For many of us, yo-yo dieting is the bane of our existence. We lose weight. We gain it back. We start losing weight again and fall off the bandwagon. We lose weight. It creeps back up. It's a constant battle between our minds and our bodies. And it is all too common for us to turn to obsessive diet switching during these times. The logic is pretty sound: if the last diet did not work, then we need to try something new until something does work.
But there is a problem with that way of thinking. Ever wondered why the people who try the most diets tend to be the ones who struggle the most with their weight? It is easy to assume that this is because if you struggle with your weight you are more likely to be desperate enough to try every new diet there is. But in fact, it may be the other way around: You could be struggling with your weight because you keep changing your diet.
There is a reason that lifestyle changes are so popular lately, and that's because changing your habits forever is the only thing which will work forever. You can't go on a diet, lose all the weight you want to, then go right back to eating and exercising the way you did before and expect to keep the weight off. If you eat and live like you did before, you will soon look the way you did before.
And so long as you stick to it, any lifestyle change could result in keeping your weight down. People around the world are successfully managing to keep their weight down eating a crazy range of diets: vegan, Paleo, wholefoods, calorie restricted, junk food, vegetarian, ketogenic, low fat, etc. The fact that so many people, in so many places, on so many different diets are all equally successful shows that it is not the diet which is helping them, but the consistency.
On the other hand, continually changing your diet can make you more likely to regain weight. First of all, this is because different diets operate under different principles. If you follow a ketogenic diet, you are relying on the fat-burning properties of your diet, even to the point of ignoring calories. On the other hand, on a vegetarian diet you need to be careful with your calories to succeed. Changing diets too often stops your metabolism and mentality from adapting to your diet, making it less effective.
Consistency is incredibly important in our workouts too. If you do not work out the same muscles regularly you can lose the muscle you have been building up, undoing all your hard work. What is more, when you work out you raise your metabolism, which helps you burn more calories, sleep deeper, which is vital for healthy weight loss, and regulate your hormones and appetite. If you do not work out consistently you may find you are hungry all the time, lose your stamina, or suffer insomnia.
Finally, consistency is the only way you can truly rewrite your habits. You didn't get to the weight you are overnight, you did not develop your habits overnight, and you're not going to undo either of those things overnight either. It takes at least thirty and up to ninety days to create new habits. This is because a habit is made by the wiring in our brains writing and rewriting itself, and it takes thirty days for the brain to disconnect the old pathways and make the new pathways our automatic processes. If your diet and lifestyle is consistent for one to three months, then your brain could make dieting as simple and automatic as walking.