Diets only work while you’re on them.
While you’re dieting you are more conscious of not only what you eat, but also how much you eat. You tell yourself, “I can’t eat this, it has too much sugar.” “I can’t eat that, it’s got too much fat.” Obsessing about foods you can’t eat can set you up to rush to satisfy your cravings as soon as you’re off your diet. You can easily regain 5 to 10 pounds in the first week this way.
Make a lifestyle change.
Your old eating habits are what caused you to gain weight in the first place. Going back to those habits when you come off your diet will only result in you regaining the weight you lost. This is the essence of yo-yo dieting. To avoid this you need to make a few lifestyle changes. You don’t have to give up the foods you love. Smaller portion sizes and healthier choices are key.
Use smaller plates.
It’s funny how your brain can be deceived. If you put a smaller serving on a big plate you won’t believe you could possibly be satisfied. But put the same amount of food on a smaller plate and it looks like a much healthier serving and will probably satisfy you.
Eat to feel satisfied, not full.
When you eat until you’re full, you’ve eaten too much. The key is to stop when you’re satisfied. This is especially important when you’re eating out because the serving size is usually much bigger than you need to eat. Eat slower, put your knife and fork down from time to time and drink water while you eat. When you get halfway through your meal, stop; take a minute or two to analyze how you feel. If you’re still hungry take a few more bites then reassess. The key is to look to feel satisfied, but not full. It takes up to 20 minutes for your brain to register that your stomach is full.
Any movement is better than none. Even going for a 30-minute walk each day burns calories and can help maintain a healthy weight. There are apps you can use to count your daily steps. If Fitbit is too expensive, Pacer is an app you can download free to your smartphone. It’s basic but effective enough. Aim for 10,000 steps a day for a good workout.
Beware of mindless eating.
Eating while watching television can be especially problematic. It’s easy to eat far more than you intended without even being aware of it. To avoid this, serve yourself the amount of food you want before settling in front of the television and put the rest away. Eating mindlessly bypasses signals from the brain telling you that you’re satisfied.
Ask for salad dressing on the side.
Salads are healthy, right? Until you add the dressing. The wrong dressing can double or triple the calories in your salad. Dip your fork into the dressing then into your salad. You can do the same with your main meal if it has a rich sauce. This way you will eat no more than half the dressing or sauce, cutting the calories in half. Most of the calories in your food come from the sauce that is used.
Pay attention to the way your clothes fit.
If your pants start to feel snug, don’t dismiss it. You have probably gained a few pounds. You need to reassess your food choices until your clothes fit as they should. This will help you avoid the expense of buying new clothes and starting down that slippery slope to weight gain.
Drink more water.
Most of us don’t drink nearly enough water. Often when we think we’re hungry we’re actually just thirsty. When you’re feeling snack-ish, reach for a glass of water and see if that hunger goes away. If you drink soda, replace one can of soda with a glass of water each day. Soda is just empty calories anyway. Staying hydrated limits extra water weight when you step on the scale.
It’s all about balance.
Life happens. With the holiday season amongst us, you will face challenges. Accept that you won’t be perfect. There will be parties and celebrations rich with delicious but fattening food. Offset those times with lighter meals in the days before and after. It’s all about balance you have to enjoy life. Just learn to make more conscious decisions and you will be able to stop yo-yo dieting and maintain a healthy weight.
Here’s to staying away from the yo-yo dieting and to finding balance this holiday season!