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Stop yo-yo dieting forever

What goes up doesn’t necessarily come down. Especially when it’s your weight.

Over the course of my adult life mine mostly just went up. Looking back at things now I see that I started gaining weight pretty much the moment the ink was dry on my marriage license. I was pregnant by my first anniversary and from then on I was only on the “up” escalator.

Side note: how is it fair that you gain 50 lbs. during pregnancy (me) and the kid only weighs 7 lbs? Throughout human history women have been lamenting that mathematical injustice.

But I digress.

Not everyone rides the up escalator, however. Some people do the yo-yo dieting thing, their weight flutuating from high to low then jumping back up again. Often the new “high” is at a higher set point than the old high. If that’s been your experience, listen up.

There are plenty of reasons yo-yo dieting is bad for your health:

  • It slows down your metabolism: You have less energy and burn calories less efficiently.
  • It raises cortisol levels: This nasty “stress” hormone encourages your body to store fat, especially around your mid-section.
  • It’s associated with various diseases: Artery damage, higher LDL (bad) cholesterol, heart disease, hormonal cancers, and diabetes.
  • You lose muscle + gain fat: Rapid weight loss almost always involves significant loss of lean muscle. When you regain weight, it tends to be fat.

Obviously this is exactly what we don’t want to do, right?!?

So why do we do it over and over again?

  • Desperation: You’ve got that wedding to go to in three weeks, or it’s May and you wanna be rocking a bikini on the beach by summer.
  • Fear: You got a scary diagnosis from your doctor, or you’ve hit a number so high on the scale you’re terrified.
  • Short-term mentality: You feel like you can grit your teeth and “suffer” for 30 days.
  • 20051114_110_350x263All-or-nothing thinking: Remember Oprah’s liquid diet and her big reveal after? We all saw what happened when she stopped the liquid diet and went back to regular food.

Oprah would probably be the first to admit that yo-yo dieting negatively impacts your ability to ever lose weight and keep it off.

In fact, many doctors agree and current medical thinking is that being overweight – though not obese – is less detrimental to overall health than is yo-yo dieting.

How do you stop yo-yo dieting and lose weight for good?

  • Give up the idea that you must “do it alone”: Ask for help (a doctor, a Weight Watchers group, someone who’s ahead of you on the journey). There’s no special prize at the end for people who “do it alone.”
  • Enjoy the process: Committing to changing your habits might seem daunting but it shouldn’t feel onerous, as if you’re taking on new burdens and responsibilities. Instead, this is an incredible opportunity to transform your body, your health and your life!
  • Brainstorm solutions: You will encounter obstacles along the way. Each one will test your resolve. Rather than throwing up your hands in frustration and reverting to old habits, be flexible in your approach. That “can-do” attitude will carry through the toughest challenges.
  • Slow down: Yo-yo dieting happens because we’re in panic mode just long enough to adhere to the rules of some silly diet. As we all know, we lose that intensity and the pounds start to creep back up. In weight loss, the tortoise beats the hare every time.

Fad diets, “magic” weight loss pills, and “Lose Pounds Fast!” gimmicks will only get you another cycle up and down on the weight loss yo-yo. This time, make it for keeps. Do it for real. I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more than you!

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