How To Break Out Of The Diet Cycle

This week we are joined by Robyn from Achieve Oxfordshire to explore how to break out of the diet cycle.

We’ve all heard that if you want to lose weight, you need to eat less and move more. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

The reality is much more difficult though. Changing our behaviours can be really challenging, and changing them in a way that we can sustain those new behaviours for the long term is even more so. Dieting culture doesn’t help us in this either, and years of yoyo dieting can leave us stuck in the diet cycle feeling deflated and unmotivated and worthless.

diet cycle diagram

Far too often, the diet cycle starts with restrictions, limitations, making ourselves go hungry and missing out on things we love. This might aid weight loss in the short term, but it leads to feeling deprived, which means we start focussing on all the things we’re missing out on, and all the things we can’t eat, which just makes us want them more and more. That’s when cravings kick in, building stronger and more frequent until we just can’t stand it anymore.

A blow out inevitably follows. We eat the foods we’ve been craving for, and then we eat a whole lot more. This blow out might last an afternoon, a week, a month or longer, and then at some point, shame, guilt and feelings of failure kicks in. We feel awful that we’ve let all of our hard work go to waste. We berate ourselves and give ourselves a hard time, and finally, we make the decision to go back on a diet in an effort to lose the weight we’ve just regained.  And so the cycle starts again.

Not only is this cycle really unhelpful in terms of weight loss and our health, but it can damage our self-esteem. It leads us to believe we don’t have what it takes to lose weight and keep it off, and that when it comes to weight, we are complete failures. Often, diets, eating healthy food and exercise all take on negative meanings, and the very thought of trying to lose weight causes our hearts to sink. As Tom Kerridge says, “It’s not surprising the first 3 letters of diet are ‘die’ – they’re painful!”.

So, what can we do to change this cycle?  How can we not only lose the weight, but actually keep it off for good?

The answer? We need a completely different approach. That’s why here at One you Surrey, we recommend throwing diets out the window.  No restrictions, no forbidden foods, no crazy exercise regimes, no quick fixes.  Our focus is on long term sustainable change, and we’d like to share our 5 top tips for long term, sustainable weight loss, to give you a head start for your weight loss journey in 2022.

Start small. 

Small changes add up over time, and every change matters. Be realistic and keep your changes small. That will mean you’re far more likely to achieve them, which feels great and motivates you to keep going.

Focus on one thing at a time. 

Focussing on too many things at once is really difficult and unlikely to be sustainable. Start with one thing, and really focus on that thing until it becomes part of your routine. Then you’ll be ready to choose what comes next.

Think long term.

Aim for changes which will become your new normal. These should be changes that you want to integrate into your life from now on.

Focus on adding things in rather than taking them away.

Often with weight loss the focus is on what we can’t have. No chocolate or sweets. No fun in life! Instead, focus on things you’d like to add in, and often other things will disappear naturally anyway. For example, adding in a tasty and nutritious breakfast can take away the need for high fat, high sugar snacks later in the morning.

Plan your goal fully.

Consider what will need to happen in order for your goal to become a reality. If you want to go for a 10 minute walk each day, what will you need to support that? Good shoes? A windproof jacket? An entry in your calendar each day reminding you get out while it’s still light outside? Thinking through your goal and what’s needed to support that will dramatically increase your chances of making it a reality.

So when it comes to weight loss, we recommend the following…

Step away from the diet cycle. Identify small, targeted changes you can make and sustain. Think through exactly what needs to happen in order to achieve each change.  Focus on the change you want to make and lock it in, then choose the next change to be made.  Focus on adding things in rather than taking them away.  And look at the whole picture – food, drinks, physical activity, sleep and psychology. This is the recipe for long term, gradual but sustainable weight loss, without driving yourself crazy in the process.

Try gloji, our FREE digital weight loss programme. We’ll help you break the diet cycle once and for all and show you how life is better with gloji!

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