After I had lost almost 200 pounds in a year through the marvelous keto diet, something new started happening with me.
My weight was fluctuating up and down over time. I would lose 5 pounds, gain 10, then lose 20, then gain 15.
This is commonly referred to as your weight “yo-yoing,” a quick visual shorthand to illustrate how it goes up and down over and over again.
At first, I thought each time I gained weight back was actually kind of funny, and I would laugh at the idea of enjoying food so much after my life-changing weight loss that it caused me to put back on some pounds.
But after the 2nd and 3rd time it happened, I started to really pay attention, because this yo-yoing was indicating to me that there was something else going on, something deeper, that I should really investigate and see what the root cause really was.
What’s Going On Here?
I had to dig deep and really think about why my weight was so consistently going down AND up. Was the cause behavioral? Was it biological? Was my body trying to tell me something?
After quietly examining what had been going on during the yo-yoing, I realized the main culprits:
- I had gotten off keto around the end-of-year holidays, when people (myself especially included) usually eat more and pack on a couple of extra pounds
- Even though I’m more of a savory person, I started consuming more and more processed sugar through ice cream and cake as a post-weight-loss celebration
- I had not adjusted yet to “normalized” portions and meal size yet
- I did not establish my calorie macros
- I did not structure my cheat days as much as I could have to avoid over-consumption
It’s important to note here that after personally realizing all these things, I did not once allow myself to feel guilty or ashamed for gaining the weight back that I had.
If there were any “game-changing” advice I would offer when it comes to weight yo-yos, it would be to make your emotions and outlook an absolute priority.
Instead of sinking into guilt, put together a plan of action. Instead of falling into huge loops of shame, explore the wondrous benefits of body-positivity. Allow yourself to vent the feelings of frustration and anger so you can get it out of your system and get back to what matters: self-care.
Remember that putting on some pounds back after experiencing huge weight loss is completely normal. It is not something that deserves self-punishment, and does not mean you failed in any way.
What Helped Me Break The Yo-Yo Cycle
Keep it simple. This issue can be handled just like any other problem you ever run into: Try to find the root cause, and then take small steps towards the solution.
The following were my small steps…
My biggest epiphany through all of this was understanding that I needed to give myself time to adjust to my new body, new eating habits, and also construct a new body-image.
I was still being critical of my body even after losing 170 pounds. There were times when I still thought that all the same flaws were still present or that I was still “imperfect” even though I had just accomplished something truly life-altering.
So the first thing I did was to start working on my body-positivity. By reshaping my own outlook on myself and my body and reducing the size of my inner critic, I could liberate myself from the emotional chains that kept me feeling bad about my physical form.
The New Normal
Beyond the mental and emotional adjustments, I needed to give myself the time and introspection required for how to eat to maintain the weight.
Even though I had so carefully planned out my ketogenic eating plan and lost a colossal amount of weight, I did not put together a plan on how to maintain after I was done.
That was probably by far my biggest mistake.
What does “normal” eating look like? What were the appropriate meal sizes for me? What was the best calorie range to stick to for my body? What foods made me and my body the happiest? What do my new cheat days look like?
All of these were excellent questions I needed to ask myself in order to avoid yo-yoing. Unfortunately, I did not give these questions the attention they needed until much after the yo-yoing became an apparent problem.
At the end of the day, my mind and my body had gone through humongous changes in just one year, so giving myself time to adjust was key. Even though I was 230 pounds, there were still moments where I was still eating like a 400-pound man.
These were behaviors that I needed to carefully examine and undo over time.
It Will Be Okay
When all is said and done, what’s great about weight-loss is that results can always be repeated. If it worked once, it will work again. If I could do keto before, I can do it again.
I’ve said this many times, but remember that your body is a wonderful machine that goes through cycles. Your weight will change over time, going up and down.
Sometimes the weight change will be in your control, and sometimes it will not. Sometimes you will feel empowered to lose the weight, and other times it won’t feel like a priority to you.
Appreciate this beautiful back-and-forth dance with your body, and look deeply inside yourself to see that if any excess weight is something that you’d like to change. If it is, then you can begin by learning the secrets of real, substantial weight loss.
No matter what you choose to do about a yo-yoing body, it’s important to remember that the best thing you can do is to ask yourself, “Why?” so you can get to the deeper reasons behind the fluctuations.
Cale is the founder of Comfy Weight Loss, a cool little online community where he shows people how he lost 170 pounds in 11 months by eating delicious, fatty foods through a focused keto diet. It turns out that changing your life can be comfortable and enjoyable. To learn more or begin your own happy weight-loss journey, go to ComfyWeightLoss.com