Yo-yo dieting: Stop the cycle once and for all

healthy breakfast

Yo-yo dieting:

Time to stop the cycle once and for all!

You tried the grapefruit diet. But, you soured on that pretty quickly. And, any pounds you lost came back, plus a few more.

So, next time, you followed a more balanced eating plan. The weight came off — and you felt great! But, once winter rolled around, you let your healthy new habits slip — and watched the numbers on the scale creep back up.

Does this frustrating tale of weight lost and regained sound familiar?

This up-and-down, or yo-yo, dieting is what experts call “weight cycling.” And, there’s some evidence it may have negative effects on health and well-being. In the long run, people who get into this cycle can end up heavier — and more discouraged — than when they started.

Finding a lasting solution
So, how do you get off this unpleasant roller coaster? Here are a few secrets of people who have successfully lost weight — and, more important, kept it off!

Avoid a quick fix. Research shows that people who trim down slowly and steadily — about 1 to 2 pounds a week — are more likely to maintain their weight loss over time.

Banish the word “diet.” It’s not about what you can do without. It’s about what you can live with. Think of your weight-control efforts as a way of life. You need to develop habits you can stick with for months and years to come. For example, here are two wise eating habits you can depend on for a lifetime: Choose healthy foods most often. And, watch your portion sizes.

Be active, active, active. People who avoid weight cycling often have something in common: They rely on regular physical activity to help control their weight. See “How much exercise do I need?”*walking-workout, yo yo dieting

Eat a healthy breakfast. Make it a routine — it’s a practice shared by those most likely to maintain a weight loss. One explanation: It may help reduce the urge to overeat later in the day.


Stay in check. You don’t need to be obsessed with the number on the scale. But, many people find it’s a great “early warning system.” So, if you notice it inching up, don’t think, “I’m a failure.” That may start an emotional spiral that could lead you further off course. Instead, give yourself a mental pep talk — “I’ve got this!” And, refocus on the healthy habits you know will get you back on track.

Your attitude does make a difference. So, tell yourself that you’ll do your best — and won’t dwell on mistakes. This mind-set will boost your chances of lasting success. And, you’ll enjoy the journey a lot more, too!

* How much exercise do I need?
For general good health, most people should aim for at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity physical activity a week. But, to lose pounds or maintain a weight loss, you may need more. Talk with your doctor about what your weight and fitness goals should be.

Source: UnitedHealthcare- Healthy Mind, Healthy Body

Melanie Polk, M.M.Sc., R.D.N., F.A.D.A., and Arleen Fitzgerald, L.I.C.S.W.


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