The summer vacations are almost finished and you suddenly realize that all your weight loss efforts and preparations for reaching your goal weight are pointless. You lose the pounds, then gain them right back, over and over again. This is called weight cycling and it is the repeated loss and regain of body weight. When this is a result of dieting, it is often called “yo-yo effect”. The term yo-yo remind us of some child’s game, but actually it is not game and fun at all.
In order to help you not to gain weight back very fast we asked the best twelve weight loss and nutrition experts to give us their opinion how to avoid the yo-yo effect after a weight loss diet. Here are their advices and opinions:
“Honestly, the best way to avoid the yo-yo effects after a weight loss diet is to stay away from the fad diets. If you simply remove the whites in your diet, specifically flour and sugar, you will see a tremendous difference in your weight in itself. In addition to that, you will feel so much healthier just by removing flour and sugar. Many holistic doctors swear by this! I highly recommend that. I feel any fad diet, you will always gain weight back because of the lack of consistency.”
– Liz Gaspari, Nutrition expert www.lizgaspari.com
“Avoiding the Yo-Yo effect is easy if you don’t cause it. There are many causes to Yo-Yo’ing, but the most common one is the dramatic and abrupt change in eating lifestyle. Going from eating half the amount of calories and food while trying to lose weight, then to sometimes doubling this amount almost overnight as one stops dieting or changes their eating habits again to a non-dieting mode. The body will over respond and over compensate to try and create homeostasis. By the time it catches on you have gained back several pounds and begun to Yo-Yo.”
– Tad Inoue, Professional Nutritionist and Diet Coach Tad the Diet Coach
“Lose weight at a moderate pace in the first place, focus on cementing lasting healthy habits, and sustain those habits even when at “maintenance” (except now with being able to enjoy approximately 500 more calories per day).”
– Sean Flanagan; Personal trainer and nutrition coach
“Learn to love food that loves you back, and share it with the people you love- so there is never any reason to go ‘off’ a diet. “
– David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP; Director, Yale University Prevention Research Center – Griffin Hospital
“Welcome awareness. Set in motion a heightened state of awareness to monitor your thoughts that arise around ‘good’ versus ‘bad’ foods, ‘black-and-white’ thinking or any other habits of speech that tie into the yo-yo diet mindset. Following up that yo-yo mindset thought with the question, “What would be the alternative, sustainable choice, the choice I could feel good about for a lifetime?” The yo-yo effect is simply a mental habit, one that most American’s have. Changing this habit requires consistent and conscious course correction of your thought patterns, just like the one I aforementioned.”
– Maya Nahra, RD & Founder at Healthy Habit Solutions, www.HealthyHabitSolutions.com
“Don’t diet at all. Make sustainable, gradual changes to your overall nutrition so that the body doesn’t fight at all (aka yo-yo effect). For every reaction, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The reaction to strong dieting is the yo-yo effect. Making small changes means that there is little to no opposing reaction from the body later.”
– Dr.Garrett Smith NMD, CSCS, BS www.180degreehealth.com
“I think the best way to avoid the yo-yo effect is to have a completely new perspective on your diet. People are quick to fall into fads and such because they want quick, easy results. You need to be realistic that these type of diet changes are only temporarily and not the best for you. Your only left feeling restricted and unsatisfied, gaining the weight right back on from where you started.
Instead, I believe one should aim for a new lifestyle that will actually last. You need to dig deep and say, how am I going to make beneficial changes for my health? Just because someone can stop eating candy bars impulsively, doesn’t mean you can. As we have different personalities, we acquire unique methods for going about things.
I recommend finding healthier alternatives for any food that you love. You love sweets? Stop using unrefined sugars and incorporate natural sugars from fruit like dates. You love pizza? Start making homemade pizza with gluten-free bread or sprouted grain. There’s always better options for just about anything you eat. Be smart and show that you love yourself by what you purchase or incorporate in each meal.
The key is to stop following others and start to understand who you are deep down. If you find that you are falling back to poor habits shortly after the change, try to slow down by making gradual changes instead. Simply, remember why you started. Visualize a moment where you felt the lowest of your overall health and let that allow you to become motivated again. The truth is, anything good for us, we will adapt to overtime. Our body is amazing in that it learns to adjust and crave what is fully nourishing us. All you have to do is trust the process!”
– Alicia Galantic, Nutritionist, Personal Trainer, Natural Health Enthusiast, Founder of www.healthingyou.com
Key features of weight loss maintenance include self monitoring including counting calories, regular physical activity, eating breakfast. Meal replacements are also important. Successful approaches to weight loss maintenance include consulting with a physician, nutritionist, or another support source; adhering to a stable diet with a limited variety of food; monitoring weight; eating breakfast and exercising regularly.
– Penny M. Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD, FAHA, FNLA; CLS Distinguished Professor of Nutrition, Department of Nutritional Sciences, Penn State University
“What you do to take the weight off are the same things you need to do to keep the weight off. Losing weight requires 90% full on effort (there’s always a little wiggle room), and keeping it off requires 75% effort. It’s less stringent but still requires work.”
– Marjorie Nolan Cohn, MS, RD, CDN, ACSM-HFS; Author of Belly Fat Fix and co-author of Overcoming Binge Eating For DUMMIES
“The biggest factor in avoiding yo-yo dieting is to recognize that the lifestyle changes you made in order to LOSE the weight must be MAINTAINED in order to keep the weight off. Too many times people gradually go back to their old ways and the weight piles on a little at a time. Half a pound one week, half a pound or more the next week. Suddenly you’re back to your original size wondering – What happened?”
– Christine M. Palumbo, MBA, RDN, FAND; Chair, Member Value Committee, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics www.ChristinePalumbo.com
“The best way to avoid yo-yo weight loss and weight gain is to avoid dieting! The only sustainable weight loss comes with long term lifestyle chances of improved nutrition and exercise.”
– Jennifer House, MSc, RD www.firststepnutrition.com
“Stay the course- avoid the tendency to act like you’ve finished the process of weight control when you have succeeded in losing some weight. The battle is not over, and you will win the war if you keep doing what led to your initial success.”
– Lawrence J. Cheskin, MD, FACP; Associate Professor, Health, Behavior & Society; Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Heath
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