5 kilos off, 5 kilos on. Repeat.

You decide "this is it!" and start afresh with a new diet and workout routine. You bite through it and claw your way through all the cravings, the Monday morning blues, the "I don't feel like going to the gym" blues and prohibit sugar and any treats from your life. A few weeks of this and all your hard work is rewarded - the weighing scale says you are 5 kilos lighter.

I've seen my share of people do this. What happens next is inevitably putting on 5+ kilos over the next few months. And then they do it again. And again. And again. It is not uncommon for a person who does these kinda drastic deprivation/prohibition-based diets to lose weight this fast. And putting it back on. And this is something they do EVERY YEAR. Sometimes, more than once a year.

Stop already!

If this is you, you need to stop. That's not working, it never has and it never will. Plot your measurements for the last 2 diets you did - where you started, where you ended. And then, let's get you into the habit of just measuring the first Monday for the rest of the year.

Runner on treadmill in an empty gym
Photo by Ryan De Hamer / Unsplash

Until you get tired of being in the same place, nothing's gonna change. Until you stop fooling yourself that this works, nothing is going to change. Until you stop being defensive about this, nothing is going to change.

And until you start figuring out a new strategy, nothing is going to change. Because you keep doing the same thing, the same outcome is what will happen.

things to know

Listen, I am all for a quick blitz, a shot-in-the-arm to get you going. But even that has to be made via sensible methods. Jotting down my notes over here based on the patterns I've seen, see which ones are useful to you.

  1. If a diet says you cannot eat one entire category of foods, walk away. The keto diet, for example, came by to treat kids with epilepsy. It is not meant for fat-loss but every diet has been appropriated for fat loss. If you are going down this route, why not do the tape-worm diet? (That's a joke. Please don't)
  2. Fruits did not make you fat. Eating fruits is not going to prevent you from going towards your results.
  3. Carbs are not the enemy. The Indian diet just has way too many carbs in it - which means there's not enough of protein, vegetables and fruits. The point is not eating zero carbs but to eat adequate vegetables and protein.
  4. Fats are not the enemy. They are easy to over-eat though. Nuts, for example, are extremely nutritious but high in calories. Be mindful.
  5. Protein is not the enemy. Most of you are in no danger of over-consuming protein - let's first get to eating 1g per kilo of bodyweight and those of you who lift, doubling that might be all you need.
  6. Snacking could be an issue.

a way forward

Move away from rapid weight loss goals. Instead, understand what Coach Dan John means when he says end the year 1 kilo lighter than you started.

Photo by Markus Spiske / Unsplash

Move away from cutting out an entire food group. It is silly and unsustainable.

Eat more vegetables. Eat what protein you can, based on what is in your diet. Eat more fruits. Drink more water. Sleep!

Log your measurements every month. Here's a simple tracker for you to download and do.

Half a kilo a month, while seemingly trivial, is 5+ kilos over the year. The key is keeping it off.

It is easy to lose 5 kilos in a few weeks. It is even easier to put it back on in a few weeks. Get out of that cycle.

The slower the gains, the better.

I know this is unsexy and I have nothing to peddle here. If all of this reeks of common sense, well, guess what?!?

Stop being a hamster on a wheel and grow up. You can do this!