I have heard this statement from hundreds of people who are trying to lose weight: they're stuck in a yo-yo dieting cycle and unable to break the unfortunate lose-gain-lose sequence.
I don't blame people for feeling frustrated by the weight-loss world. With all the nutritional messages out there – points to count, low protein, low fat, shake for breakfast, eat like the French – it's no wonder so many people are giving up and throwing up their hands in nutritional bewilderment.
In an attempt to find out how to lose weight, people continually end up in my office asking me the same questions. Should I eat high protein or restrict calories? Perhaps counting fat grams or drinking a shake for breakfast would be better? The choices appear endless and can cause motivation to wane and temporary results to occur. After seeing the frustration of so many people on and off fad diets, I decided it was time to put an end to the yo-yo dieting cycle once and for all.
What is the yo-yo diet cycle?
When I first counsel people on how to lose weight in a healthy manner, many tell me about their weight-loss history. I've met people who are "lifers" in the weight-loss world: name a program, they've been on it. In a nutshell, their frustrating loop of yo-yo dieting looks like the following scenario:
1. They follow the latest fad diet, which causes them to lose a large amount of weight quickly. Examples of these diets may include extreme caloric restriction with injections and/or diets that are extremely high in protein.
2. Finding the diet overly restrictive or feeling rather unwell – tired, hair falling out, constipated or achy joints – they quit their diet.
3. They return to eating as much or more food as they did before their diet. Whether depressed, self sabotaging or sick of feeling deprived, it is not uncommon for them to have "food binges" on all the wrong choices. In addition, and even more frustratingly, their metabolic rate is likely lowered due to the chronic dieting.
4. As a result, they gain back weight beyond what they previously weighed.
5. Feeling frustrated and depressed, they go back on a diet.
Page 1 of 2If the above scenario sounds familiar to you, it's time to put an end to this cycle and take the weight off for life. It does not matter what age you are, you can improve your health by finally taking charge and losing those extra nagging pounds. To begin, just follow the tips below and start to lose the weight – and live your life!
1. Avoid diets that promise a large amount of weight loss (e.g., eight to 10 pounds per week). While it is true that you will lose the most weight during the first two weeks of your diet (anywhere from two to six pounds is typical), some of that is water loss. Following those initial weeks, two pounds per week is normal, healthy and sustainable weight loss. Trust me, this is weight that will stay off.
2. Get informed. Knowledge is power when it comes to losing weight. The more you understand about how to lose weight effectively and the impact specific foods have on your hormonal levels, the greater chance you have of keeping the weight off. Learning about and understanding concepts such as glycemic index, essential fats and insulin/glucose control is key to your long-term success. When you do fall off the health wagon and have the occasional cheat (and you will ... Christmas, your birthday and the Super Bowl come every year!) – you will know exactly how to get back on track and continue to lose weight.
3. Exercise. By doing so, you will be able to have the occasional nutritional "slip" without paying the price of weight gain. In addition, routine exercise will raise your metabolic rate, making weight loss and weight maintenance much easier.
Instead of jumping in and trying the latest fad diet, take a moment to reflect on your dieting history. If you do fall into the category of "chronically dieting," it's time to stop. Get informed, lose weight in a healthy manner and pace and maintain your results for life. While it may take a little longer than the fad diets you are used to, the results and satisfaction of a permanent thinner and healthier you will be the ultimate pay-off!
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Dr. Joey Shulman is the author of national bestseller The Last 15 – A Weight Loss Breakthrough and CEO of The Shulman Weight Loss Clinic. For more information, please visit www.drjoey.com.