Have you ever felt stuck in a cycle of losing weight and gaining weight? Has this spanned decades or your entire lifetime?
I call this start/stop dieting and some refer to it as yo-yo dieting (although yo-yo dieting could also be a cycle of losing 20 lb then gaining 25lb), but whatever you call it, it is frustrating! The energy it takes to be constantly fixated on your physical body and its appearance is just exhausting.
What causes start/stop dieting is an internal conflict between success and self-sabotage. A start/stop dieter always starts out with the best intentions, but within a very short amount of time something is triggered inside them that seems to work against their desire for success.
This self-saboteur, which I refer to in my programme as the inner critic, knows just when to appear, during the moments of doubt, or temptation, or weakness.
It could be during one the natural and healthy weight loss plateaus that occur when we diet. For a stop/start dieter, once the scales stop moving it can trigger a cascade of emotions from past failures. During plateaus, it’s easy to start believing that your diet isn’t working, or that your body just can’t, or won’t lose weight. Yet plateaus are a normal and healthy part of any weight loss journey!
It is during these times the inner critic will begin whispering; ‘What is the point of starving yourself, you’ve done so well, no one will know if you have that one cookie, give yourself a break.’
Ten cookies later you have fallen off the wagon and the same voice starts berating you for being so weak and not sticking to the diet. Now your inner critic says things like ‘See, you’re a failure, you may as well give up now, you’re always going to be fat!’.
Everyone experiences plateaus, usually around every 5kg/11 lbs, because our body needs to adjust hormonally to its new size. These plateaus can last a few days, or more than a week, but they are healthy and expected – not an excuse for self-sabotage.
As a weight loss coach, I educate my clients about what to expect on the weight loss journey, so they don’t use plateaus, or stress, or anything else as an excuse to stop/start/stop/start their diet. This gives a greater sense of control in situations where you would otherwise feel out of control.
So despite the best intentions, lacking the right skills and knowledge could lead to yo-yo dieting. This is how I have made a career in weight loss because it can not only be tough to do this alone, as an expert I can save you so much frustration and wasted time, while optimising your weight loss and health.
Support is crucial and we all need a cheerleader sometimes. In my online support group, I have over 3000 women at various stages of the weight loss journey that share their stories of how my programme is changing their lives. The posts I read every day are inspiring! And they inspire others to stick to the plan because it actually works and benefits are far beyond just weight loss.
So knowing the mind can trick you, emotions can lead to self-sabotage and there are natural fluctuations during healthy, sustainable weight loss, will all help you avoid the trap of yo-yo dieting. But if you think you will still struggle with stop/start dieting, find a coach who can hold your hand when you need it, you know, the hand that was going to reach for that cookie.