On The Table

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How to Break the Cycle of Yo-Yo Dieting

Yo-yo diets are inconsistent in dietary patterns. Constant variations of weight can be harmful to both physical and mental health. Stop exaggerated weight fluctuations and break the cycle of yo-yo dieting once and for all!

How to Break the Cycle of Yo-Yo Dieting

Up and down... Up and down... Up and down... If this movement is similar to your weight patterns, you may be dealing with "yo-yo dieting." Stop those pesky or exaggerated weight fluctuations and break the cycle of yo-yo dieting once and for all!

Weight cycling is an umbrella term encompassing the repeated loss and gain of weight. When the weight fluctuates are related to dieting, it is coined "yo-yo dieting" - so essentially, a yo-yo diet is inconsistencies in dietary patterns. Constant variations of weight can be harmful to both physical and mental health.

Weight changes can vary from smaller (five to 10 pounds) to larger (50 or more) gains or losses. If gaining weight, it is most ideal to gain as few pounds as possible. Approaching an unhealthy weight can lead to a wide variety of further health concerns. Weight-related conditions can include type 2 diabetes, joint pain, high blood pressure and stroke. And the more the weight gain, the tougher it is to lose it!

But the repercussions of yo-yo dieting are more than impeding on physical health, as dealing with weight fluctuations can be stressful on mental well-being. Gaining weight can be discouraging and overpower the motivation to continue making healthy choices. Falling into such traps can increase the risk of anxiety and depression.

When it comes to breaking the cycle of yo-yo dieting, there needs to be some sort of mindset shift. The word "diet" often associates to high standards and impractical dietary practices. Generally, people seek out diets for concrete guidance to lose weight. It is valuable to understand restrictive and specific diets are hard to follow. Since health is not a "one size fits all," health practices should be individualized and promoted as a lifestyle change. Though these changes are encouraged to fit individually, there are a collective set of tips and skills to break the cycle:

Own Mishaps

Let's be real and honest to ourselves: We are all prone to fall down and skip a beat. What's most important is owning and learning from life's hiccups. Instead of dwelling about eating that large chocolate cake, stand back up and move on. Partaking in continuous poor practices turns health goals backwards and can spiralize into unhealthy ways and choices.

Promote Structure

Though life's responsibilities may impede on health, try to offer some sort of structure to your day or week routine. For instance, devote workouts to early mornings, schedule group workout classes on Tuesday evenings, or meal prep on Sunday afternoons. Fostering good habits ultimately promotes structure and ultimately, health.

Quit Obsessing

People tend to become preoccupied with the number on the scale. Rather than fixating on weight quantity, start tending to your total health. Instead of obsessing over the scale, ask yourself "How are my energy levels?" "Do I feel stronger?" or "How are my clothes fitting?" Though the common statement of "numbers don't lie" holds some sort of truth, body weight holds many factors and may be influenced by water intake and muscle mass.

Stay Optimistic

Despite negative feelings, start shaping attitudes to positive outlooks. Though some situations may seem inevitably destructive, try to go in with an encouraging mindset. And most importantly, if experiencing an uphill battle or fall down, just keep going! Attending to negative feelings can ultimately be devastating to mental health and facilitate stress. Reoccurring stress may lead to poor health, as stress can allow the body to hold onto fat more easily and lead to stress eating and food binges.