You may have heard the term yo-yo dieting before, but what does it actually mean?

Yo-yo dieting refers to the cycle of changing your diet to lose weight, and then putting it back on once you have lost it... and so the cycle continues.

Many people find themselves stuck in a rut with food and get caught up in the yo-yo diet culture. This not only affects your body shape and composition, but also affects your mental health too.

So, let’s take a look at how you can remove yourself from this cycle.

Firstly, and possibly the most important point, understand that a calorie is not a bad thing. A calorie is simply a unit of energy that our body needs to function. Some people need more than others depending on their height, weight, and age. If you want to find out what your calorie range is, I recommend using Myfitnesspal to calculate yours. Focus more on nutrient intake of foods rather than how many calories it has.

Secondly, do not starve yourself! Your body needs fuel to move, operate, and function. If your body is lacking in nutrients, you will feel tired and deflated. Not to mention deficient in vitamins and minerals which affect things like hair, eye, and skin health.

Incorporate more fruits and vegetables in your diet. On average, fruits and vegetables are significantly low in calories compared to other foods and are nutrient rich. This means that you can include more of these types of foods in your diet without going over your daily calorie intake. The added nutrients will help with cell function, and the high fibre aspect will keep you feeling fuller for longer.

A diet which may be working for your friend, may have the complete opposite affect for you. It’s important to remember that there is no such thing as a 'one box fits all' diet. Factors that affect your diet are age, height, muscle mass, body fat mass, metabolism, intolerances, allergies, microbiome composition, physical activity, stress levels, smoking, sleep, etc. As you can see, there are many factors that affect your diet. That’s why it’s important to find what works for you and only you. A food diary is a good way of tracking your diet to see what foods are working for you, and what foods are not.

Lastly, life is all about balance, and that goes for your diet too. When you eat something that you consider 'bad', don’t feel guilty for it. If it’s a one off, it will not affect you. If you have a takeaway on the weekend, it will not affect you. Yes, our body doesn’t need that food and there is no nutritional value to it. But realistically, it’s a treat and not part of our usual diet.

Start looking at food as a healthy energy source rather than a negative aspect of your life and improve your relationship with food for good.

• Adam Robinson is an online-based fitness and nutrition coach in North Wales.

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