Have you ever gone on a diet, felt amazing for a while, lost a heap of weight, then slowly watched the previous habits creep back in only to regain the weight, completely ditch the diet and possibly even gain more weight than you lost?
Have you done this more than once? More than twice? Maybe more?
This, as you’re well aware has been referred to as ‘yo-yo dieting. Defined as:
“...a pattern of eating where someone restricts their diet to eat less and lose weight stops the diet once they’ve lost weight, eventually regains the lost weight (and often more), then begin a new period of restrictive eating to lose weight again,”
Christi Hansen, MS, RDN, LD,
This may even be the story of your life! Depending on when you first started going on diets.
When I think about diets they remind me of a toxic relationship that we keep going back to because of all the sparkly promises that keep getting made. This time it will be different! This time it will work! Truuuuuussst us……
But do they? Have they? Long term?
Yo-yo dieting, otherwise known as weight cycling is creating more stress on our bodies than any of the food we’ve ever eaten. Weight cycling affects our metabolism, it affects our mental health and it affects our physical health too.
Weight cycling affects our mental health because we put so much value on being able to ‘stick to the plan’ and be in control. So, when we are no longer able to stick to it (diet’s fault, not yours) we blame ourselves, we believe we’ve failed, that we have no willpower etc. That and the mental baggage that goes along with the real and self-perceived stigma that goes with weight gain and being in a bigger body can really make things hard.
When we’re in a smaller body we get praised, this just keeps compounding the belief that smaller bodies are better and bigger bodies aren’t. No wonder we feel so badly when we regain weight.
Not only that but weight loss becomes harder and hard not just because our metabolism becomes affected but because our brain and body are saying enough is enough.
We put so much blame on body size when it comes to all the health issues we experience but there is a lot of emerging research telling us that it’s the weight cycling that is impacting our health.
I could write an entire book on the effects of yo-yo dieting on each of us but the bottom line is, it’s traumatic, it’s exhausting, and when it comes to that original goal of weight loss, it doesn’t even work.
Do you really want to go through that again? You may, and that’s ok – it’s really hard not to. However if you are over it there are ways to stop the cycle once-and-for-all and regain your health and confidence.
Doing so involves re-learning how to tune out the ‘noise’ that is diet and wellness culture and re-learning how to listen to our bodies.
It’s important as well, to know it’s NOT your fault if you’ve been unable to stick to a diet long term. Scarcity does messed up things to our mind – that’s the diet’s fault – not yours.
It’s also about ghosting that toxic relationship once-and-for-all by unfollowing and reporting ads and people on social media that are making you empty promises and false messages.
It’s about making peace with food so that you can enjoy all foods again without feeling addicted, shameful or fearful of them.
It’s about feeding the true need and feeling the feels so that we have other options when we turn to food for emotional reasons.
And it’s about starting to nourish other areas of our lives (relationships, social life, creativity, connection, etc.) so that food no longer controls you.
All of this is possible and more. I’d love to show you how.