Do you have a hard time sticking with a diet long enough to get results or lose the weight only to gain it back again? Yo-yo dieting can leave you feeling defeated. But you can disrupt the cycle.
The best way to do so is with food swaps. In this post, I share the two things that drive yo-yo-dieting and how you can break free by simply choosing different foods.
Low Carb Food Swaps to Stop Yo-Yo Dieting – Summary
- It is easier to control yo-yo dieting when you eat to stabilize your blood sugar level.
- Choosing eggs over cereal or breakfast bars provides your body with blood-sugar stabilizing nutrients that control hunger and cravings.
- Trading a sub sandwich for a salad slows digestion, keeping hunger away longer.
- Removing the bun from a burger provides a slow and steady supply of energy, helping you feel in control of your eating.
Low Carb Food Swaps to Stop Yo-Yo Dieting [Video]
In this video, you’ll learn…
- Why it is important to keep your blood sugar stabilized!
- Three food swaps that will help you stay satisfied longer.
- Additional resources for long-term weight loss success!
Why We Yo-Yo Diet – The Physical and Mental Drivers
The challenge of overcoming yo-yo dieting stems from the fact that it has both a mental and physical component. For instance, it is easy to grasp the importance of reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.
Yet, embarking on a diet plan can bring up a range of fears, from whether you’ll be able to adopt new habits to how others will react to you as you change. Those mental aspects are outside the scope of this post, but they are easier to deal with when you have the physical side of yo-yo dieting under control. That is accomplished by making different food choices.
When you eat foods like the 3 C’s, cookies, cakes, and candies, or any type of refined carbohydrate, they break down quickly and spike your blood sugar. At first, these quick-digesting foods feel comforting.
They provide a lot of readily available energy directly into your system. They also cause the release of a feel-good chemical called dopamine in your brain that makes you feel relaxed and comfortable. However, this energy and pleasurable feeling leaves as quickly as it comes.
Your body works hard to maintain your blood sugar level within a narrow window. When the sugar level spikes up due to eating quick-digesting foods, your pancreas pumps out insulin to move the excess sugar out of your blood. The result is often a dramatic and unstable drop in blood sugar that must be brought back up with more food.
This roller coaster of blood sugar leads to yo-yo dieting. When your blood sugar drops, you feel bad until you eat more quick-digesting junk food. When you do, you regain your energy and get another dose of feel-good chemicals released.
However, the euphoria is short-lived. Over time, the cells that receive the dopamine down-regulate. This means that you need more and more sugar and refined food to feel good.
Stabilize Your Blood Sugar to Break Free From Yo-Yo Dieting
You can see why it is challenging to break free from yo-yo dieting, but you can do so. It just requires breaking the pattern. The best way to do this is to eat to stabilize your blood sugar. When you do this, you avoid the blood sugar dips that drive cravings. You also allow the dopamine receptors in the brain to reset. This makes it easier for you to maintain a steady and productive diet.
I am going to give you a few specific food swaps to stop yo-yo dieting. What you’ll notice is that yo-yo inducing foods are “quick” foods. They can be eaten quickly, and digested quickly, putting you on a blood sugar rollercoaster ride.
Breakfast Swap to Stop Yo-Yo Dieting
If you are a breakfast eater, controlling yo-yo dieting starts with this first meal of your day. When we think about traditional breakfast foods, we think of things that can be eaten in a few minutes, like a bowl of cereal or a grab-and-go breakfast bar.
These foods contain a lot of refined carbohydrates and sugar. They take very little time for your body to digest and likely cause the release of dopamine in your brain. This makes you crave more food before your next meal. The better breakfast swap is an omelet, or if you are in a hurry, grab a couple of hard-boiled eggs.
Eggs provide a good mix of fat and protein that digest much slower than refined carbohydrates. That slowed digestion causes a much slower rise and fall in blood sugar. When you choose eggs over cereal, you will consume about the same number of calories. Additionally, your hunger will remain satisfied for much longer due to how your body handles the nutrients.
Lunch Swap to Stop Yo-Yo Dieting
A traditional lunchtime meal is a sub sandwich. A better choice is a salad. The sandwich bread or wrap is refined, even if it has visible grains or contains spinach. A salad will take longer to eat than a sandwich and has a better fiber-to-carb ratio.
Fiber is a nutrient that is not easily digested, so it slows the digestion of your meal and dampens the rise in your blood sugar level after a meal.
If you are familiar with my 0,1,2,3 strategy, which are my four daily habits for weight loss, you know that eating a daily salad is one of those habits. For some of you, that sounds boring, but my response to that is that you haven’t learned how to make a great tasting salad that you look forward to eating.
Start thinking of salad as a meal, not a side, and load it with healthy hunger-satisfying fats and proteins like feta cheese, slivered almonds, walnuts, avocado slices, and chicken or salmon. You will not only have a meal that you look forward to eating every day but also a secret weapon for effortless weight control.
I explain more about how to get a daily salad working for you in the video series that comes with the free 0,1,2,3 strategy download.
Dinner Swap to Stop Yo-Yo Dieting
As for a dinnertime swap, trade a burger on a bun for a burger “steak.” Two nutrients that do not mix are refined carbs and fat. A burger bun is a refined carb, and a hamburger contains fat. Carb and fats both supply your body with energy.
However, because the refined carbs from the bun digest quickly, it floods your bloodstream with energy, meeting your body’s needs and then some. By the time the slower digesting fat becomes available, there is no use for the energy it contains, so it gets stored as fat for future use.
By discarding the bun, you slow the digestion of the meal and get the slow and steady blood sugar rise that keeps you in control. I mentioned swapping a burger on a bun for a burger “steak.” What I mean by that is that you can make the burger feel more like a steak meal by piling additional slow-digesting items on top of it.
A few choices include sautéed mushrooms and onions, cheese, and pesto, which is an oil-based condiment that can be used in place of sugary ketchup.
We live in a fast-paced society, but it pays to slow down when it comes to getting control over yo-yo dieting. Less refined foods take longer to eat and longer to digest. Because the nutrients from these slow foods are trickled into your bloodstream, your blood sugar level stays stable, keeping hunger away for hours and shutting down cravings.
The only thing you need to do is make a choice. Pick eggs over cereal, a salad over a sub, and turn your hamburger into a steak burger that you eat with a knife and fork. I acknowledge that making the better food choice is challenging at first, but within a few days, the hunger and energy stability that you achieved will make it easier to continue.
I hope this was helpful. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful week!
About the Author
Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.