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7 Things to End Yo-Yo Dieting Behavior

Updated on July 14, 2015

What's a Yo-Yo Diet?

What comes down doesn't have to come up
What comes down doesn't have to come up | Source

The Yo-Yo Effect

Yo-Yo dieting or the yo-yo effect is when there's a repetitive gain and loss of weight over a short period of time.

As as lifelong sufferer of this cycle, it took forever to find the proper technique to finally beat this fat merry-go-round.

But I've finally done it after weight cycling five times, and I've kept the weight off for over four years. It won't be an easy task, but I feel it'll be easier for those individuals who have already shown the mental strength to lose weight.

However anyone is capable of preventing or stopping the cycle completely, and I've finally figured out the secret to shut down this greater evil and put an end to all yo-yo dieting if followed precisely.

Tip #1 Don't Stop Eating Foods You Love

A full pie of tasty and delicious cheese pizza.
A full pie of tasty and delicious cheese pizza. | Source

Use Junk Food in Your Diet

Never ever, ever, ever (did I mention ever) stop eating the foods you crave and the foods you love. It's a huge dieting no-no that any qualified nutritionist or dietitian will tell you. They better tell you this because you're really going to struggle if they don't.

Eat the pizza, eat the donuts, have some cheesecake and apple pie—don't worry about it so much. Trust me the cravings will not go away the longer you try to escape those foods. Your body loved those foods and your brain will constantly remind you how much you loved them.

The secret to keeping weight off is surprisingly not that difficult and you don't have to kill yourself to do it, but you do have to be vigilant about portion control. In weight loss, it's not the quality that'll kill you—it's the quantity.

Tip #2 It's All About Portion Control

What's in a Serving?

Cut Down on Portions

The difference between a typical weight loss regime versus a yo-yo diet is very similar. You follow the same caloric guidelines and use portion control to your advantage.

Portion control means cutting down how much of a particular food you eat.

The type of food you eat doesn't matter as often as how much of that food is on your plate. I recommend using smaller plates for your meals so your mind doesn't wander.

The fact is that when you have a huge plate with a ton of food on it—you're far more likely to finish the entire plate thus exceeding your caloric intake. If you have a smaller plate with subsequently less food on it, then you'll eat far less and maintain proper energy levels.

Use this tip with the food you eat, however be mindful of the food as well. Just because you can eat your favorite foods doesn't mean your portions of chocolate cake should be the same as a Caesar salad.

Tip #3 Make Exercise a Routine, Not a Chore

A woman on a routine morning jog.
A woman on a routine morning jog. | Source

Create a Daily Exercise Routine

This is a very important tip you must follow to end yo-yo dieting. Think about your daily routine and how you follow it everyday. Your routine rarely changes, and it eventually becomes a part of life rather than a chore.

You have to do the same with exercise. Obviously exercise is necessary to lose and maintain weight, but you'll stop exercising and gain the weight back if working out feels like a chore.

I've always wandered why thin and fit people were constantly at the gym or jogging outside in the morning, but then I realized that it's what their routine consists of. They've incorporated running and exercise into their lifestyle and continue to do it no matter how fit they are.

And of course they'll stay fit—they workout nearly everyday!

But remember to keep track of how long and intense the workout is because long workouts (over an hour for most) will fall out of routine and into the chore category, which is what you never want to do to keep the weight off. I would keep the workouts between 20-45 minutes.

Find the best time of day and days to consistently be able to perform your workouts in order to blend them into your daily life. So follow these points to build an exercise routine:

  • Workout time (30-45 minutes is best)
  • Consistency (Exercise on the same day and time of day)
  • Intensity (Make sure you keep a steady pace daily with occasional shifts over time)
  • Combine exercise with current routine (Blend working out into your current lifestyle)


Tip #4 Weekly Weight Check

A digital bathroom body scale.
A digital bathroom body scale. | Source

Check in on Current Weight

Studies show that people who check their weight once a week or more have better long term weight loss success.

I would have to agree with those stats because checking my weight and holding myself accountable every week has allowed me to stop the constant weight gain/loss process.

Bottom line is that the first 5-10 lbs of weight gain are usually not seen by the individual. Your pants might feel a bit tighter, but you'll still feel fine. If you're already overweight or have a higher weight, then you may not notice a 20 lb+ weight gain.

But you will notice it if you step on the scale every week and see that weight rise steadily. For people who've recently lost a ton of weight—your mind still remembers the heavier individual and it wants to bring you back to them. There's a lot of weight checking and fighting that must go on in order to prevent rapid weight fluctuations.

Here are some additional tips regarding the body scale:

  • Make sure you have a body scale at home (costs range but you don't have to spend a ton)
  • Pick a day and time to weigh yourself every week (for those that like to stretch that week—it better not exceed 7 days)
  • Best time to weigh oneself is early in the morning after relieving yourself and before eating anything
  • Weight will fluctuate up to 5 lbs over the course of a day (Remember that if you weigh yourself after eating or later in the day)



Tip #5 Calories Do Matter

Count Your Calories

Counting Calories for Weight Management

I don't care if all you eat is fruits and vegetable or you decide to eat chocolate all day—the calories matter more than the food you put in your mouth.

There's no question that you should be eating healthy foods during this journey, but I guarantee if that's all you do, then you won't stop the yo-yo dieting process. The percentage of people that fail to keep the weight off is staggering and it's because they quit the habits that got them to their goal weight.

That habit included counting how many calories they ate everyday because that did matter a lot. You could technically eat junk food all day as long as the overall calories do not exceed your required daily amount.

That doesn't mean you'll be healthy though, and I would try to squeeze in health foods that contain plenty of vitamins and nutrients.

But you need to find out how many calories to put it and how many to put out. If you want to lose more weight, then you put out more than you put in. If you want to maintain your weight, then there should be an even balance between what you eat and put out.

Below are some additional tips on calorie counting:

  • Figure out how many calories you require through CalorieKing.
  • What do you want to do? Lose, Maintain, or Gain.
  • Keep a food journal or document detailing everything you take in (don't forget liquids)
  • Don't forget to adjust calories accordingly based on current weight (General rule is more wieght=more calories—less weight=less calories)

MyFitnessPal and LoseIt are two great apps (for IOS and Android) to use when tracking diet, exercise, and weight loss.

Tip #6 Don't Obsess Over Your Weight

When the worry and stress become too much.
When the worry and stress become too much. | Source

Obsessing about how you look and your weight will only lead you into body dysmorphic disorder if you're not careful.

You cannot worry about every little pound you gain because you'll get stressed out, and stress only leads to more eating and weight gain. I mentioned that daily fluctuations of up to 5 lbs are normal, so don't worry about it too much.

Also don't weight yourself everyday and especially multiple times a day because you'll only be damaging your self-esteem. Something like urinating or a bowel movement could cause 1-2 lbs of weight loss on the scale, so it wouldn't make sense to constantly check in on your scale.

You should take action if there's a steady incline after every weekly weigh in for up to a month or so. In that situation, you'll need to alter your eating and exercise habits in order for the weight to steadily return to its previous range.

Do not let a steady weight gain go unchecked for more than two months—otherwise you'll slowly fall into the yo-yo cycle. Think about it! Do you really want to let all that hard work and willpower go to waste by having to lose the weight all over again.

As a victim of the yo-yo effect, I can tell you that it's a living nightmare having to go through the cycle again and again. It's very harmful towards your body, and it causes the elasticity of your skin to subside causing a lot of loose skin to form after each subsequent weight loss.


Tip #7 It's a Lifestyle Change

Change your outlook
Change your outlook | Source

Your Mind, Body, and Spirit

In order to truly battle the repetitive weight gain/loss cycle, you'll have to completely alter the way you think, eat, and live.

I'll summarize this in the follow points:

  • Don't stop eating foods you love
  • Use portion control for everything
  • Make food and exercise a routine
  • Hold yourself accountable for pounds gained
  • Shift habits if weight gain resumes immediately
  • Obsession=Depression
  • Weigh yourself every week (refer to tip #4)
  • Count your calories

If you haven't noticed already—the following is a general summary of all tips above. This is because they all represent a complete change in how you think and live. For this tip, you must combine the six above to completely end the cycling process.

If at any point you do not follow those tips or let yourself slip, then I guarantee you'll fail and regain most if not all the weight and then some. I've gone through this cycle five times, and I can assure you that you'll fall into this trap if steps get ignored.

However I also realize that every person is different, which is why this guide may not be best for those suffering with underlying physical and mental conditions.

But if you don't suffer with other ailments, then I highly recommend you follow these tips. I think out of all these tips—the most important one is holding yourself accountable because no one else is going to do it for you.

If you don't care, then your body won't care and you will gain the weight back because the statistics are not in your favor. End this disastrous sequence now and don't fall victim to the gruesome plague that lives to torture your body.

What About Your Diet?

How was your dieting experience?

See results

Comments

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    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 3 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      For me it was the opposite. I fell into a good exercise routine but struggled with eating right everyday. I hope your exercise regime goes well. I found it takes very little every few days to establish a solid 3-4 days a week workout regimen.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 3 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      I've got the diet pretty much under control, but the exercise part is proving to be too painful.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 3 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Absolutely, I don't see how anyone can have long term success without changing their eating and exercise regime for their benefit.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 3 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      That last tip is the best. It MUST be a lifestyle change!

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 3 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Thank you very much. It's all about the lifestyle, which people who diet always forget about. They may shift their usual habits for some time only to find out it was all for nothing. They won't be happy with the process to lose weight and will find themselves more stressed out and larger than they've been before.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 3 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Minor adjustments go a long way and you've been successful in keeping everything in check. People tend to go overboard with their weight worries so instead of making minor adjustments, they go to that extreme level and do everything in excess. Their weight might plummet but they'll have low energy, will be unhealthy, and will likely regain all of that weight quickly. Appreciate the read.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 3 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Greatly appreciated, pizza was always my go to desert/snack food so I couldn't resist using an image of it. I would use my own image of a pizza, but most of it would be eaten before I remember to take a photo of it.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Very useful and easy to follow advice here Chris. My weight never varies more than about 5 or 6 kilograms.. If I find my weight approaching the top of that window I slightly reduce my portions, stop eating butter on my bread or walk a little more than usual and my weight soon adjusts to the lower part of the spectrum. I have never really had to diet, just adjust slightly. I agree that if you try to cut out the foods you crave and love completely, you will fail. Voted up.

    • dghbrh profile image

      deergha 3 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      Very useful hub indeed and inspiring too. The tips are well presented and if one tries, these can be attainable. Mainly its about life style change that actually may impact the maintenance of weight at the desired level with the tips that you have very rightly pointed out here. Thanks for sharing this one. Shared and votes up.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      chris this was very useful and helpful.. and that pizza photo damn it looks so damn good... voted up my friend and shared

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 3 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Consistency is a huge part of it. Weight loss shouldn't be a roller coaster otherwise it just won't work. Good luck if you're still working on weight loss and thank you. Wish you a great day.

    • FatBoyThin profile image

      Colin Garrow 3 years ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      All sounds very familiar to me - I think consistency is the key. I lost 16 pounds then put if back on due to lack of consistency. Great hub.

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