Yes, that’s right – stop being a yo-yo dieter forever. Won’t work for you, you say? You say it will never happen? Well, I am here to tell you that that you can. Why? Because I stopped. And if I can stop yo-yo dieting so can you.
In this article we will define yo-yo dieting, address the dangers of yo-yo dieting, spell out a plan on how to stop yo yo dieting (including how to stop emotional yo yo eating) plus some tips and techniques to help you get through the process.
I will also be sharing some of my experiences and what worked for me. Now, what worked for me to stop yo-yo-ing may need to be tweaked a bit for you, however, the ‘advantage’ (if that’s the right word) of me being a yo-yo dieter is that I have seen and tried it all! Or, what i like to say, been there, done that and got the T-shirt. So I know I can help you out.
Did you know up to half of all women, and maybe one-third of men, have done some yo-yo dieting in their time.
I am telling you this because I want you to know you, we, us, are not alone!
A Definition of Yo-yo Dieting
I checked. There really isn't any real definition of yo yo dieting. Nor is there any strict definition of what constitutes yo-yo dieting in terms of weight lost and gained over so many months.
But there is, believe it or not, an ‘inventor’ of the term. His name is Kelly Brownell, PhD and he was actually named one of Time’s World’s 100 Most Influential People in 2006 because of his work in the field of weight management. And yes he actually invented the term ‘yo-yo dieting’ back in the 1980’s.
I was surprised to learn this – I was pretty sure I had invented it because I was certainly partaking in yo-yo dieting back then!
Another term for yo-yo dieting is ‘weight cycling’, which also gives a sense of what it means. It’s the cycle of losing weight – usually through a calorie-reduction diet – then gaining it back, then starting again. Dr. Brownell studied this behavior in rats – yes, apparently they are a good substitute for humans! – and discovered what I (and maybe you?) could have told him: the more frequently you diet, the more weight you gain!
This is so unfair but why does this happen? Well, the Brownell study of yo-yo dieting in rats worked like this: two groups of rats (and a third reference group). One group was called the Obese Controls were fed a high fat diet and the other called Obese Cycling. These were put on a calorie restricted diet, then were fed normally again. That’s a ‘cycle’ and it was repeated again for this group – just like one of us in a yo-yo diet loop.
The study got truly amazing results. By the end of the second cycle, the ‘Cycling’ rats were 4 times as efficient at turning calories into weight! Efficient sounds like a good thing but that’s not the kind of efficiency I want!
The Dangers of Yo-yo Dieting
Is Yo-yo dieting dangerous? Well yes it is, in all sorts of ways. Here is some eye-catching information:
1. One study of 158,000 older women over more than a decade compared people who had started at normal weight but then went through yo-yo diets to people with stable weight. Women who yo-yo dieted had 3.5 times higher risk of sudden cardiac arrest and 2/3 higher risk of coronary heart disease (!) than others, even the others who were overweight but stable throughout;
2. Yo-yo dieting raises blood pressure. Some studies show that repeated weight losses and gains produce higher blood pressure than maintaining a steady, even obese, weight level;
3. Yo-yo dieting may increase insulin resistance and increase the risk of diabetes;
4. Yo-yo dieting is associated with higher levels of cholesterol;
5. Yo-yo dieting may cause higher levels of inflammation within the body;
6. Yo-yo dieting is connected to greater overall risk of death from all sources…..
And more…. but that’s enough for me. The net of all this is that it is better to stay overweight than to yo-yo diet. But we already know its not good for our health to be overweight. So we have to take action and be smart about it.
Yo-yo Dieting – How To Stop It?
As I said, I have been there and done that! Here were some of my favorite diets of my younger years – compare these to your own list!:
• The Rice Diet
• Toast and Eggs
• Eggs and Grapefruit
• Packaged Foods of every kind
• Even, the Peel-a-Pound Diet – know that one?
• And everything else out there
And what was the result? From being an Olympic-track swimmer at the age of 12 to hitting over 200 pounds by age 17, and yo yo-ed till I was in my 40's. The result was obviously, not good! So what was going on?
Well, I got checked out physically – and there was nothing wrong with me at all (yet). That might not be true for you and I strongly encourage you to make sure you understand any pre-existing conditions you may have.
And it’s a good idea too to make sure you know any food allergies you have before you set on the path to stop yo-yo dieting for good. Sometimes our bad dietary habits have actually triggered allergic sensitivities and we need to get to grips with these asap.
But for me, my fundamental problem was emotional – I became an emotional eater, using food to ‘solve’ or at least, suppress, all my problems. We all know where that leads – since some food didn’t actually solve anything, maybe more food would. Nope!
But I had pride and my pride kept telling me to stop the weight gain and lose that extra weight. So every time I looked at myself in the mirror in disgust, I cast about for some new, magical weight loss solution.
And it worked – for a while – but nothing really addressed the real problem. That wasn’t how much I ate, but why I ate.
Stopping Emotional Yo-yo Eating
If your eating is emotional, your solution is in your emotions. I am not a therapist so I can only speak for what worked for me. If I had to sum that up, lets call it the constant application of Positive Thinking.
I knew that I was good and had enormous potential. But I let myself become a ‘victim’ of a poor environment and negative thinking. To break free of the emotions which put me on the yo-yo dieting treadmill, I had to break free of the past that had brought me there.
I believe we can all take command of ourselves and our thoughts and ‘flick a switch’ to make whatever change we want in our lives become our new reality. Yes, we can use our mind to make our future exactly what we want it to be – if we really really want it. Which I did – do you?
By the way, some of the greats of our times have had the same idea – here are a few:
“Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe” - Gail Devers
“Change your thoughts and you change your world” - Norman Vincent Peale
“If you dream it you can do it” - Walt Disney
This the motivation that I brought into my life to help me start down the road of being a former yo-yo dieter. Then I needed the tangible tools and knowledge to get me to the destination.
How and What to Eat to Avoid Yo-yo Dieting
Every success is based on a plan – if we want to succeed at becoming a ‘former’ yo-yo dieter, we need a plan that we can stick to for the long term. Because it will take time and patience – the opposite of the motivation of yo-yo dieter – to permanently change our bad habits into good ones.
We need some guidelines to live by – and here are mine:
1. Eat to live – not live to eat – I didn’t invent this saying but wish I had because it’s a good one. The one I read it is, make sure that everything that goes in your mouth is actually good for your body. If you only followed this one rule, you could actually never go wrong;
2. Whatever the number of calories you plan to eat, and they may be less as you wean your body and metabolism from excesses of the past, make the most of them. That means ‘balance’ between (high quality) proteins, carbs and fats that are actually good for you;
3. Have some techniques and fall back strategies for those times when staying on course is a struggle and you are at risk of falling back. My favorite is a shot of super high quality animal protein through my Triple K Drink. Pure animal protein doesn’t taste great, Triple K is delicious. Learn more about it here;
One more thing – take care of everything else about yourself and your appearance. Make people say, wow, she hasn’t just lost weight, she looks fantastic. This also takes a plan, it takes effort and it takes self-belief but when people stop and stare – is that really her?? – the reinforcement you will get will be priceless. Check out the line of treatments I developed for me (and for you) to achieve just that result.
Yo-yo Dieting: Is There a ‘Cure’?
Yo-yo dieting can hurt or even kill us, and long before that make our lives miserable. Don’t let that person be you – let yourself break free and achieve all the potential you have…and let me know how you are doing – I do care…..
Until Next Time,
Growing Younger Everyday