You’ve heard of the yo-yo, I’m sure.
The up and down, up and down, up and down cycle of losing weight & getting fit that repeats itself much to the detriment of the person on the “ride.”
Perhaps you know someone who has been yo-yo’ing for decades… or maybe you’ve even experienced it yourself.
In short: yo’yo-ing with diet, exercise, and weight loss SUCKS.
It doesn’t have to happen and nobody enjoys it.
So then why is this an all-too-common occurrence?
What happens, exactly, that causes people to yo-yo?
Some common answers may be:
- Loss of willpower
- Getting too busy in other areas of life
- Going on vacation
- Seasonal events [summertime BBQ’s, holiday parties, etc]
- Lack of understanding how to exercise properly
- Disliking cooking & meal prep
While I agree that all of the items listed above ARE connected to losing weight & getting fit successfully, I do NOT believe that they are the reason for the yo-yo.
After working with & learning from hundreds of people over the past decade, I have come to a very strong conclusion:
The reason people can’t lose weight and keep it off is NOT because they dislike avocados or salads.
The reason people can’t seem to stick with an exercise program longer than a few weeks is NOT because life all of a sudden got busy.
The reason people yo-yo is because their stress management techniques are broken.
A person could be on a perfectly programmed training regimen, and have the absolute perfect nutrition plan in place……
…. But if the response to stress is eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s or drowning sorrows in a drink of choice, then successfully losing weight & getting fit will not happen.
How to Stop the Yo-yo:
Learn and develop healthier stress management techniques.
This is not something hard, just something that most people don’t think of as part of their “diet plan.”
Some common suggestions I share with clients are:
- Take a walk
- Leave the stressful situation and spend 5 minutes in another room or place
- Take deep breaths for 1 -2 minutes
- Use a stress ball
- Read a positive mantra or quote over and over for 1-2 minutes
- Call a friend or family member
- Scream into a pillow (it works!!)
This is certainly not an exhaustive list… there are thousands of potentials. Each person needs to find the one(s) that work best for them.
It won’t come overnight… there will be some trial & error, and it will require a bit of sticktoitiveness.
But once something that works, there will be a less pressing need to turn toward the unhealthy things that trigger the next “down” phase of the yo-yo cycle.
With lots of practice and time, the link between stress and unhealthy responses can be completely broken and replaced with healthful alternatives that yield a better quality life.
In a nutshell: master your stress response, and you will master your life.