10 Tips to Stop Yo-Yo Dieting 

Person weighing themselves with the word HELP

Many women are stuck in a practically life-long cycle of yo-yo dieting. Losing and regaining the same weight over and over. Either trying different diets, or re-joining their favourite, trusty slimming club year after year. With each cycle the internal guilt and shame, body image disgust, and relationship with food deteriorates. 

Breaking free from yo-yo dieting is no easy, but it is possible. Here are 10 tips to help you to stop yo-yo dieting. It might not seem like it, but you too can lose weight without feeling miserable, and most importantly maintain your weight loss for the long term. Follow these tips lose weight for the very last time, and quit yo-yo dieting once and for all. 

  1. Stop cutting out food groups
  2. Stop over-exercising 
  3. Stop giving up 
  4. Do your best everyday 
  5. Averages over time
  6. Focus on the process
  7. Chuck away the scales 
  8. Mindset 
  9. Find your why 
  10. Get Support 

Stop Cutting Out Food Groups

Many diets are often characterised by restrictive food rules, that create a binge/restrict cycle. You can’t have chocolate, so all you can think about is chocolate, until eventually you give in and eat a huge bar of chocolate. Sound familiar? 

You absolutely have to create a calorie deficit to lose weight, and that will mean changing your current eating habits and limiting hyper-palatable high calorie foods such as cakes, chocolate, and alcohol. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have them at all. Practicing moderation instead of restriction means that no food is off limits. You will have to make choices do you want the wine or the cake? You will have to eat a portion size not the share size. But learning to include all food groups into a healthy, balanced diet is the key to long term weight loss and ending the yoyo dieting cycle. 

Stop Over Exercising

Right, I am starting my diet on Monday, I am going to go to the gym for two hours every day after work and will sweat it out on the cardio machines. A week later, exhausted, and sore you start skipping days, making excuses, and soon enough you’re paying for that gym membership but haven’t been for two months. Sound familiar? 

Exercise is crucial to long-term health, particularly resistance training, and it will help you to create a calorie deficit. But there is absolutely no need to kill yourself in the gym. General movement built into your daily life plus 3-5 30 minute strength training sessions per week will help you to reach your goals. Simply going for a walk is underrated. 30-60 minutes of moderate intensity walking or cycling spread throughout the day or at the gym is a great start. If you sign up with Ritual Fitness you will get a custom workout plan for home or gym-based workouts that suit your individual circumstances. 

Stop Giving Up

Ate something that wasn’t part of your over-restrictive diet plan? Missed a workout? The default is to give up because you weren’t perfect. Understanding that how you show up on your worst day will define your success is absolutely crucial. Maybe you didn’t have time to go to the gym or get your steps in, but you could probably eat protein at every meal. Maybe you did eat an extra slice of cake or glass of wine, but you nailed your workout and got a PB. You are still moving toward your goal if you are taking some action. Stop giving up at every set-back keep moving forward. 

Do Your Best Every Day

Linked to not giving up above, just do your best. If you can look in the mirror at the end over every day and honestly say that maybe it wasn’t perfect, but you tried your best, and took action that will help your reach your goals where possible then you will succeed. You might think that it is faster to be perfect, but if perfect is exhausting and unachievable, it is better to be slower and actually achieve long term weight loss. 

Average Over Time

Also linked to the above two points. Looking at every metric in isolation is slowing your progress, because you didn’t get your steps today, you’ll give up for the week, or you overate so give up until Monday. One day will not define your weight loss and will likely make little difference. Instead of thinking of steps and calories per day, think of them per week, or month, this gives you more flexibility to have a ‘bad’ day or for life to get in the way. 

For example, if your step target is 10,000 per day. But, on Monday you only manage 5,000 steps, don’t give up for the week. Getting 12,000 on Tuesday, 15,000 on Wednesday, 10,000 on Thursday, 8,000 on Friday, 12,00 on Saturday and 8,000 on Sunday is probably more realistic to life and equals 70,000 over the week. And even if you can’t make up for Monday, if you are doing more now than you would be without trying you are heading in the direction of your weight loss goal. 

Focus on the Process

A lot of people give up because they are focused on the weight on the scale, that doesn’t budge. Or they get to their imaginary perfect scale weight but are still unhappy, and steadily they eat more and move less, and head back into the yoyo dieting cycle. Focus on the actions that you need to take to lose weight. Nourish your body with a balanced diet, move more and in a way that you enjoy. Build habits into your life that are both sustainable and enjoyable and focus on how you feel. Do you have more energy? Are you more confident? Do you feel more comfortable in social situations or being active with the kids? 

Chuck Away the Scales 

Scale weight is a poor marker of progress and sabotages many weight loss efforts. Chuck the scales away. See above and focus on the process instead. 

Positive Mindset

The process of losing weight has many negative connotations, and that is linked to the over-restrictive nature of diet culture. 
You don’t have to lose weight. 
You want to. 
You get to. 
You can. 

Eating healthy food and exercising is not punishment. 

In fact, giving your body a balanced diet that includes protein, fruit and vegetables, and cake if you want it is the exact opposite of punishment. It is self-care at the highest level. As is exercise. Yes, putting yourself through a torturous routine of over-exercise might be, but a sensible program of movement and strength training, is caring for yourself. Mindset is everything, and having a positive mindset over the benefits of exercise on both your physical and mental health is vital for long term success and the ending of yoyo dieting. 

Find Your Why

Why do you want to lose weight? What is it the motivates you to get started and keep going. Let me tell you wanting a big booty like your fav celeb will not keep you motivated for long. Maybe you use your kids as an excuse for not having time to exercise, but as explained in this recent blog, they are probably your reason to exercise. Whether it is to be healthy to join in activities with your kids, to reduce your risk of certain diseases, because you’d like to keep up with your partner or mates or try a new physical activity or career. Thinking about and focusing on your why will help to keep you moving forward even when it gets hard, or you think that progress has stalled. You wouldn’t give up on your partner, kids, family, or friends, so don’t give up on yourself. 

Get Support

Losing weight is hard. Implementing new habits around your already hectic life is hard. Do not underestimate the value of coaching. You likely know that you need to eat less and move more, but how the hell are you fitting that in with work, the school run, swimming lessons, weekend activities and birthday parties, and the kids will only eat chicken nuggets. That is the value of coaching, support to help you implement the actions you need to take, along with accountability, a cheerleader, and someone to rant at when it doesn’t go to plan. You can sign-up with Ritual Fitness here, or send me a message if you’d like to have a chat first, or if you’re not ready yet follow me on social media to get lets of tips and advice.

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