33 Lessons to Beat the Yo Yo Diet Cycle

Even though we all have different goals and experiences that have brought us to where we are today – I always speak genuinely from my own experience.

My story is about my fight with chronic dieting. I was not a yo yo dieter because I was obsessed with dieting – I dieted over and over again because that’s all I knew about how to get my body smaller and stay “in control” of my choices. It was a fight because I was constantly trying to make my body do things that were unnatural for my own biology – and were ultimately unhealthy.

I just didn’t understand all that at the time. So I would “do what it takes” to make the number on the scale go down, but it was always ended up in a rebounding weight gain.

How I finally overcame my twenty year battle with the scale and food was not found in a special diet or a sudden love for exercise. I didn’t find a magic pill that helped me lose 2 lbs consistently every week for 12 weeks. It didn’t involve starting a plan on Monday and being “good” everyday ever since.

What I did do was re-defined my thoughts, my vision, my goals, and my entire mindset about body image, weight, and food.

But so often when we think of shaping a new mindset for weight loss or eating habits, etc in relation to restrictions, ideals, willpower, and comparison to others.

None of those strategies are healthy for one’s mind or body. Re-shaping my mind involved looking at things in a much different way – in a way that almost seemed counter-intuitive, yet made all the difference to my ultimate body transformation and mindset.

It didn’t happen overnight – it actually took me years to really understand it, test it, and endure it. What I hope to teach others is to not rely on finding ultimate success only in the end result – but to define your own success through the process of change. And I’ll give you a hint: you never really “finish”….your life doesn’t start at twenty pounds lighter and your struggles don’t end after 12 weeks on a program….so re-defining “success” can be an important step to breaking unhealthy cycles and moving into a satisfying reality.


Here are my lessons from healing the yo yo diet cycle and how you can start to define YOUR success:

  1. You can lose weight and change your body without ever stepping on a scale.
  2. Not seeing immediate results doesn’t mean there are no results.
  3. Food is intended to be eaten, not with held.
  4. Your body does not need to fit into someone else’s mold. Your body will fit ONLY into it’s own mold.
  5. It does not matter how many pounds you *think* you need to lose – what matters is how you make choices each day and WHY you make those choices.
  6. The body gives signals that you have bigger issues than simply what you weigh – depression, fatigue, sleeplessness, severe PMS, irregular periods,inflammation, and acne are signs that your body is seeking balance. Ironically, chronic restrictive dieting and other stress can exacerbate these imbalances – while a fully balanced diet full of good nutrition can have a positive affect. So choose nutrition over restriction.
  7. Accept that your body is always changing – and so will it’s needs. Some days you just need to eat more. That doesn’t mean you failed and will get fat.
  8. Changing your diet and ultimately changing your body into a better version should feel good. Period.
  9. Your healthy weight is found in building up your body, not trying to break it down.
  10. “You can eat a cookie and still like yourself after.” ~ via jillfit.com –> and I will add, you can even eat 10 cookies and still LOVE yourself after. The key: the more you allow a weakness to define you, the more it will control you.
  11. You can’t wait for a better time to “get on track” – there is no such time. There is no magic.
  12. Stop thinking about *how* or *what* you should do, and start thinking about WHY. Your why’s determine your choices and your choices determine your how and what. Not the other way around.
  13. Love what you see right now. Avoidance of the present does not set you up for realistic changes. Acceptance of everything that makes you YOU right now also EMPOWERS you to BE the you ultimately want to be – not in the future – but right now.
  14. It’s possible to have less fat and be smaller and wear really great clothes and be in the best shape of your life – and not be your “ideal” weight.
  15. Your “ideal” weight may become less important than your “ideal” life.
  16. Challenges are there to make you stronger! Keep fighting – try to see setbacks as your opportunity to become stronger. You can either quit or keep going. Keep going!!
  17. You don’t have to be “hardcore” to get fit and slim. It isn’t a contest to see who can “get there” the fastest or who can endure the longest, toughest workout or eat the least amount of food.
  18. Just because someone else “does more” or is more “hardcore”, doesn’t mean that A) they are actually healthy B) they are not suffering and sacrificing to have to do all that.
  19. What you recognize is that you can eat anything you want because in fact, it’s not about losing control over the food and calling yourself “a failure” – you actually are fully in control because you finally realize that you are fully satisfied in so many other ways. And that does not require will power or discipline or a “special” diet. That is just YOU re-discovering the real YOU.
  20. You can take an active role in knowing your body and being sensitive to these changes – not just assuming that you are doing something “wrong” or you have failed.
  21. You can’t fail your body unless you totally ignore what it is trying to tell you.
  22. Give yourself permission to be perfectly imperfect. A diet need not be completely restrictive. Take off the chains and start to find balance. Not the kind of balance that where you survive on the cusp of the tipping point – the kind of balance where you THRIVE in a place that will not let you down.
  23. If you are exercising as your means to lose weight, but can’t get over how hungry you feel all the time and struggle with cravings to the point that food and what you eat is a huge struggle and your body is NOT changing, then it’s time for a shift in priorities. Less is not always more.
  24. Don’t be afraid to struggle. The struggle does not define the ending – it makes it better.
  25. If at the end of your day, you don’t feel quite like you “nailed it” – then not to worry because there’s always a tomorrow and a tomorrow after that. It’s not an excuse – it’s the way to live in the present.
  26. A little bit of progress is still progress! What you do now, however small or insignificant it may seem, still matters….you just can’t see it right now. But in time, you will see how you laid the foundation for your greater good and you will grateful for your persistence.
  27. If what you are “trying” to do is not something that you can stay consistent with *forever* then you will likely never find true satisfaction – or harmony – in your pursuit. So take a step back, look at what “harmony” means to you. Relying on drastic measures for the SHORT term to achieve something that you want to LIVE for the LONG term will not create that harmony.
  28. Recognize that you no longer have to live within the boundaries of being “off” or “on” your diet. You are simply choosing what to eat – naturally. This will vary day to day and week to week. That’s ok.
  29. Your goal should be to find physical and emotional satisfaction in this process. What choices support both those things? That’s different for everyone. But give yourself permission to figure it out. Don’t be a slave to your diet, and don’t decide to give up on it either.
  30. No matter where you are, or how many times you think you’ve failed, what matters most is how you choose to live. Choose to keep going even when all you want to do is give up or give in. You need not seek perfection, just seek hope.
  31. Start making different choices and move forward with your goals by learning to train your brain.
    If you are stuck in the head space of “this is too hard for me because ____________”, then it WILL be hard.
    Success is a habit. You make habits by taking action and finding the opportunities to step in that direction.
  32. Your mind must be transformed before your body can be expected to permanently change. Temporary efforts result in temporary improvements. Lasting change requires a change in perspective, motivation, expectations, and total mindset.
  33. Willpower is not the key to making good choices when it comes to nutrition and fitness. If you rely on willpower, it means you are fighting a temptation to not do the right thing – and you can only do that for so long before you want to give up. Instead, strive for the DESIRE to live a certain lifestyle. If you want to be healthy, then the way to get there is by making healthy choices over a long period of time. Take the opportunity to ENJOY this lifelong process, instead of lamenting all the reasons why it’s so hard or why you think you keep failing. Don’t fight…..FLOURISH with what you have!


If you would like to break the yo yo diet cycle, then please contact me to discuss my Fat Loss Lifestyle Coaching. I help you discover balance in your fitness and nutrition so that you never have to diet again and you reach your body change goals naturally.