Tuesday, May 29

Yo-Yos Are for Playing, Not Dieting

by Hannah Shaner
Confession: I'm a yo-yo dieter.

Unfamiliar with the term? Hopefully that's because you've found a way to beat it. But here's a short definition anyway:

"The term 'yo-yo dieting' was coined by Kelly D. Brownell, Ph.D., at Yale University, in reference to the cyclical up-down motion of a yo-yo. In this process, the dieter is initially successful in the pursuit of weight loss but is unsuccessful in maintaining the loss long-term and begins to gain the weight back. The dieter then seeks to lose the regained weight, and the cycle begins again."

While frustrating, the effect doesn't just take an emotional toll like I once thought. Women's Health describes the physical effects this way: 

"Not only is the extra weight a health risk, but recent studies have linked the gain-lose-gain cycle to such potentially life-threatening conditions as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, depression, heart disease and cancer."


About me: I barely make it to the 5'4" mark (unless on tiptoe or in back-breaking stilettos), so I don't have height on my side to at least help stretch out my body. 

And I have family issues: A size zero is baggy on my older sister, which really doesn't help in the self-esteem department.

But the main factor is (here comes another confession)...I just get really lazy sometimes. I've been known to eat really healthy and work out for a month or two at a time and then lose interest, undo all my progress and sulk. 

But it's time for a major change - for my sanity and my health.

How will I make the change, you ask? That's a good question. A few first steps come to mind:
  1. Buy more local foods. Katherine Matutes and Richard Kordesh have given some great tips on finding, cooking and growing local produce on this very blog, and it's time for me to join the movement. My first step? Finding some great farmers markets near my house and forcing myself to wake up early on Saturdays.
  2. Get friends to join me. Another recent blog post of Katherine's was about her friendly work exercise competition, and how her efforts "trickled down" to boost her family's movement, too. Maybe I can persuade my boyfriend to get off the couch with me...
  3. Set goals. Taking Craig Ervin's advice, I need to start off on the right foot by setting some tangible goals - like minimizing fast food intake to once or twice a month, scheduling in some type of cardio at least three times a week and vowing to try different types of workouts so I don't get bored.
I'll keep you posted on my progress and new findings along the way - and I'd love to hear more tips for making a commitment (and, you know, keeping it) to breaking the yo-yo dieting cycle!

Guest blogger Hannah Shaner is an account executive at Bohlsen Group, a public relations, strategic communications and event services agency in downtown Indianapolis.

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