If you have been on and off of different diets, losing and regaining weight over and over you have experienced something called "weight cycling", (also known as "yo-yo dieting"). Conflicting research and opinions aside, the nature of crash diets and that set you up for eventual failure can't possibly be healthy for you physically, mentally or emotionally.
When there is a sudden rise on the scale of more than 3 pounds, the worst thing a girl can do is panic and stop eating altogether or go back to a crash diet. Instead, I have a technique tried and true for myself and several of my wellness coaching clients I call LEVELING. I believe it is a much healthier option.
Here is how LEVELING works:
1. Take inventory: Evaluate exactly what you ate and drank for the past 5 days. Take a good, honest look. Write it all down and go ahead and count up the calories consumed, whether you had healthy or unhealthy fats, how many sugar grams you consumed ... you get the picture?
(Side note: It's best if you keep an honest diary of everything you eat and drink every day anyway so you will have ready-to-grab data to analyze for a host of reasons later on).
2. Do not suddenly restrict: Even though it might SEEM like the rational thing to do, it's not going to help your situation in the long run. Going from a 5 day binge to eating nothing but carrots and celery is only going throw you back on the yo-yo ride.
3. Ease back: If you look at your inventory and see you consumed 10,000 calories every day over the last 5 days, for example and you determine much of it was unhealthy fat and a lot of alcohol, let's say, then for the next 48 hours you are going to eat some of those same foods in much smaller portions. If you ate pizza, burgers and beer, you will eat a small portion of the same foods in the next 2 days.
(Side note: "much smaller portion" generally means 4-5 medium size bites of a restaurant portion and if you had 4 beers, you would have just 1)
4. Sneak in the greens. For this first 48 hours you are going to add 2 cups of raw dark leafy greens (you can steam if you like and season with pink salt, a little cayenne for kick and a dash of liquid aminos and apple cider vinegar or lemon juice) to all three of your meals. So, you'll eat a few bites of that pizza or burger AND the greens.
5. Slip in the H2O. Before and after every meal you will drink an 8 ounce glass of room temperature or warm water.
6. Sidestep the Fried and White stuff. On day 3 and 4 you're going to move away from all processed, fried and white foods. White foods include anything with white/wheat flour, white rice, white potatoes and sugar. You can still have a beer or a glass of wine on these two days if that's your thing. Continue with 2 cups of green leafies at every meal and your water intake. Most importantly, though, you are going to ensure that you consume 1/3 of that total daily calorie average you came up with in number 1 with a minimum of 2000 calories along with your water. (this means legumes, whole grains, steamed or grilled meats, healthy fats)
7. Throttle back. Now, on day 5-7 you are going to cut out all grains (you can have 1 cup of cooked quinoa) and all forms of sugar and all alcohol. You will eat only healthy fats, steamed or grilled meats, legumes, raw/soaked nuts and lots of green vegetables including broccoli (super food!), peppers, cabbage, spinach, kale, celery and more.
8. Pause and navigate direction. Now, you can either stick with this way of eating and allow yourself a splurge one day/week or you can do a full-blown cleanse for 7 days if you want to.
9. Level out with 80/20 plan. Here is where everything changes and you truly level out. Observe an 80/20 plan for life where you eat clean, lean and green 80% of the time and allow yourself to consciously go off plan 20% of the time and enjoy treats but try not to do it two days in a row and never let it turn into a binge. You will want to ensure you are getting some clean, whole grains every few days (brown rice, spelt, millet, quinoa) and some healthy fats - just have small portions. It doesn't take much to get what you need.
**Please consult with a Registered Dietician or a Certified Nutritional Consultant or your health care practitioner to ensure this technique is a good fit for YOUR health!
Give LEVELING a try and let me know how it goes!