It’s welcome news for a lot of us as the holidays near: Yo-yo dieting isn’t as bad for you as you might think. Of course, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle are still better for your long-term success. So we’ve compiled seven tips to help you regulate your eating habits and lifestyle, and stop yo-yo dieting once and for all.
The study followed 1,000 men and women from birth to age 64 and found people who dropped to a lower BMI (body mass index) group reduced their heart disease risk even if they gained the weight back later.
Big Health Improvements from Small Weight Loss
“Even 5 to 10 percent loss of your total body weight can have health benefits,” says Caitlin Griffin, a registered and licensed dietitian with Renown Health. “It can improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, blood pressure, arthritis and relieve joint pain.”
In the past, studies suggested yo-yo dieting may lead to increased cancer risk. Now a new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology is combating that research and encouraging people to try and lose weight even if they may gain it back.
“Do not let fear of regaining weight stop you from trying,” Caitlin encourages. “Losing some weight is still better than none and even better than gaining. It’s important to find a balance in eating healthy and enjoying life. If you view losing weight as a lifestyle change rather than a temporary diet, you are more likely to have long-term success.”
Diet Versus Lifestyle
For many of us, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s mean enjoying family, and often that’s around the dinner table with comfort foods like mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls with melted butter, and pies, just to name a few.
So, how can you enjoy the upcoming holidays without feeling the need to diet one week and overindulge the next?
“Reward yourself for staying on track by enjoying a special treat,” Caitlin suggests. “Then get right back to it the next day.”
7 Tips for Your Every Day Diet
If you struggle with keeping your diet on track year-round, try these tips to help you transition from an on-and-off dieter to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
- Watch your portions. Eat from a smaller plate and avoid second servings.
- Eat mindfully and slowly. Take away distractions and focus on eating. And eat slowly so you know when you’re full.
- Don’t rely solely on willpower. Get rid of junk food in the house and keep healthy snacks at work so you aren’t tempted by other options.
- Eat enough protein. Add lean protein– such as white meat poultry, low- or non-fat dairy and beans — to meals throughout the day to help you stay full.
- Don’t drink your calories. Stick to water and other calorie-free drinks such as unsweetened tea. Calories in beverages can add up quickly especially when you indulge in alcohol at holiday dinners and parties.
- Get more sleep. Studies show that less than 6 hours of sleep a night can lead to higher calorie intake, lower metabolic rate and increased abdominal fat.
- Get moving. Find something you enjoy doing and do it. It’s okay to keep it short at first then challenge yourself to increase your time, speed or resistance. For weight loss, it is best to work up to 300 minutes of moderate exercise per week.
And remember a safe, long-term goal for weight loss is about 10 percent of your starting weight.
You can’t safely drop 10 pounds in a week, aim for 1 to 2 pounds each week instead and stay focused on your end goal.