There are no doubts about it….weight loss is tough….but even tougher is maintaining that weight loss. Every New Year, many re-focus on their weight or health goals. They do well in the beginning of the year and then slip back into their old ways and gain weight back later on. This yo-yo dieting or weight cycling results in a variety of issues including poor self esteem, lack of motivation, binge eating, etc. I like to compare this cycle to being stuck in a revolving door like you’d find at a hotel…you just keep going around and around and can’t seem to get out! To help you put a stop to weight cycling, follow these tips:
- Change your mindset: No one ever wants to go on a “diet” and being a diet is never any fun, so ditch the word. Diet usually has a time period to it, so instead think of this has a lifestyle improvement. Think of healthy eating as a lifelong commitment, not a short period of time. Fad diets never work as you can’t live that way forever, so instead focus on a well-balanced nutrition plan that incorporates whole foods and portion control.
- Get adequate sleep: sleep is often overlooked in the equation to success as we tend to put a large amount of focus on food and activity….but in reality, getting adequate sleep is just as important as your exercise and nutrition. You need to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep/night to allow your body to reset and repair itself. Lack of sleep or poor sleep habits typically result in poor eating habits, increasing cravings for junk foods, and a higher BMI.
- De-stress: stress can cause an increase in the hormone cortisol and when this hormone is increased, you may experience a greater desire for junk foods or unhealthy foods. Examine your stress levels and think critically about ways you could improve the stress in your life. You may consider journaling, yoga, or meditation to help you. Engaging in regular activity also helps reduce stress as it gives your body natural endorphins that aid in mood boosting.
- Practice mindful eating: Slow the eating process down and think critically about your hunger and fullness factors. Think of food as fuel and you want to choose healthy foods to provide your body with the appropriate nutrients and energy. When we think of food as “good” or “bad” it tends to make us want those bad foods even more, so instead change your mindset about food and work on portion control and feeling confident about your decisions.
I don’t expect these tips to happen overnight, but I do encourage you to examine your life and look at each part of the equation to help you stop the weight cycling and get on a path of healthy living for the long run!