Feel like you’re always jumping from diet to diet and seeing no results? Or, perhaps you’re seeing results, but the second you stop the diet your weight comes back and you try a new diet. While we are trying to do something good for ourselves by going on a diet, dieting can often cause more detriment than improvement—and it’s made worse when we jump from diet to diet.
Most diets work for a short period of time because you’re eliminating something, which means you’re likely going to lose some weight. Unfortunately, this process wrecks your metabolism because you’re changing your eating routine, and then it makes it harder to lose weight in the future. That’s why people who have dieted a lot growing up have a slower metabolism.
Another consequence of dieting is the rebound effect. After dieting, you may experience intense cravings for the things you “cut out” which leads to binge eating. What’s even worse is the self-hate that usually follows. You gave in to your temptation and now you feel shame and guilt. No matter how much you realize you’re human and it’s natural to have cravings, it is hard to avoid these negative feelings.
The Deprivation Dilemma
The problem with dieting is this feeling of deprivation. When you tell yourself you can’t have certain things, your body accumulates this negativity. Your body will go into survival mode which affects metabolism and causes blood sugar imbalances. But feelings of deprivation also affect the mind. If you feel that you have to deprive yourself, then you are telling yourself that you are unworthy of feeling satisfied, that you are unworthy of being nourished, and that you are unworthy of the body you are in. This pattern of thinking can lead to settling in a relationship with a significant other, settling for a career you don’t love, or simply not standing up for yourself when you should. Sadly, this can even lead to never feeling like your body is good enough when there is absolutely nothing wrong with the body you’re in.
How To Quit Yo-Yo Dieting
How do you break the cycle of yo-yo dieting? First things first, take a break from going on any diets. Focus on building a colorful plate of mostly whole foods. Find a fun cookbook that resonates with you and make the recipes each night and don’t take anything out of them unless you have an allergy. Pre-plate your meal and put the rest in a container for lunch the next day. This will prevent you from overeating, which can help avoid feelings of guilt or shame. Sit down for all of your meals and take a moment to give gratitude for the food you are putting in your body. This will help you create a more positive relationship with your food. Make meals rituals by lighting a candle. Essentially, we want to bring the joy back into mealtime.
Cultivate Self Love
Re-establishing self-love will take time. Be patient with yourself. This is easier said than done, but don’t blame yourself when you eat junk food, have a sweet treat, eat two plates full of food instead of one, or eat a late-night snack. It’s okay. Nobody is perfect, even that beautiful girl on Instagram. Speaking of Instagram, anytime someone makes you feel inferior about your body, just unfollow them. No hard feelings, but you’re working on boosting your self-love, so do anything that will help. Anytime you “mess up” your standard of healthy eating, simply say this mantra, “It’s okay! I deserve to treat myself. I am nourished. I am loved.”
Kate Wilke is a 200-RYT yoga instructor, meditation teacher, and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She teaches and works with clients in Nashville, TN. She believes in self-care in the form of colorful, healthy cooking, daily walks with her dog, and a glass of red wine. Follow her on Instagram — @meditatekate