Are you sick and tired of losing weight only to gain it all back in a few months?
If you find yourself in a constant cycle of losing and gaining weight, you’re a yo-yo dieter. Also known as weight cycling, 10% of men and 30% of women have been stuck in the yo-yo diet cycle.
In addition to gaining all of the weight back that you worked so hard to lose, yo-yo dieting also has some other negative side effects. Yo-yo dieting can lead to muscle loss and a higher body fat percentage. It can also put you at an increased risk for diabetes and heart disease.
Luckily, you don’t have to be stuck in a cycle of yo-yo dieting forever. Read on to learn how to stop yo-yo dieting.
1. Drink Enough Water
When people go on diets, they often put all of their focus on what they eat. However, it’s just as important to take into consideration what you drink.
When you’re dehydrated, your body sends hunger signals to your brain telling you to eat more. Plus, dehydration leaves you tired and lethargic, making it hard for you to keep up with an exercise routine.
A recent study found that increased hydration can lead to long-term weight loss. But, planning to drink more water and actually drinking more water are two separate things.
If you’re someone who struggles to remember to drink water, keep a water bottle with you at all times. Taking small sips throughout the day can really add up. If you find plain water to be boring, add some frozen fruit ice cubes or a few slices of cucumber to your water.
2. Pay Attention to Your Eating Habits
Before you dig into a snack, it’s important to ask yourself why you’re eating. Are you actually hungry, or is there another reason?
Many of us mindlessly eat due to boredom, sadness, and stress. Before you start eating, check in with yourself to make sure you’re eating for the right reasons. Are you eating to fuel your body? Or, are you eating because you’re bored or feeling bad?
If the answer is the latter, find another way to cope with your emotions besides eating. Try going for a walk, phoning a friend, or listening to some music.
3. Be Fully Present When You Eat
Rushing through meals is another factor that can lead to yo-yo dieting. A recent study found that Americans eat approximately 156 meals per year standing up!
If you find that you’re often shoveling food in your face as you rush out the door or standing up when eating and doing something else, it’s time to change your habits. Creating space for mealtimes will allow you to savor and appreciate the food more.
As much as possible, try to eat slowly while sitting down. Try to limit background distractions, including TVs, phones, and games. Pay attention to the texture, aroma, and flavor of the food as you eat it.
If you take the time to enjoy every bite, you’ll be less likely to experience cravings later on.
4. Get Enough Sleep
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 3 Americans doesn’t get enough sleep. If you’re not getting enough sleep, it’s going to be very hard to break the cycle of yo-yo dieting.
When it comes to losing weight, sleep is just as important as eating a healthy diet and exercising. The amount of sleep needed varies from person to person, but generally speaking, adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.
When you don’t get enough sleep, leptin levels drop in your body. Leptin is a hormone that’s linked to satiety, and the less of it you have, the more likely you’ll be to experience cravings throughout the day. Lack of sleep also causes ghrelin, the hunger hormone, to rise.
In addition to getting enough sleep, you also need to make sure you’re getting quality sleep. Getting quality sleep all starts with creating the right bedtime routine. The blue light from screens keeps us up at night, so try to turn off all devices an hour before bedtime. Also, make sure you’re not exercising or drinking caffeine too close to bedtime.
5. Create a Sustainable Exercise Routine
When people first start trying to lose weight, they often dive straight into a grueling exercise routine. When it comes to weight loss, slow and steady wins the race.
While working out twice per day may help you lose weight faster, it’s not sustainable in the long run. Focus instead on creating an exercise routine that you’ll want to do for years to come. To prevent boredom, we recommend swapping between a variety of workouts, such as running, weight lifting, swimming, and pilates.
And, don’t overdo it. Nothing can set your weight loss back like an injury, so make sure you’re slowly building the intensity of your workouts over time.
6. Create a Sustainable Diet
In addition to creating a sustainable workout routine, you also need to put together a sustainable diet. Again, in an attempt to lose weight fast, people often slash their calories and avoid eating when they’re hungry.
While this may be doable for a few weeks, it’s not doable in the long run. You need to create a diet plan that you can actually stick to and focus on forming healthy eating habits. This way, when you hit your goal weight, you won’t be tempted to gorge on junk food.
The diet plan you form will depend on your lifestyle and body, but generally speaking, you should focus on creating a diet rich in whole foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, and lean protein.
How to Stop Yo-Yo Dieting: Time to Stop the Madness
Now that you know how to stop yo-yo dieting, it’s time to make use of these tips. With the above guide in hand, you should be able to put the yo-yo dieting to a halt and finally keep the weight off for good.
If you’re looking for some more tips to help you succeed on your weight loss journey, check out this guide to weight loss success.