At A Time
Choose to make small lifestyle changes that are sustainable and can be incorporated into your daily life. Take it one step at a time.
Make a list of poor eating habits that you know are not good for you; and, begin to eliminate them one-by-one.
Recognize and accept that you will have days when you will feel like you “blew it” with some of your food choices you make. Remember that your current eating habits have developed over many years, and it may take some time to change those habits completely.
Keep in mind that the goal is to establish healthier eating patterns that will stay with you for a lifetime.
As you begin to do that, if you couple it with some daily exercise (even a 15-20 minute walk), you will begin to lose weight without ever dieting or obsessing about food again.
Finding a weight loss program that works takes time. Chances are that if you have been struggling with extra weight for months or years, I am fairly certain you have tried numerous diet plans and weight loss methods.
You have probably invested a fair amount of money, plus lots of time and energy that would have been worthwhile if you had gotten the results you wanted. Maybe you have even seen results from time to time, but nothing seems to hold.
If you are reading this, you are probably still looking for an answer to the question: How can I lose the pounds and keep them off?
Below are a few things to keep in mind as you continue searching:
We have touched on this already, but I am going to repeat it. The basic rule of losing weight is that you must burn more calories that you need. Excess calories are stored in your body as fat. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as it sounds (as we all know).
Every Body Is Different
Every person’s body and physiological makeup are different and finding a weight loss method that is a good fit for your body can be challenging. Doesn’t it make sense that if there were one perfect weight loss method that worked for everyone, the number of overweight and obese people would shrink dramatically.
Obviously, that is not the case – in fact, obesity is on the rise – moving toward to epidemic proportions. So, if you really want to lose weight, you will have to continue with the trial and error method of finding something that works for you.
My good message today is that you can increase your chances of finding the best solution by doing two things: 1) Determine what type of eater you are. In other words what foods do you like (or don’t like) and can (or cannot) eat. 2) Be realistic.
Choose a Diet that Fits
Let’s say you rarely eat meat – it’s OK, but far from your favorite. Once or twice a week is more than enough for you. But, your friend lost a lot of weight on a high-protein diet and you are considering doing the same. Does that really make sense? How long do you think you would be able to sustain that kind of diet?
Another scenario . . . you have a health condition that limits what you can and cannot eat. Look for diets that correspond with those requirements. If you see that the primary foods for a particular diet are on your “do not eat” list, discard it immediately as a possibility.
Do not try to bend your lifestyle to fit a diet just because clever marketing convinces you that “this is the diet” for you. Unless you actually put yourself realistically into the picture of how the diet will play out, you will be setting yourself up for failure. Any diet or weight loss method you decide to try, must fit your personal needs. When it does, the chances of success increase dramatically.
What about Fad Diets?
There is a new fad diet introduced every other minute. And . . . every single one claims to be the BEST way to lose weight. Even with a smidgen of common sense, it should be easy to see that those claims cannot all be true.
That does not mean they are all scams. The reality is that almost every diet will work – if it is followed correctly; and if it fits the needs of the person following it.
The issue is that even if there are studies that prove the method works (positive results), it is not a guarantee that it will work for you. Dieting and weight loss is not an exact science. There are too many variables, which make it impossible to predict which ones will work for you, and which ones will not work.
Is the Diet or Weight Loss Method a Healthy Choice?
Be sure that any method you choose to follow is based on principles of healthy eating. Extremely restricted diets are not usually a good choice.
The Magic Bullet of any Diet
You actually have to follow through. If you begin any diet half-heartedly, cheat all the time, or try it for a few days and declare, “I gave it my best shot, and it doesn’t work” – who are you really kidding?
If you do not follow through on the diet, there is no way you can assess whether it works, or not. No one can force you to follow through. If there were a perfect diet available that could guarantee results – it would not work for you, if you could not (or would not) follow through.
Success for any weight loss method or diet depends on your commitment to follow it precisely and stay on it for as long as it takes. Those are the two factors that always determine success or failure.
However, when you find a diet that fits your lifestyle and health needs; and you make that commitment to stay with it until you get the results you want . . . you, and you alone can take all the credit for the successful outcome.
So, keep looking! Keep the faith and you will be able to do it.
The Secret to Successful Dieting is not complicated. In fact, it is really quite simple. You must eat well to live well! Eating fresh, nutritious food is more important than anything else you do to ensure a healthy body, reach and maintain a healthy weight, and protect yourself from illness.
The key is success is to change your mindset. A diet mindset is crippling. If you have lived your life thinking about dieting, talking about dieting, and planning your life around dieting, you know it is not a pleasant way to live. It is time to focus on being healthy – not on losing weight.
The majority of “fast weight-loss” diets are not enjoyable, not good for your well-being, and certainly not sustainable over the long-term. Eventually you have to go back to “real life” eating. Most people immediately fall back into old eating habits and the weight returns.
For a diet to be successful in terms of weight loss and a healthier body, you need to learn how to eat for life, not for 30 days or six months. The information in this book will take you step by step through a process that will give you the results you have been seeking. If you take the information seriously, you will be successful – not overnight – but definitely over time.
If you implement the practices outlined in this book at least 80% of the time, it won’t be long (60 to 90 days) before you start feeling the difference that a highly-nutritious diet, regular exercise, and adequate rest can make in your life.
Pick up your copy today on Amazon and change your life!
This is a follow up to a previous post from a few days ago in which I talked about the dreaded dieter’s plateau – the point in the dieting process that always appears no matter how much you do not want it to. You are moving along great, the pounds are coming off, you feel confident that you will reach your goal and suddenly the scale seems to be broken – it doesn’t change from day to day. It is maddening! You start to think if things don’t change soon, you will go backwards and gain all you have lost. What can you do?
First – recognize that hitting a plateau is part of the process. Instead of letting it get you down and knocking you off track, look at it as an opportunity to clear your head, intensify your focus and develop a strategy to move forward toward your goal.
Below are eight things you can do to re-light the spark that ignited your determination in the beginning and get across the plateau to higher ground.
Check your ultimate goal – is it realistic and healthy?
When you are stalled it is critical to consider your ultimate goal carefully. Ask these questions: 1) Is the weight you are planning to reach realistic? 2) Is your expected rate of weight loss reasonable and healthy? 3) Are you going about it the right way? Whatever the answers, don’t let them discourage you or be a reason for quitting. Simply make the necessary adjustments to keep you moving forward.
Hopefully you have chosen a healthy, nutritionally-rich weight-loss program. If so, you should be losing one to two pounds per week. Also, remember that everyone’s body is different, with its own ideal weight and size. An easy trap to fall into is the desire to look like your friend, a model, or a celebrity.
Comparisons are dangerous and goals that are based on such comparisons are faulty. Your body knows your ideal weight, so listen and pay attention to what feels right. A good marker can be set by using a Body Mass Index Calculator to find your ideal weight. (Be sure to read the information to understand how it works.)
The ideal weight range is wide enough that you can figure out which end of the range should be your goal. As I get older I tend to feel better a little on the heavier side. Be sure to factor in age and your current health. Remember that healthy weight is a lifestyle – not a diet!
Switch to eating high-protein/low-carbs for a while
You must eat enough protein – even on a diet – to maintain your lean muscle mass. When you cut your protein down too low, you will lose weight, but it will come from both your fat and muscle tissue, which is not healthy.
In order to preserve muscle tissue during a weight loss regimen, men need 150 grams of protein per day, and women need 100 grams. If you made a mistake in the beginning and have already lost some muscle tissue, you should seriously consider adjusting your diet to include more protein in order to sustain your muscle tissue and jump-start your diet again.
Every diet or weight loss program must include the necessary nutrients to preserve your body’s muscles. If you have chosen one that does not do that, make the necessary changes NOW.
Incorporate aerobic exercise and resistance training into your routine
A great way to boost metabolism is to make aerobic exercise a regular activity. For people under 35, a 30-minute brisk walk – three to four times a week will do wonders. Over 35 or terribly out of shape because of prolonged lack of exercise, you should start with 10 to 15 minutes two or three times a week and build up slowly.
Another great exercise choice is weight training with free weights or machines, if you are up to it. It is an excellent way to increase your metabolism almost overnight – as much as 5% to 10%. Workouts several times a week will increase muscle mass, which burns more calories faster. Studies have shown that a solid weight training workout can boost your metabolism for as long as 21 hours after.
Look for hidden carbs that may be stalling your progress
Stay alert and pay attention to what you are eating. When your weight loss slows to a standstill (hits a plateau), check for hidden carbohydrates that may be piggy-backing unnoticed into your diet. For example – sugar can be found in very unlikely places, especially condiments such as salad dressing, ketchup, teriyaki sauce, BBQ sauce, etc.
Processed foods such as gravies and sauces that are found on frozen veggies must be avoided – they often contain sugar, milk solids and cornstarch. AND, watch out for low-fat foods. Yes, they take out the fat, but they add a lot of sugar and sugar products as flavor enhancers.
If you can’t immediately identify the culprits, put on your detective hat. . . for a couple of days make a list of everything you eat and drink, and read labels. Then, each night study the list and find the hidden carbs that may be keeping you stuck. Once you know what they are, you can stop eating them and break through the plateau.
Stop eating refined and processed food
Eliminate all refined foods from your diet – especially refined sugar and grains. In case you don’t know, this includes all white rice and all white flour products such as white bread, pastries, pasta and crackers.
The second group is anything that contains refined sugar – even small amounts. This group includes soda pop, sugar-coated breakfast cereals, pop-tarts, cookies, cake and most desserts.
This is probably the simplest step, but for many people one of the hardest. However, if you can take the step, chances are you will experience a huge dieting breakthrough that will not only jump start your diet again, you will have more energy and feel better than you have in a long time.
Stay away from caffeinated drinks and diet sodas
The jury is still out on these but, there are enough studies that support the ill effects of both caffeine and diet drinks for people who are trying to lose weight that it isn’t worth the risk.
According to a report from researchers at Purdue University, drinking diet soda may not only be as bad for your health as the regular stuff, but it may be causing you to pack on the pounds.
Drinking just one can of diet soda per day is “enough to significantly increase the risk for health problems such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.”
The report explains that diet soda and artificial sweeteners trick the body into thinking that it is consuming real food and sugar even though it isn’t, which could lead to metabolic confusion and over-consumption. Diet soda should not be considered a “healthy” alternative to regular soda – learn to drink water instead.
According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, caffeine affects cravings for food because it raises the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol raises heart rate and blood pressure and tells your body to increase its energy stores. Cravings are always a challenge when dieting, so don’t add to the problem by drinking caffeinated drinks. One last thought on caffeine . . . . avoid completely the energy drinks which are very bad for your overall health on many levels.
Be sure you eat enough
How much and how often are you eating? When you cut back on either, or both, quantity and frequency, it can negatively impact the way your body functions and easily create the weight loss plateau. There is a lot of evidence that eating small amounts, frequently can satisfy your hunger and produce better results than if you were to eat the same number of calories in three whole meals space evenly throughout the day.
When hunger pangs hit, munch on healthy, low-calorie, crunchy snacks such as sliced carrots, celery, jicama, green peppers, zucchini, and cucumbers. Eat as much as you want – no hidden culprits will be found. You can also treat yourself to a few raw almonds a couple of times during the day for a slightly sweet, healthy snack.
Stay completely hydrated
Water is an important component of any diet. You must stay hydrated with a continual replenishment of water. Dehydration can actually slow down your weight loss. Become one of those people who always have a bottle of water in their hands or sitting next to them as they work. Hydration not only helps the body burn fat efficiently, it also helps control your hunger.
A high-quality aloe concentrate added to your water can be an excellent aid in keeping your digestive tract working at its best. Also consider taking a probiotic supplement to assist in maintaining healthy intestinal flora.
Keep Your eye on the prize – stay motivated
If you are like most of us, once you decide to begin a serious weight-loss program and commit yourself to the process, there is a sense of right-mindedness and excitement about the end result; and, the excitement mounts as the pounds began to fall off, one-by-one. Keep that feeling alive in your mind and tap into it whenever doubt and discouragement start to creep in.
Remember what helped you make the decision to start losing weight. Think about your primary motivation and see if it still works, or if you need to find a stronger motivation. Then, keep reminders in critical places such as your master bathroom mirror and/or the refrigerator.
A picture of you looking great is often helpful – maybe a before and after from years past – maybe a favorite dress or new suit, or the perfect swimsuit for your summer vacation that you can’t wait to wear.
We all have our hot points – for me it is simply the way I feel when I a slim that motivates me the most. What is yours? I know you have one (or two). Find it and keep it clearly in your mind’s eye – or physically where you can see it every day.
Most important of all – don’t forget – THE PLATEAU IS TEMPORARY. Don’t let it defeat you.