Most American Women Have Yo-Yo Dieted
Who among the frequent readers of this blog hasn’t lost and gained weight numerous times? If you’re like many American women, this describes you. It certainly does me in my younger days when I was determined to lose weight. Which I did over and over again in between bouts of gaining it back.
In professional parlance, this is called weight cycling. Many of us also know it as yo-yo dieting. Regardless what we call it, it’s not as harmless as many of us might think.
Yo-Yo Dieting Linked to Health Issues
Yo-yo dieting is linked to inflammation which is linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, unhealthy body fat.
There’s growing consensus that inflammation is at the root of many of the chronic diseases that are affecting us today — everything from arthritis, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and, yes, even unhealthy levels of fat on our bodies.
Taming that inflammation is the major focus of new approaches to self-care. So for those of us who have already flamed the fire through frequent weight loss and regain, there is hope for recovery. If we continue to yo-yo diet, however, we only fuel the flames.
4 Ways to Stop Yo-Yo Dieting
The drive to lose weight is so ingrained in the American psyche, it’s hard to change your focus. We understand. But here are our basic recommendations to help you do that.
- Stop trying to lose weight. Practically, that translates into stop dieting. When you continue to diet, you continue the behaviors that may have contributed greatly to getting you where you are right now with your health. As the saying goes, “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten.” If you think you don’t diet anymore, but still make food choices based on “good” or “bad” or “fattening” or any such label, or if you “watch” your calories, you are likely still trapped in the diet mentality.
- Focus instead on adopting healthy behaviors. Mindful eating (also called intuitive eating and attuned eating) leads to healthier eating for many weight strugglers. Also start to move your body to feel good, not to burn calories. And focus on managing the stress that often leads us to emotional eating and creates a host of other problems as well.
- Adopt a non-diet approach that’s focused on health. Make sure any plan or program you decide to follow for health is truly non-diet. A lot of programs say they’re not diets, but any program that has you counting points or other numbers or otherwise limiting your food intake in order to (try to) control or lose weight is a weight loss diet.
- If you have health problems, focus on healing the health problems. While weight loss could be an outcome of getting healthier, it’s not the cure for health problems per se. So if you struggle with issues such as gastrointestinal disturbances, muscle/joint pains, or even unexplained hunger and food cravings — all problems that can interfere with our ability to live a healthy lifestyle — get to the root of the problem instead of trying to resolve one symptom.
Doing all this adds up to changing our focus from weight to health. It’s what the Health at Every Size approach is about. It can do a body good.
What’s your focus — your weight or how you feel? Can you separate the two?