How to Quit Yo-Yo Dieting For Good
You want to stop yo yo dieting. I understand how you feel. You've tried every diet gimmick, pill and potion out there. You're scared to even imagine how much money you've wasted on 'diet plans' and a bunch of powders that promised you the body of your dreams. You cringe at the thought of how many years of your life you've wasted just thinking about food 24/7.
You know in your head and your heart that healthy weight loss does not come from a packet, a pill or a potion and you're desperate to find a sustainable solution to what feels like a lifetime of failed weight loss attempts.
Those "beach body" adverts on TV are so convincing! And you thought you were doing your friend a favour by buying into her latest business venture, only to be left with 3 unopened bottles of some 'apparently magic' aloe vera gel that tastes like pond scum!
You're at a loss. What exactly does a healthy lifestyle look like?
How to get started with a healthy lifestyle
So you want to stop yo yo dieting and get started with a lifestyle change?
What exactly is a healthy lifestyle? Well, let's look at what the word 'health' actually means. According to the WHO (World Health Organisation), health is:
"a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."
There's a lot more to it that simply worrying about what you weigh.
Here are my five simple steps to get you started - it's time to stop yo-yo dieting forever.
1. Think Long Term
How many times has your quick fix worked for you before? Exactly. It's time to think long-term. How will the choices that you make each and every day make you feel a year from now? Short term diets don't work. It's time to break-up with the idea of dieting for a few weeks at a time, and start thinking about making small, manageable changes one at a time that will lead to a lifetime of health gains, and gradual weight loss. Imagine if you were to lose half a pound of body fat per week over the course of the next year. You would lose two stone in 12 months. Now, that might not seem like a lot, but when you think about it, it's a lot more than you have sustainable kept off by yo-yo dieting, right?
One habit change at a time. One day at a time. Nothing extreme.
2. Ditch the 'all or nothing' attitude
On plan or off plan. Good or bad. On a diet, off a diet. Do any of these phrases sound familiar to you? I understand, I'm an 'all or nothing' kind of person too. It took me a long time to ditch the 'all in' or 'all out' attitude to my dieting habits, but fortunately, I've taken the long route for you - so I can show you the short cut.
Okay, I kinda lied. There is no short cut - but you need to ditch the 'all or nothing' attitude right now.
The diet does not start on Monday. Drastic changes are impossible to stick to because they are so wildly different to your normal habits. This time, think of one small change that you can make each week. For example, next week, start to gradually reduce your portion sizes. Don't even change what you're eating! The week after that, focus on drinking a little bit more water than usual.
Gradual change makes for long term results.
3. Understand that there will 'bad' days
Was it a bad day or a bad five minutes? Being on a strict diet will have you panicking if you even so much as veer to the left a little. It's easy to feel like a failure when you're on a diet, because breaking the rules makes you feel like you've completely messed up.
Weight loss is not a linear process. There will be some weeks where you will not lose weight. There will be weeks where you gain weight. You need to understand that this does not mean you are not progressing.
You are trying to change a lifetime of diet habits. You need to expect that there will be days, sometimes even weeks where things don't go to plan.
Will giving up move you forward?
You're never failing. You're learning what doesn't work. Imagine if a toddler who was learning to walk decided to give up trying after falling down once or twice. That doesn't happen. They keep learning from their mistakes, trying again and eventually succeeding. You can apply this to most things in life.
4. Eat real food and monitor portion sizes
This is a really simple one, but again, needs to be introduced slowly. Start by making a real effort to eat more fruits, vegetables and herbs. What exactly is real food?
If it ran, swam, flew or grew - eat it. If it was manufactured in a processed food factory? Eat it in moderation.
Experiment with new foods and recipes. It doesn't need to be fancy or difficult and you certainly don't need to spend hours in the kitchen, but reigniting a love for real food will excite you about the possibilities you have now that you've decided to stop yo-yo dieting.
5. Get rid of diet paraphernalia from your life
It's time to declutter the diet paraphernalia that litters your home. You've decided to stop yo-yo dieting. You can't move on when the past still lingers around every corner. Here are my top tips for doing this quickly and effectively:
- Social Media. Unfollow Facebook and Instagram accounts that make you feel inadequate. This includes diet club Facebook groups and Instagram accounts who speak about counting points, syns or following a short term quick-fix
- Your home. Recycle, or bin diet club charts, diaries, books and leaflets. Remove anything that will trigger you to think about diets. You don't need that in your life now.