Editorial: Get off the Rollercoaster


Don’t get stuck on that endless diet roller coaster.

Roller coaster


Losing weight isn’t easy, but it is a lot easier than keeping it off.   Keeping that new slimmer body after weight loss is the most challenging part of a weight loss and management plan.  In fact, the lack of having or sticking to a plan for maintenance is the main reason most people gain the weight back and usually gain more weight than they had when they started.  If you do suffer regain, don’t fret because many of us have experienced weight loss only to be followed by gaining it all back.  You need to focus on the future and avoid that which you cannot change.  Sound familiar?  It should because it is one of the tenants of addiction.  

Weight loss and maintenance is a marathon and not a sprint.  I’ve read and listened to a lot of motivational tips for weight loss over the years.  Everyone thinks they have that key detail that will help you lose weight and keep it off.   When you listen to enough pointers and see that the person recommending them is either overweight and can’t keep it off or is skinny and never been overweight, you tend to become quite a skeptic.  Weight loss requires that we be realistic in our expectations without becoming overcome by your doubts and fears of weight gain is the key part needed to increase your success. 

So how can you get off of this dieting roller coaster?  We will gain weight over the years if we don’t change our eating habits and activities.  Some weight gain is a part of life for most of us.  Weight management is healthy but only if you do not take it to the extreme.   I am not saying we should not maintain a healthy diet because you do, but we need to do it mindfully.  You need to remain cognizant of why you overeat and make a plan to avoid them.  Just be mindful of what and why you eat and instead of having a Ho-Ho, find a healthy substitute.  A serving of fruit or vegetables may not hit you with that sugar high or rush, but they will keep you full longer.  

Part of weight maintenance is continuing to monitor your intake and weight.  This part is where most fail.  Instead of chronically monitoring their intake and weight, they slip right back to the old habits.  Expecting a different result without making a change for long-term maintenance is an unrealistic expectation.  This slip back to chaos is why I do not like most diet plans that involve someone else making or preparing your food is preparing to fail because you fail to learn how to do it yourself.  Formal diet plans won’t create long-lasting weight loss for most because they have been planned by someone else and you fail to develop good habits.  Instead, choose a balanced, healthy diet that limits refined carbohydrates and other empty calories such as alcohol, bread, corn, pasta, potatoes, rice, and sugars.  

The bottom line: If you are stuck in a yo-yo diet that has your weight on a roller coaster pattern,  consider avoid quick weight loss fad diets and choose a diet you can maintain for life.   Although you need to keep the weight in check, this is not the way to accomplish it.  You need to build discipline in diet and exercise that you can maintain.   It is better to be a little heavier than you desire than to yo-yo up and down and destroy your health.  If you do slip up, focus on the next meal and avoid regrets that send you to the roller coaster.  

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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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