If your anything like me, you have had your ups and downs in all areas of life. Here I will speak specifically about losing weight. After searching and reading and asking those who have succeeded in keeping their weight in check, here are the top 10 tips to end the dreaded “YO-YO” effect:
- Accountability. Have someone in your life hold you accountable. This can be tricky but effective. You have to find someone who you can be honest with and not hold judgement on. In my case, it’s my husband. If I seem to be going in the wrong direction, he might nicely ask me how my workouts have been going or how my eating has been lately. You have to make sure that you talk to this person up front and set the boundaries. Communication is key for this one. I suggest finding a friend or family member who also is going through a similar situation and buddy up with them.
- No crash dieting. Even if you can lose 10 lbs in 10 days, it’s probably not the right thing to do in the long run. Losing weight that quickly tends to mean you are losing muscle mass making your metabolism slower. This results in greater weight gain when you decide to go back to eating “normal.” It also makes it harder to lose weight next time due to the slower metabolism.
- Continue to build muscle. Fact is, MUSCLE BURNS FAT! Most people, women specifically, have the misconception that building muscle will make them look bulky. Unless they are taking extra supplements and super-freaky amounts of protein, this will not be the case. Building muscle will create a residual effect of burning the extra fat on your body. Since muscle is dense, it will tighten up your body making it a lean mean fat burning machine. Residual effect.
- Always have your next goal made. There is nothing worse than throwing hard work down the drain so set your next goal before you hit the current one. Let’s face it, we have all done it before. Does this sound familiar, “I need to lose 10 pounds before the wedding I am in.” It is great to use an event as a motivator. What can happen, though, is that we hit the goal and then not worry about it until the next BIG event. And let’s be real, the older we get, the less amount of fancy events come around. So you HAVE to make sure you have the next goal set BEFORE that class reunion you have been working so hard for comes around.
- Have a cheat meal once a week. Making sure that we eat perfect 100% all the time is insane!! We are not perfect. Listen carefully, WE ARE NOT PERFECT! So why do we think that we can be Super Human all the sudden? Give yourself a break. Once a week, for one meal, eat whatever you want. Again, WHATEVER YOU WANT! Be it a big greasy burger, fries and a shake or a whole pizza pie is fine. As long as it is one meal per week. Not only will it help with your cravings throughout the week, it will also jump start your metabolism making it faster. Yes that’s right, it will help you lose MORE fat in the long run.
- Plan and prepare. If you had a decision to eat grilled salmon, green beans and wild rice or a Big Mac with fries for dinner tomorrow night, I am pretty sure most of you would pick the first choice. So planning out what you will eat and preparing it ahead of time will not only assure you are eating better, but will also save you money. So make sure before you leave the house for work or to take the kids to their sports that you know what and when you are eating next.
- Cut-off weight (weigh in weekly). If you have a goal of being a certain weight, give yourself a cut-off weight of 5 pounds more. That way there is a buffer for those occasions when you may have had 3 weddings in one weekend. If you hit that number, you know its time to kick it up a notch and start being more aware of your daily choices which brings me to #8.
- Write it down. It is a known fact that those who write down exactly what they eat through the week will lose more weight. It can help you realize the areas you need to work on. You don’t have to do this all the time, but when you feel like the weight is creeping back on, get a little notebook out and start jotting down what you ate throughout the days. Even if you just do for 3 days in a row, you will most likely find that you are eating more than you thought or not as healthy as you imagined.
- We are always one meal away from getting back on track. Too many of us think that if we screw up at lunch, the rest of the day is messed up so we either don’t eat to make up for the calories or eat whatever we want and figure we will start again the next day. You can always start fresh with the next meal.
- You are a work-in-progress. This is not an over night change. This is a life-style. It is day -to-day choices that will keep us on track. Work on the other 9 steps and constantly look for more ways to learn and you will break the cycle of YO-YO ing.
These 10 keys have helped so many people achieve and maintain their goal weights. Take them and try to implement them one at a time. Also please feel free to share with others who could benefit from this message.
As always, please keep me updated with your progress.