Yo-yo dieting, a pattern of losing weight only to regain it, then starting the cycle anew, is a common struggle for many, and one I experienced myself for many years. It’s a cycle that can lead to emotional eating, binge eating episodes, hormonal imbalances, and an obsession with weight. This cycle is not only physically draining but also emotionally taxing, developing a negative relationship with food and our bodies.
The root of yo-yo dieting lies in the concept of dieting itself. Diets are often restrictive, categorizing foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, and setting strict rules about what, when, and how much to eat. This approach can lead to feelings of deprivation, which can trigger overeating or binge eating when the diet ends or becomes too difficult to maintain. The weight lost during the diet is often regained, leading to feelings of failure and the start of another diet.
One thing to remember here is that you never fail at a diet, the reason why, is because our bodies are always trying to keep us safe and in balance. If they sense food is being restricted and the body falls into a state of deprivation, then lots of mechanisms will be triggered naturally, to compensate. Episodes of overeating are a very natural response from the body when it has been deprived of energy and nutrients. Gaining more weight than before the diet, is also a very natural response as the body’s metabolism is now slower than it was before starting the diet.
However, there is an alternative, more sustainable approach to building a positive relationship with food and your body: intuitive eating. Intuitive eating is a philosophy (founded by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch) that encourages us to listen to our bodies, to eat when we’re hungry, and to stop when we’re full. It promotes the idea that all foods can fit into a healthy lifestyle, eliminating the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ labels.
Intuitive eating is about trusting your body to know what it needs. It’s about making peace with food and breaking free from the rules and restrictions of dieting. When we eat intuitively, we choose foods not because they are ‘good’ or ‘bad’, or because we should or shouldn’t be eating them, but because we know what feels good in our bodies.
The transition from yo-yo dieting to intuitive eating may not be easy, but I truly believe it’s worth it. It requires patience, self-love and compassion, and a willingness to let go of ingrained dieting beliefs. It’s about learning to trust your body again, to respect it’s signals of hunger and fullness, and to honour it’s needs.
When we embrace intuitive eating, we find that our bodies naturally find their set point weight, the weight at which they are meant to be and most happy at. We no longer need to obsess over every calorie or stress about the number on the scale. Instead, we can enjoy food, nourish our bodies, and live our lives free from the constraints of dieting.
To sum up, breaking free from the cycle of yo-yo dieting and embracing intuitive eating is about fostering a healthier, more positive relationship with food and our bodies. It’s about freedom, connection and trust.
If you’d like support on breaking free from the dieting cycle, feel free to get in touch to book in for a free 30minute discovery call with me, I’d be happy to help.
To your health and happiness,