You know this happens all the time – gaining and losing the same 5 or 10 pounds over and over again.
Let’s say you need to lose 20 pounds or more, but instead of losing all your weight, you keep losing 7 pounds and then gaining back the same 7 pounds over and over again. Or you may even lose 15 pounds and then keep staying in the same 5 pound range for months, seemingly unable to lose any more weight.
This scenario really should be listed under the dictionary definition of “dieting frustration” shouldn’t it?
I first experienced this frustrating phenomena after I got married. I gained weight fairly quickly because of a sedentary lifestyle and a newly found love of restaurant foods. I’d go on a diet, lose a few pounds, and then the very next week I’d gain back those same pounds. Oftentimes the pounds I gained back brought a few “friends” and I ended up gaining more pounds than I had initially lost. It was a frustrating cycle.
And as you know, I eventually ended up 150 pounds overweight, which made the 5 pounds I’d gain and lose over and over again seem inconsequential, although they still frustrated me.
During the 14 months it took me to lose half my body weight, I did have some short periods where I did seem to gain 3 pounds, lose 3 pounds, gain 5 pounds, lose 5 pounds, etc. Fortunately none of these mini yo-yos lasted very long, and I was able to lose all the weight I needed to.
If this describes your dieting experience, I want to encourage you that it doesn’t always have to be like that, and you can move past this. Here are some possible reasons for a mini yo-yo and some ways to try and break the cycle.
Problem #1: You have reached a balance point with your weight. You are eating and burning the right balance of calories to maintain your weight instead of lose.
Fix: Try eating a few less calories or ramp up your exercise. Try the new National Institutes of Health weight loss tool.
Problem #2: You are becoming complacent. This isn’t awful because it happens to the best of us. It can be hard to continually make good choices.
Fix: Try writing down all your reasons for trying to lose weight, recommit yourself to a healthy lifestyle, and add some new foods and/or exercise into your life.
Problem #3: You are fearful. This is very common and not often acknowledged. I’ve seen this a lot and it usually occurs close to the mid-point of the journey.
Fix: Confront your fears and acknowledge that although it may be scary to lose weight, you are strong enough to handle the changes in your life that will occur as you continue to lose.
Problem #4: You have stress in your life. I found that stress was a very big predictor of weight loss success and the tendency to get stuck in a mini yo-yo cycle.
Fix: Acknowledge the stress and find ways to “destress.” Massage, yoga, time with friends or family, exercise, or even a hot bath can help.
Problem #5: You are purposefully maintaining for a while, even though you aren’t “done.” This is a good thing because this time gives you practice for lifetime maintenance.
Fix: Don’t let the temporary maintenance become permanent unless you are satisfied with your weight.
Remember that in order to get out of the mini yo-yo cycle, you have to figure out what is holding you back from forward progress. Oftentimes it is a combination of things rather than just one issue.
Understanding where you are is very important. The main point is to stay committed because if you just give up, you will likely end up regaining some or all of the weight you have lost.
Ever had a mini yo-yo cycle? Did you get past the cycle or did it cause you to stumble? Diane