Stop Yo-Yo Dieting With Exercise And Healthy Meals

Do you want to stop yo-yo dieting (or weight cycling)? Exercise, eat healthy and don't stop. Are you tired of losing 40 pounds and regaining 60 pounds? Exercise, eat healthy and don't stop. Are you tired of quick weight loss "solutions" that aren't solutions (the problem gets bigger with each yo-yo weight regain)? Exercise, eat healthy and don't stop. See a pattern developing?

You can stop the weight loss/weight regain cycle with regular exercise and healthy menus. Its that simple. But, somehow its not that easy for many people. Why? Because they buy in to the quick weight loss "solutions" that really don't solve the behavioral problem. The problem is that you need to change your exercise and eating habits to get and keep the lean body you want and need!

If you want to lose 20 pounds to get ready for your friend's wedding 3 months from now, that's great! Don't stop exercising and eating healthy after the wedding! Keep the good exercise and eating habits going---for life. There's no good reason to stop. That's how you can ultimately stop the yo-yo weight loss and regain. Otherwise, you will always regain more weight than you lost.

According to Marketdata Enterprises, an estimated 54 percent of people in the United States are currently trying to lose weight. This leads many of you to buy weight loss pills and "special foods" that promote weight loss. There's no need to do this. Just start with a regular exercise program and eat healthy based on your basal metabolic rate and activity level. Its that simple folks. Oh yeah, you have to be willing to go with this plan for the long-term. It takes a long time to change your body composition to more muscle and less fat. More muscle mass will speed up your metabolism because your body has to work harder to maintain muscle mass.

If you don't believe what I'm saying, listen to this: Most of us will regain almost all of what we lost, according to research, which is why the typical dieter tries a new plan four times a year. "We have this mentality that a diet is something to go on and then get off as quickly as possible," says FITNESS advisory board member Madelyn Fernstrom, PhD, founding director of the University of Pittsburgh's Weight Management Center. "But lasting weight loss requires making lifestyle changes that will work long-term."

"With special-occasion weight loss, it's all about dropping pounds quickly," Fernstrom says. Do this too often and you may find that it's even harder to lose than before. "Constant crash dieting causes your body to cling to the calories you do eat because it's not sure when it's going to get more," she explains.

Rather than keep the pounds off just long enough to impress strangers on your vacation, think about rewarding long-term achievements. Maybe you want to train for your first half-marathon or get in shape to hike the Grand Canyon. Setting a big new goal each time you check one off your list will keep you headed in the right direction.

It's not only your waistline that suffers from yo-yoing. "Repeated crash dieting increases metabolic hormones, such as insulin, and elevates levels of sex hormones, including estrogen," says Andrea Pennington, MD, author of The Pennington Plan for Weight Success. "These changes cause you to start putting on weight around your middle, which research has linked to insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease."

Your confidence also takes a hit. "The more times you go through the gain-lose-gain cycle, the less convinced you become that you can break free from the constant ups and downs," says Keri Gans, RD, a dietitian in private practice in New York City. "No one wants to diet forever; it's hard work."

Here are my 5 tips to help you stop yo-yo dieting:

1. Concentrate on setting the lifetime goal of eating right and exercising regularly with weight training and interval cardio training. This will keep you from stressing about quick weight loss goals. This will also give your body the long-term health it needs. You may need to slowly replace sugary foods and drinks with water, unsweetened drinks and fruits. You could have this as a goal for the week.

"Even if you're doing everything right, your weight can fluctuate based on the time of day or how hydrated you are," says Evelyn Tribole, RD, coauthor of Intuitive Eating. In fact, research shows that women who fixate on counting calories and restricting their food intake report more stress and have higher levels of cortisol, which is linked to overeating.

"Instead of obsessing about every morsel, think about how eating right and exercising make you feel," Tribole says. "Do you have more energy? Are you able to keep up with your kids?" If you take the time to notice the positive effects of each healthy behavior -- whether it's pushing away from the table before you clean your plate or biking for 30 minutes a day -- it's easier to motivate yourself to stay on track.

2. Have a more active lifestyle. I make a habit of walking every where that I can. Walk to the store, walk the dog, walk to the park, walk at the park, walk during your kids' practices, walk during work breaks, etc. Walking will keep your blood flowing, fat-burn enzymes active and calories burning.

3. Get a healty meal plan based on foods that you like. You are more likely to comply with a meal plan that you like. Be prepared to eat less but more nutritious. Base your meal plan on your basal metabolic rate and activity level. You need to maintain a caloric deficit (burn more calories than you eat) to lose weight.

4. Track what you eat in a food journal for a week or two. Until you get good at eating right, you need to carefully watch what and why you eat.

Research has proven that you will have a better chance of succeeding with your meal plan if you keep a food journal. By logging your actual food choices, you are holding yourself accountable throughout the day. You will also be forced to plan your meals better.

In your journal, list food, calories and serving sizes for every snack or meal. List details such as meats, drinks, vegetables, fruits, etc. For each meal, list why you ate--such as you were angry, sad, happy, hungry, etc. This is very important because moods can affect food choices. You need to know your motivations for eating.

5. Get a weight loss buddy for emotional support. Don't try to do your program alone. Research proves that those who workout with a friend, spouse or personal trainer are more likely to reach their goals.

If you want to take your workouts to a higher level and blowtorch body fat, my FREE Bodyweight Metabolic Fat Burner Workouts are what you need. There are 3 levels: Bodyweight 200, 300 and 500. Start at the level you can handle.

About Mark

Hi, I'm Mark Dilworth, Nutritionist, Dietary Strategies Specialist, Nutrition for Metabolic Health Specialist and Lifestyle Weight Management Specialist. Since 2006, I have helped thousands of clients and readers make lifestyle habit changes which includes body transformation and ideal body weight.