How to Break the Yo-Yo Diet Cycle

by Suzanne Hiscock
Hands up if you could open up a small clothing boutique with all the different sized clothes you have lurking in your closet or bundled up in boxes in your basement?

How  about if  you’ve ever pulled out your “skinny” clothes and sighed as you reminisced when you could fit into them?

If watching the scale go up and down over the years seems to be your favorite pastime, then welcome to the Yo-Yo Dieters Club.  It’s a pretty big club filled with great intentions.  Unfortunately, it’s low on long-time commitment.

With all the diets out there, you’d figure people would be losing weight and keeping it off easily, right?  But obesity rates are climbing.  According to the CDC, 69% of US adults over the age of 20 are overweight or obese:  

If you’re tired of all the yo-yo dieting and are ready to make a change, here's a four step plan to get yourself back on track.

1) Stop Looking for a Quick Fix

It’s no wonder people think it’s easy to lose weight when you see headlines like:
  • Sculpt a High, Tight Tush in Record Time
  • Resize Your Thighs - Burn Fat & Sculpt Lean Muscle in 5 Minutes a Day!
  • Bikini Belly Workout - Get a Flat Belly Like <insert celebrity flavor of the month>
  • Drop Two Sizes - No Cardio Needed!

Well, who wouldn’t want a high, tight tush in record time?  I know I would.

The truth is, losing weight and getting fit is a lifelong commitment.

See:  The Top 10 Things You Don't Want to Hear About Losing Weight (But What You Need to Know)

You can’t go on a diet, lose the weight and then expect to keep the weight off when you stop the diet.

There is no magical formula, unknown plant extract or secret trick you’re missing out on.

Don’t believe the headlines.


The truth is...





Now, pretend I’m Glinda the Good Witch, click your heels together three times and repeat after me:

There’s no such thing as quick fixes.
There’s no such thing as quick fixes.
There’s no such thing as quick fixes.

 


2)  Stop Pressuring Yourself to Lose Weight

If losing weight takes up your every waking thought, then you’re putting too much pressure on yourself.

If you’re trying to lose weight in record time, you’re putting too much pressure on yourself.

If losing weight stresses you out, you’re putting too much pressure on yourself.

Are you seeing the pattern?

It might surprise you to hear this, but losing weight should make you feel energized.  it should be a learning experience.  It should be fun and creative.  
 
  • You feel energized by making changes to your lifestyle, whether it’s by exercising more, eating healthy (and not overstuffing yourself) or sleeping better.
  • You gain knowledge by learning about healthy ways to lose weight.  This way, you don’t have to rely on cheap gimmicks to help you lose weight.
  • You make it fun and creative by stepping bit by bit outside your comfort zone, by trying new foods, and new ways to exercise. 

When you take the pressure off, you learn to trust yourself.  You learn that you CAN do this.

Make it less about losing weight and more about making changes you can live with the rest of your life.  Make it fun.

#3 Start Changing Unhealthy Habits into Healthy Ones

Losing weight permanently and getting off the dieting merry-go-round  is all about changing unhealthy habits into healthy habits you can live with for the rest of your life.

I bet you already know which habits you should change, right?  Whether it’s the huge plates of pasta you can’t seem to resist or sitting on the couch watching TV after supper, deep down, you know which changes would make a big difference in your life.

As an added bonus, when you change the unhealthy habits, a wonderful thing happens:  you stop feeling guilty about your unhealthy choices -- and you start feeling good about the healthy choices.

For every unhealthy habit you want to change, make sure you have a healthy habit to take its place.

See:  44 Ways to Improve Your Mood and Improve Your Energy

#4 Start Setting (and Tracking) Small, SMART Goals

For some people, “Go big or go home” is the way they need to do things in life.  Heck, nothing wrong with that sometimes!

But if you’re continously caught in the weight loss cycle of losing the pounds and gaining it all back, you need to step back, take a deep breath, evaluate your life and then set small, SMART, maneagable goals.

The problem with “going big” -- and making tons of changes at the same time without a real plan -- is you’re going to find yourself ten miles down the wrong dirt road.  You’ll have to back up and try again, wasting a lot of time in the process.

The problem with “going big” is that you bite off more than you can chew (pun intended).   And when you can’t keep up with all these big changes, you feel like a failure.

You start thinking you can’t do it.

See:  Weight Loss Excuse Buster -- No More Excuses!

Why not start the journey on the right foot?

Don’t try to change your entire life in one day.  Start with a maximum of five small habits you want to change.  

You see, the key is to set yourself up for success by setting goals you know you can reach.  This this will build up your confidence to continue making changes.

And you’ll be more likley to stick with those changes.  This will help stop all that crazy, yo-yo dieting.

Once you gain more confidence by making small changes, you’ll see that all these small changes turn into big changes when lumped together.

Once you have a list of changes you want tot make, the next step is to set SMART goals.

SMART goals are:

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Relevant
Time-Bound

See:  How to Set SMART Weight Loss Goals

Or to put it in real terms…

Don’t tell me you want to lose 20lbs.  Tell me how you’re going to do it!

Don’t tell me you want to eat more vegetables. Tell me how many vegetables you’re going to eat a day, which vegetables you’ll eat  and how you’re going to add them to into your daily diet.

Don’t tell me you want to exercise more.  Tell me what kind of exercise you’re going to do and how many times you’ll do it.

Get out a pen and paper and write it down. Take a day to plan out everything you want to do.

And don't forget to set up a way to *track* those habits.  Use a wall calendar and mark big, red checkmarks on the days you were able to reach your goals.  Keep those red checkmarks going every day!

That’s my basic plan to break the weight loss yo-yo cycle.
  1. Stop looking for a quick fix.
  2. Stop pressuring yourself to lose weight.
  3. Start changing unhealthy habits into healthy ones
  4. Start setting (and tracking) small, SMART goals.

Now, get out there and do it!  Nobody else can do it for you.

You got this!



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About the Author

Suzanne is the owner of FitWatch. She's had strong interest in nutrition and exercise for over 20 years, and is an ACE-certified Lifestyle & Weight Management Coach. Back in 2002, she started FitWatch.com because she wanted to help people lose weight by creating helpful tools and calculators. A huge fan of calorie counting, Suzanne created the FitWatch Fitness Tracker to make it easy for people to count their calories.