Tag Archives: Yo-yo Dieting

A Simple Path to Healthy Weight Loss

A True Story About Weight Loss

Healthy Weight LossFor the first 60 years of my life weight loss was never my problem. I had a completely different challenge.

At 14, I reached my full height of 5 ft. 8 in., which made me taller than all my friends and all the boys.

I thought of myself as a tall, plain, and unattractive Amazon who towered above the rest of the world. It was a constant source of agony until I entered college, where  there were other girls up in the stratosphere with me. That was enough to ease the pain a little.

Finally, when I entered the exciting world of young adulthood, I began to appreciate the amazing gift I had received at birth. I had won the lottery with my gene pool, which included a tall, slender frame, high energy, and extremely good health.

Almost without conscious thought, I made choices that nurtured my body (no caffeine or alcohol, no smoking, and no drugs) and I reaped the rewards of those choices.

When I married and started a family, good health practices continued. Making sure my children had well-balanced, nutritious meals was high on my list. I also found ways to exercise, either jogging with friends or participating in aerobics or Jazzercize.

Then, Things Changed

My healthy lifestyle had served me well over the years. Unfortunately, after my divorce at age 42, it seemed to fall apart. Little by little, things began to change.

My new way of eating included multiple cans of coke daily – or more explicitly – TAB (so a double hit on my body – caffeine and artificial sweetener). Fast food became a regular part of my diet, and eventually, I began smoking and started drinking wine.

Fortunately, my exercise regimen remained constant – aerobics, Jazzercize, and social swing dancing were regular activities. Plus, when I moved to Manhattan, walking was also part of my daily routine.

So, where was the problem? Simple – my other healthy practices were inconsistent. My focus was on taking care of four children as a single mom, running my interior design business, and socializing.

I was a young, reasonably good-looking single woman who didn’t want to be alone for the rest of my life. Finding someone to love was a major goal. It seemed important to put myself “out there” and look good in the process (which was the driver for the exercise).

When you throw into the mix the problem that I am a stress eater of very unhealthy foods (favorites are ice cream, pastries, chocolate, Coca Cola, and Frappuccinos), my healthy lifestyle deteriorated rapidly.

YO-YO Dieting

For the first time in my life, I gained a little weight and began yo-yo dieting. My weight which had been between 130 – 140 pounds on my 5’ 9” frame for most of my life began to increase. I would realize the gain, lose the weight for a while, then, gain it back, plus more.

I started with Atkins, which my body doesn’t tolerate well. Eventually, I tried all the fad diets of the time: Grapefruit Diet, Cabbage Soup Diet, appetite suppressants (Ayds, Dexetrim, and Ephedra – all three were eventually taken off the market), SlimFast, Scarsdale Diet, and, of course, Weight Watchers.

They all worked for a while, but they were not sustainable and none gave me the lifelong change I needed. The weight continued to yo-yo.

In 2010, some personal challenges took all my focus and energy with nothing left for self-care and healthy eating. In December, 2012, my son died and the stress eating flew out of control. I stopped exercising and started to gain weight – pound after pound.

The unhealthy eating and weight gain continued for the next five years because I was in too much mental and emotional pain to pay attention.

Reality Stopped Me Cold

One morning in early January 2018, I stepped on the scales and saw 203.8  pounds – almost 64 lbs. over my lifetime standard of 140 lbs. That was it! The unhealthy eating had to stop!

I did not want to live my life overweight and at risk for serious health problems. Not only was I extremely overweight (borderline obese), my mother had developed Type 2 diabetes in her 70s. I could see myself following in her footsteps. The choice was clear, I had to change the way I had been living for the past eight years.

The irony in this story is that I had been writing a blog for over two years that focused on clean eating and good health, which has always been my passion. I believed everything I had written; but, I had not been following my own advice.

I did a lot of research for my blog and was aware of the harmful choices I was making. I knew exactly what I needed to change in order to create the lifestyle I wanted for the rest of my life. BUT . . . I wasn’t doing any of it. Anger, overwhelming grief, sadness, frustration, and more were ruling my life.

Change Was the Only Option

When I saw “203.8 lbs.” on the scale, I freaked out. Help was needed, and needed NOW! I opted for Nutrisystem as a starting point.

It worked! In the first month, 10 lbs. came off; but, one month was all I could tolerate. The food grew tiresome very quickly; and, much to my disappointment, there were a lot of additives in the food that I did not like putting into my body. Plus, it was expensive; so, that path was no longer an option.

Nutrisystem was a great kickstart for losing weight. It launched the weight-loss process and taught me a valuable lesson – portion control.

When  I received my first shipment and started eating the meals, the portion sizes were a surprise. They were so small – and yet, they were enough. I was never hungry and started losing weight because I carefully followed the instructions. In other words, I worked the program – and it worked for me.

I knew Nutrisystem was no longer an option, but neither was giving up an option. Determined to stay on track and to get back to a healthy weight, it was clear that I had to find another way.

I finally accepted that reaching my goal wasn’t going to be fast or easy. It would take as long as it would take. Even though the realization didn’t thrill me, I made my peace with it and continued to move forward.

Another Twist to the Story

I started Nutrisystem on January 29. Four weeks later as I was finishing up the first month of my “diet,” I began suffering from agonizing back pain. After two weeks of misdiagnoses, I ended up in the E.R. with the diagnosis of a cracked vertebrae.

I was immediately hospitalized. The first thing they did (after administering morphine for the pain) was to put me in a body brace. Four days later they transferred me to a skilled nursing facility for 3½ weeks where I was given more pain pills than I care to think about, and struggled through daily rehab to get back on my feet and walking again.

This was the perfect excuse to forget about losing weight and eat whatever I wanted. But, to my amazement, I chose not to do that. I was committed to my journey back to eating well and living well.

In a way, it solved my dilemma about what to do next. The facility had an excellent meal service (with good food). Taking what I had learned from Nutrisystem, I practiced portion control and continued to count calories. It worked perfectly.

It not only worked, it set the path that I would follow from that point on.

Everything Worked

Which brings us to the present – one year later.

I have recovered completely from my injury and returned to work. My stamina is increasing because of a dedicated walking routine. In the beginning it was only a few steps a day, and gradually increased to 4000+ steps a day. Fourteen months later and 44 pounds lighter, I am still losing – moving slowly toward my goal of 150 lbs. A frustrating reality is that the last 10 pounds are always the hardest to lose.

Yes, it has been a long, slow process, but that’s OK for several reasons:

  1. It has allowed my body to adjust to the change and I feel great.
  2. I will be able to keep the weight off because I have a completely new way of eating.
  3. There is no flabby loose skin that often results from extreme, fast weight loss.
  4. I started the journey knowing it would take time – my expectations were set appropriately from the beginning.

A New Book Tells the Story

I have just launched a new book on Amazon, WOW! You Look Fantastic. My goal for the book was to share everything I had learned during my journey so others could Cover - WOW You Look Fantastic

benefit from my experience. If you are struggling with your weight, your frustrations, and your lifestyle, this is the book for you. It will show you that healthy weight loss is possible.

I can promise you, from personal experience, that this is the way to reach your ideal weight and to live well for the rest of your life. The solutions are simple, but not necessarily easy.

You must be completely committed to making the necessary changes. You cannot let anything deter you from reaching your goal.  If you want the results bad enough, you will make them happen.

This book will give you a simple path to follow.

Good luck and ENJOY the process.


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First published on my website: https://nancynwilson.com/



Stop Yo-Yo Dieting

Image by olivier_le_moal
Image by olivier_le_moal

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.

Does Dieting Define You?

Image by graphit
Image by graphit

Advice on how to lose weight is everywhere – the Internet, television, social media and the front cover of magazines. We are continuously bombarded with new fad diets that are heralded as the next new amazing weight loss technique. As a result it is important to ask: Does dieting define you?

We live in a diet culture. Think about your daily conversations – with friends, with family, with colleagues, and with co-workers. It is my guess that diets or dieting is frequently part of your conversations.

If you were to gather 20 random people and place them in a room together, there is a high probability that the majority would be on a diet in that moment or have been on a diet within the past year.

Dieting is the new normal. As a result, it is a factor in how people see themselves and often defines who they are.


When dieting defines you, the way that you think about food is altered. You do not think about food choices as healthy or not healthy. It is more about what you CAN or CANNOT eat. There is no middle ground.

Chronic Dieting

Most people have no idea of how dieting has affected their eating habits and attitudes about food. Continual dieting narrows a person’s world in a very significant way.

When an individual is jumps from diet to diet, they never take the time to step back and take a look at the bigger and more important picture of life and health.

It never occurs to chronic dieters who have spent most of their life on one diet or another that an unrelenting focus on dieting is not a great way to live.

They do not realize that dieting has taken control of their lives and their general outlook. Their obsession with food – what they eat (or don’t eat), plus continual counting of calories, carbs, fats, etc. is very restricting and not much fun.

Chronic dieters usually fall into the trap of identifying foods as good or bad – a mindset of food restriction that is one of the underlying causes of failure to lose weight.

Chronic dieters tend to set unrealistic goals. Every time they start a new diet and decide to lose weight (again), they have a magical number in mind that they want to reach. They rarely take into consideration their height, bone structure, body type, and current state of their health.

The number they pick is typically linked to some image they have attached to their self-worth and happiness and all they can think about is reaching the goal.

This is a sure formula for failure as they implement one diet after another. It is also very dangerous because of the temptation to try fad diets that promise quick weight loss, which can have serious health implications.

Some dieters mistakenly believe that if they “fall off the wagon” they are technically no longer dieting. During that time, they swing the other direction and binge-eat, stuffing themselves with everything they were deprived of during the “dieting” period.

The reality is that if you are engaged in chronic dieting, your diets are open-ended and on-going. You are caught in a vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting.

You simply continue to try diet after diet, hoping each time that you will reach a magical number that will make your life OK and inner happiness will finally be yours.

More about yo-yo dieting in the next post. Please join us.