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How to Prevent Yo-Yo Dieting

Break the Cycle of Yo-Yo Dieting With These Tips

Celebs like Oprah Winfrey and Kirstie Alley are no strangers to yo-yo dieting. For whatever reason, once people reach their weight loss goals, it can be hard to maintain it. Here are some tips to prevent the numbers on the scale from rollercoasting.

  • Lose weight the right way. Run far away from fad diets that offer quick weight loss, and instead embrace the slower yet more effective way of losing weight — healthy eating and regular exercise. You'll lose about a pound or two a week, but losing weight at this rate means it's more likely to stay off.
  • Maintain your healthy eating habits even after you reach your goal. Losing weight is all about eating a balanced and nourishing diet. So once you see the number you want on the scale, you can't just abandon your healthy ways and go back to chowing down bags of Doritos on the couch. You must change your mindset and take on this healthy way of eating forever. Don't think of it as a diet, but as a way of life.

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  • Get a handle on emotional eating. For many people, overeating tends to be connected to how they feel, so depression or anxiety can cause a person to turn toward food to make them feel better. If this sounds familiar, know your triggers and learn to deal with them in nonfood ways such as with exercise, talking to someone, or writing in a journal.
  • Don't slack on exercise. Burning calories by sweating it out was probably a key factor in helping you drop pounds and inches. Once you finally feel good about wearing a bikini, don't make the mistake of abandoning your gym membership. You may not have to work out as hard, but you still need regular workouts to strengthen your muscles and maintain your new slimmer figure.
  • Make sure your weight loss goal is realistic. If you're 5-foot-6, and you aim to be a slender 120 pounds, you might be able to diet and exercise like crazy to reach that goal, but there's no way you can keep up with that lifestyle. Decide on a reasonable weight goal, and it'll be easier to maintain it.
  • Don't avoid the foods you crave. If your mom's homemade mac 'n' cheese is calling your name every time you go home for a visit, indulge in your craving without going overboard. If you abstain completely, you'll end up wanting it so bad, you'll gorge and end up gaining weight. Make moderation your motto.
  • Don't forget snack time. Eating smaller meals throughout your day as opposed to three large meals can help keep hunger at bay. People who don't snack between meals end up starving by the time noon or 6 p.m. rolls around, which translates to overeating. Eating well-balanced snacks throughout the day also keeps your blood sugar levels steady, which in turn helps you avoid cravings for sweets.
  • If the cycle continues, talk to your doctor. You may have an underlying physical problem such as an underactive thyroid or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) that is causing you to gain weight. If that's the case, your doctor can help get the condition under control so you can get your weight under control as well.
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