Yo-Yo Dieting (part 3): How to free yourself from a yo-yo mentality.
Tips on weight/health management without yo-yo dieting.
My disclaimer: I don't know the answer to losing weight and keeping it off through dieting. If I did, I'd be super rich.
I do know that very low calorie diets (below 1,000 calories) don't work. You will lose weight if you adhere to a low-calorie diet, but you only have a 5% chance of keeping it off. So, I'm not dieting anymore...at least, not in that way.
So, what do we do? During my research, I found lots of suggestions how to redesign your lifestyle in ways that will not only help you lose weight but improve your health. I have come to the conclusion that, for me, nothing short of committing myself to a new lifestyle will result in a permanent change.
Creating the right lifestyle for you
I'm not suggesting that you employ all of these suggestions. I'm merely offering options. You choose which ones you want to use.
In no particular order ...
Choose to concentrate on your overall health instead of putting emphasis on weight only. Assess how you are doing physically and concentrate on areas that need change. For example, is your cholesterol high? Concentrate on lowering it for good. To do so, you'll probably lose weight because you'll need to take fatty foods out of your diet and add more fiber. Or let's say that you don't exercise. Add some more movement into your lifestyle. It'll help your health in all areas...and, more often than not, you'll lose weight too.
Eat slowly. Why? Eating slowly allows your brain time to process what you are eating. You'll enjoy your meal more and feel as you've really had a satisfying meal as well as allowing your brain to register when you are full. Studies show that it takes about 20 minutes for your body to transmit the message that you are full. If you eat fast, you could go way past the satiation point. Doing so will result in eating more calories than you actually need.
Faster eaters are more likely to gain weight.
Eat on smaller plates. Someone had the bright idea for people to eat on smaller plates, suggesting that they will feel satisfied because the plate looks full. I have not tried this. Perhaps the visual illusion of a full plate will work. Another suggestion along these lines is is to use a regular plate but fill up half of it with salad and put the higher calorie foods on the other half.
When eating out, ask for a to-go box when they bring your dinner. So many restaurants are making us gain weight by feeding us huge portions. Put half your meal into the box to take home for the next day.
Protein fills you up. Be sure to get an appropriate amount of protein each day. Good sources are beans, lentils, peas, and an ounce of nuts or seeds. It's good to have some protein at every meal. For more information on protein, take a look at this post.
I read a suggestion that said, "Store unhealthy food out of sight." If you really think about it, what are we doing to ourselves? Isn't it a bit silly of us to work to figure out a way to eat unhealthy food? If we were just a bit more logical, we wouldn't buy it at all. The whole country needs an attitude adjustment about that. We are devoted to salt, sugar and fat. I think if you must buy "unhealthy" food for your family, it is a good idea to keep it out of sight so you're not tempted by it all the time..
Keep vegetables, celery, etc., —nibble food — handy in the frig so you do have something healthy to grab when needed. It's always good to clean vegetables and fruit so it's readily accessible for snacking.
Fiber fills you up and keeps you satisfied. People who fill their diets with plenty of fiber-rich foods feel more satisfied. They lose and maintain weight more easily. For information on fiber, take a look at this post.
Drink water. Water is great for you. Some say that if you drink water before a meal, you'll eat less (note: this is not a suggestion for those with reflux, however). I read that people in a study who drank 17 ounces of water lost 44% more weight in a 12-week study. ...it did not mention, however, how long they kept it off.
Mindful eating. Turn off the TV, the computer, etc., and concentrate on each bite of food. Chew slowly and savor it. Studies show that people who are distracted while eating, eat 10% more.
Keep a food log. Writing down every mouthful of food you eat helps in two ways: (1.) It helps you make better choices as it brings your eating to a conscious level, and (2.) A food log gives you a history of eating so if your weight doesn't drop or your cholesterol levels don't improve, you can look back at your food log to determine why.
Give up or drastically reduce the amount of processed food you eat. And especially give up sugary drinks. When you commit to eating food in its natural form, you will notice a tremendous difference in your weight and health.
Be sure to get enough sleep. This affects your life in all areas. You'll have more energy, a better outlook on life and more enthusiasm to accomplish positive changes in your life.
Exercise and movement. Many of us sit most of our lives. I'll admit it was a struggle when I first started exercising. Now, I am out for a walk every morning at 6:30. I love it and hate when it rains and forces me to stay in. In addition, it is very helpful to just move more.
When watching TV, stand up for a moment then sit back down every time a commercial comes on; or once an hour, walk around your apartment or house. It's just very important to fight the urge to be sedentary..
Stress. Both, getting more sleep and moving/exercising more will go a long way in decreasing stress. Living more deliberately and with intention will also help reduce stress. What I mean by this is to try to engage with more purpose in each activity throughout your day. Rather than flying off the handle in anger, try to mediate a problem situation by asking yourself what reaction is best for you and for the situation.
Learn to cook so you can better control the quality of food you eat.
Design your day for success. For example, take a snack with you, so there is no need to stop for fast food. Work grocery shopping into your schedule, so you don't need to have pizza delivered. Also, shop from a list so you aren’t tempted to buy food you’ll regret. Take some time for yourself each day, too. In other words, be sure to take care of yourself.
These are just a few of many changes that you could make to improve your lifestyle, improve your health, and reduce your weight all at once.
Make changes slowly. Only choose changes you think will work for you. Don't try to start everything all at once. It'll be better if you don't overwhelm yourself. In order to free yourself of a yo-yo lifestyle make changes that are sustainable for you, are satisfying, enhance your health, manage your weight, fit into your budget, make you happy, and allow you to attain your goals without desperation and stress.
And, just because you attempt to make a change to your lifestyle in a particular way, doesn't mean you have to cling to that particular change if it doesn't seem to work for you. I know you want quick results, but that's the yo-yo mentality speaking to you. Make gradual changes, revise when needed, and continue to move ahead toward health with steady steps.