Embarking on a journey towards better health and nutrition is a commendable endeavor, but it's disheartening when your efforts are constantly followed by setbacks. If you find yourself caught in the frustrating cycle of yo-yo dieting (where you lose weight only to gain it back again) you're not alone. As an Intuitive Nutrition Coach, I help clients break free from this cycle by understanding the underlying reasons behind their struggle and making sustainable changes. In this blog post, we'll delve into five common reasons why you keep yo-yo dieting and give you practical solutions to help you achieve lasting results.
If you're ready to apply these habits to your own life and start making changes today, sign up for our Intuitive Nutrition Workshop here!
1. You’re Focused on Goals Instead of Actions
It's easy to get caught up in setting ambitious weight loss goals, but solely fixating on the end result can hinder your progress. This is because goals aren’t always specific, and they don’t tell you what to do to lose weight. Goals are necessary but think of them as a destination. In order to get there, you’ll need directions.
Instead of focusing on goals, shift your focus towards actionable steps that contribute to reaching the goals. In my nutrition coaching programs, I help clients identify the action steps that are aligned with their core values, rather than obsessing over the number on the scale. Once we identify these actions, we can concentrate on adopting habits like mindful eating, regular exercise, and adequate sleep. When you prioritize consistent actions, positive changes will naturally follow.
2. Your Actions Aren’t Sustainable
Extreme diets and rigorous exercise routines might yield rapid results, but if they're not sustainable in the long run, they'll likely lead to burnout and rebound weight gain. Remember: if you get results from adding or removing something from your lifestyle, you will need to keep doing that thing forever in order to maintain those results. For results that last a lifetime, opt for a balanced approach that incorporates foods you enjoy and workouts that you can realistically maintain. Consistency over time trumps short-term intensity.
As an Intuitive Nutrition Coach, I use basic behavioral psychology to help clients achieve their goals. We know that punishment rarely yields positive change results, and in my experience, clients who feel deprived as they’re “dieting” usually rebound into a binge of whatever they’re missing. When our action steps are too challenging or change too much at once, they leave us feeling frustrated (cue another round of yo-yo dieting). Instead, I work with my clients to make small, manageable mini-goals. These changes should be so small that :
You have no doubt in your mind that you can achieve them during the specified time period AND
You have no doubt that this behavior is something you could balance for the rest of your life
Here’s the fun part about positive reinforcement: once you accomplish those goals, you feel great about yourself! Then you’re ready for the next step and progress forward in your actions.
3. Your Actions Aren’t Flexible
Rigid rules and strict dietary restrictions can backfire by triggering feelings of deprivation and cravings. Embrace flexibility in your eating patterns by allowing yourself occasional treats and deviations from your routine. It's about finding a middle ground that lets you enjoy life while still making healthy choices most of the time. You deserve to take vacations! An enriched (read: healthy) life is one filled with family, friends, and joyful occasions. If you can’t be flexible with your actions and goals to maintain this joy, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
With my one-on-one intuitive nutrition clients, I try to break away from an “all or nothing” approach to our actions. A rigid, binary way of thinking makes us feel like we’re either on the wagon or off the wagon, so to speak. The fact is, life doesn’t work that way. We have various levels of capacity for different tasks in different seasons of our life. By remaining flexible and open-minded, you’re more likely to ask yourself what you have the capacity for, instead of quitting altogether.
4. You’re Choosing to Remain in an Unsupportive Environment
Surroundings play a pivotal role in shaping your healthy habits. Whether it's your job, friends, or family, being in an environment that doesn't prioritize health can make it challenging to stick to your goals. This can be a difficult concept to master, as it requires a hard look at your priorities. If you find yourself unable to make time to eat during your workday, so busy caring for children that you can never exercise, or surrounded by friends who scoff at you for wanting to consume less alcohol, it’s time to take a hard look at the ways you’re communicating your boundaries and priorities to the important people in your life.
Communicate your intentions to those close to you, seek out like-minded individuals, and create an environment that fosters positive choices. Breaking away from unsupportive environments will require change, which almost always comes with apprehension. Seek out people and places that support you in order to set yourself up for success.
5. You’ve Built Your Identity Around Being a Victim, Being Busy, and/or Needing to Lose Weight
Your mindset has a significant impact on your success. If you view yourself as a victim of circumstances, constantly busy, or perpetually needing to lose weight, you inadvertently reinforce these beliefs through your actions. Shift your perspective by focusing on your strengths, prioritizing self-care, and cultivating a positive self-image. When you believe in your ability to make lasting changes, you set the stage for success.
Breaking free from the yo-yo dieting cycle requires a holistic approach that encompasses both your actions and your mindset. By shifting your focus from goals to sustainable actions, embracing flexibility, surrounding yourself with a supportive environment, and cultivating a positive self-identity, you'll pave the way for lasting results. Remember, lasting success comes not from quick fixes, but from a commitment to gradual, meaningful changes that enhance your overall well-being. Your journey towards a healthier you forever is a lifestyle, not a sprint!
If you want to learn how to make lasting changes for yourself, sign up for our Intuitive Nutrition Workshop here.
Cheering you on,