How to stop yo-yo dieting for good
-Oct 3, Caroline Blight, Health -
If you’re on a post-summer health kick, it might be worth considering banning diets for good and instead sticking to a healthy schedule all year. We asked an expert how to do this and find out why it’s not all or nothing when it comes to what you eat.
You know when you put your mind to it you are a dieting superstar and can shape up with lots of focus and perseverance. But somehow it creeps back on when your attention is on other things or you feel satisfied you have got your goal. And then you start all over again. Sound familiar? So many of us get stuck yo-yo or ‘weight-cycling’ dieting but this habit of gaining and dropping weight can be bad news for our health. This style of dieting can lead to long-term higher body fat percentage, lower muscle mass, a fatty liver (which can lead to liver disease), and an increased likelihood of developing diabetes and heart disease.
There is a way of stepping off the weight loss/gain rollercoaster though. “Most people who are trying to lose weight will go through spurts,” confirms nutritionist Emma Brown. “I hear this all the time because throughout the year there are many occasions – think birthdays, Christmas, holidays – that may cause blips and set you back temporarily. Reaching your goal weight can be equated to the ‘pause’ in the middle of a rollercoaster.” But there are ways to step off the rollercoaster forever.
Plan your maintenance
While many of us chose a diet plan and think about meal prep, counting calories or watching portion sizes when we are ‘on’ the diet, as soon as that goal weight is reached usually all this planning goes by the wayside. “It’s tempting to think ‘job done’ and stop using the tools that have helped you achieve your success. At this point you need to create a routine to keep you from sliding back into your old eating habits,” says Emma. There was a reason you were in the place you were in before and a reason you lots the unwanted weight so you need to work out what worked and include in a maintenance plan.
“It’s really important to weigh in weekly to keep any small gains in check,” says Emma. “Even when you’re maintaining its normal for weight to fluctuate, but setting yourself a figure – 3-5 lbs above your goal – and using this as a threshold you won’t let yourself go above is a good discipline. The saying goes “Look after the pounds and the stones will look after themselves!” Taking action when you have made a small gain is much easier and quicker to manage than when you have made bigger gains. “The great news is that you’ll be able to eat the foods you love as long as you stay within this,” adds Emma.
Don’t get discouraged
When those lovely new clothes start feeling tight it can be tempting to give up and comfort eat again. To ditch the gym and slip back into old habits. But don’t give up! “Keep in mind the ‘offsetting’ rule – if you over indulge one day, you can rein it in the next. It’s all about damage limitation: small excesses can be quickly addressed,” a change of thinking can make a massive difference.
“Your mindset is key to your success,” explains Emma. “Choose two or three mantras and repeat them to yourself throughout the day. You might want to try ‘maintaining my weight is easier than losing weight.’ Or ‘I am eating for my health’ to encourage you to make healthier choices.”
Teaching yourself about food and nutrition can make a big difference to the choices you will make. If you know what effect some junk foods have on your body then you are more likely to find it easier to resist. Or if you need that daily treat of a chocolate bar or bag of crisps a day to keep the rest of the day on track, learning about how it impacts on your daily calorie count or overall nutrient intake can mean that you stick at one rather than binge and reach for another. “Healthy living isn’t ‘all or nothing’,” says Emma. “If you overindulge on food or miss your exercise work out, avoid letting that destroy your motivation by remembering the ‘offsetting rule’. Aim to eat well 80% of the time, and then you can enjoy your indulgence guilt-free.”
Add a quality supplement to your shopping list
There are nutrients that you simply can’t get from diet alone. Lumity’s day and night supplements are worth investing in, as well as certain organic foods. If you worry that your gym membership is going to waste, we’ve got a full workout that you can easily do from home.
If you found this helpful, now’s the time to think about quick, but delicious meals that will ensure you’re satisfied and getting those all important nutrients. This 5-minute seared salmon is one to try and these no bake energy balls will satisfy a sweet tooth.