Most of us have dealt with the yoyo diet experience at one point or the other. Considering the fact that the obesity rate in the UAE is double that of the average rate in the world, with almost 30 per cent of the population falling into the “obese” category, yoyo dieting is something that is quite common here. It all begins in the New Year when we resolve to get rid of our bad habits and become healthier. We stop eating junk food, join a gym, start exercising and watch our diet like hawks, counting calories and hopping on the scale on a regular basis to chart progress. We lose a little weight and we are on top of the world. See, that was not so difficult after all. Out of a target of 30 to 40 kilos, we quickly lose about five kilos in one month. Then there is a break from routine, one that is full of temptations. We attend a wedding or take a vacation, where the lure of delicious food is just too strong. The wide range of restaurants and cuisines that are available in the UAE does not help either.
We give in to this siren call and abandon our diets and exercise regimes. Of course, after this mini break, we pile on the pounds and in addition to the five kilos we lost, we gain back another two or even five. This will make our task even more difficult when New Year comes around next year. If this sounds a lot like you, here is what you can do to break the cycle:
If you fall off the wagon, get back on it: If you fall off the diet and exercise wagon, get right back on. Even a huge meal of 3500 calories will only add 0.25 kg to your waistline and that is easily remedied with a few extra sessions on the treadmill. Don’t get discouraged and let your diet and gym sessions go for a toss if you cheat just once. They say it takes 21 days to form any effective habit. So, keep sticking to your good resolutions and you will get results, eventually.
Be realistic about your expectations: Do not expect to lose the weight as quickly as the contestants on the “The Biggest Loser” show. They get expert help and devote a lot of time and energy to the process of losing weight. We need to work around all our other commitments including work and family and this is not easy. We may not be able to lose 5 kilos in one month but losing one kilo per month is an achievable goal with a little bit of effort and that adds up to a whopping 12 kilos in a year.
Take incremental steps: It is not easy to transform from a totally sedentary, couch potato lifestyle to an active, healthy lifestyle. However, we can fit in half an hour at least three times a week for working out and take long walks on the weekend. We can also ramp up our resistance levels to those sinful snacks that keep calling out to us. Whether it is sugary doughnuts or potato chips that are your particular weaknesses, practice keeping the cravings at bay.
Change the setting: More often than not, we eat snacks not due to actual hunger, but due to emotional eating. We resort to fast food and snacks when we are bored or distressed. Whenever you are feeling low or bored, snap out of it by going for a quick walk, drinking water, or just having a nice chat with your best friend or colleague. The “itchy” fingers will soon disappear.
Fend off Night Cravings: Many of us raid our fridge at night when we are settled on the couch watching late night TV. Sometimes we resort to food when we are mentally exhausted from a long, troubled day at work. The best remedy for this is sleep and lots of rest. Becoming a couch potato is not the answer and can only have a negative effect on your weight and your health.
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