Keto and Low Carb Success

Stop Yo-Yo Dieting

February 23, 2023 Miriam Hatoum Season 2 Episode 38
Keto and Low Carb Success
Stop Yo-Yo Dieting
Show Notes Transcript

Episode 38: Stop Yo-Yo Dieting

There is scientific evidence that we might be locked into physiological reasons for yo-yo dieting. But, do not lose hope, my friends! There are ways to unlock this prison door and cut the yo-yo string. Once you stop bathing your system in sugar with Keto or Low Carb you will find some relief. Make sure to listen to this week's ACTIONABLE COACHING ADVICE for easing into this eating lifestyle. Be sure to download your free 35-page Keto and Low Carb Success Planner to help you to begin successfully shift your eating choices.

1:54      Personal Story
 6:56     Weight-Cycling Pattern
8:00      Boomerang effect
8:40      Sustainability of changes
11:30    Passing the initial euphoria
12:32    Another notch in the belt of failure
 13:04  Buddha's Parable of the Second Arrow
15:08   How a Low Carb or Keto eating style can stop yo-yo dieting
16:52   Health benefits of a Keto diet
17:11    Diabetes and blood sugar balance
19:32   Reduced hunger and weight loss
20:30  Ghrelin
21:08   Leptin
24:11    Ways to do Keto
24:55  OMAD
26:00  Yes/No List
26:25  Lazy Keto
27:05  Fat Fasting
27:44  EF/IF
28:30  Start with Keto if you have ...
29:21   How can you easily do a low carb diet?
30:37  Using Low Carb as a Gateway to Keto
31:45   Stay out of diet prison
32:47  This week’s Actionable Coaching Advice
34:37  Episode 39, coming up

Book: Breaking Free From Diet Prison
Course: Keto and Low Carb Success
Free 35-page Keto and Low Carb Success Planner
My Blog on Forgiving Ourselves

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Contreras  Study
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 Episode #38 Stop Yo-Yo Dieting

You’re listening to the Keto and Low Carb Success podcast, Episode #38, Stop Yo-Yo Dieting.  


Enjoy Keto and Low Carb success by becoming aware of what foods work best in your body and why. Master your mindset to make the journey an easy one. Learn all this, and more, with this podcast based on my trademarked Granny Keto Transitions Program. Join me, Miriam Hatoum, health coach, course creator and author of Conquer Cravings with Keto, as I give you actionable coaching advice with each episode that is sure to empower you and take any confusion out of following a Keto or Low Carb diet. It’s like being a private coaching client while you listen at your convenience!

But before we start, I wanted to offer my free gift to you for just for taking a peek at my course, Roadmap to Keto and Low Carb Success. No obligation – just take a peek! At the bottom of the page you will find a spot to put in your name and email address and like magic, my 35-page Keto and Low Carb Planner will appear in your in-box! The feedback on this Planner has been fabulous and it is yours free for just taking a look over at The direct link will be in the show notes and transcript.

And now to the episode, Stop Yo-Yo Dieting. 

There are many reasons we find ourselves unable to stop yo-yo dieting. This episode explores some of the reasons why and also two ways to cut the string.

1:54     Personal Story:

I am pretty sure that this is not your first rodeo and that you know all about yo-yo dieting. I am the poster girl for it! If you have been listening to me for a while or have read my book, you know that my mother started me dieting when I was 13 years old. No better recipe for yo-yo dieting than that. 

With each new diet I probably lost a little weight, but then – as is standard for yo-yo dieting, put it back on and then some. Then each time I tried another new diet, it got harder and harder to lose anything at all. 

Part of it was the sheer psychological discouragement and boredom and rebellion of being on yet another diet. But a good part of finding it harder each time to diet –was actually physical in nature. We all hear about metabolism slowing down when you yo-yo diet. 

In researching for this episode I came across so much information that made me realize that this slowing down of metabolism and increase in difficulty are not all in our minds. An NIH meta-study which I will have in the show notes reviewed 156 studies to conclude that developing effective long-term non-surgical weight loss interventions continue to fail due to weight regain after weight loss. Weight cycling, often referred to as Yoyo dieting, is driven by physiological counter-regulatory mechanisms that aim at preserving energy, i.e., decreased energy expenditure, increased energy intake, and impaired brain-periphery communication. That brain-periphery communication has to do with, among other things, hormone imbalance that drives hunger and satiety, driving your need to eat more – whether that be ribeye steaks or ding-dongs. 

I am just going to pull from a few studies in this meta-study to show that we can be doomed – or feel doomed – the more deeply we are into yoyo dieting. This was a fabulous study the pulled together 156 studies and if you are interested in the science of yo-yo dieting and why each diet becomes more and more difficult and less and less successful, it is an eye-opening read. As I said, the study, by Contreras et al. is in the show notes and transcript.

 Cournier et al. showed that in obese individuals that underwent weight loss, overfeeding did not diminish hunger or increase satiety. This absence of compensatory changes in hunger and satiety upon overfeeding likely contributes to an increased propensity for weight regain in obese individuals that undergo weight loss. In other words, the more you diet, the hungrier you get with the next diet.

Kirchner et al. showed that notably, the sensation of increased hunger appears to persist beyond the phase of rapid weight loss leading to accelerated weight re-gain. In other words, it becomes more and more difficult to stay in maintenance because what should keep you satisfied is never enough, so either you will always be hungry, or will eat “normal” – not diet – portions of foods, only to find yourself gaining weight again.

Then there were many studies trying to answer the critical question: Is there an acquired obesogenic memory that drives weight regain in order to maintain a previous status quo? In other words, if you are always messing with your body, going up and down in weight and in and out of hormonal balance, does there indeed exist a set point, below which your body stubbornly refuses to go, setting the point higher and higher with each diet? 

The bottom line with my personal story? Not in my mind. Not from being lazy. Not from being stupid about what to eat. I was not to blame. 

Reasons for Yo-Yo Dieting - 

6:56    Weight-Cycling Pattern

Yo-yo dieting, also called weight cycling, is a pattern of losing weight and then regaining it. Your weight goes up and down, like the action of a yo-yo. Often it is because a diet is chosen that is too strict for a person's lifestyle or is just, in general, not sustainable. 

Ultimately, dieters revert to their old eating habits, now with the added emotional baggage of how they feel about themselves for failing to lose weight or to keep it off. People tend to eat more than they would have because of the emotional state they are in of seeing themselves as a failure.

But these emotional and behavioral issues stem from all the physiological reasons that were presented in this meta study. Because we truly and physically find dieting harder and harder with each attempt, we do get discouraged which leads to negative self-talk, and bad feelings about ourselves.

8:00    Boomerang effect

Sometimes there is no emotional component and there is just a boomerang effect of wanting to eat all things that were given up in the diet or wanting to eat in quantities that were not allowed. Well, I suppose that is emotional, but not in the sense that there is deep dark hatred and disappointment in yourself. You just want all the things.

Just a little peek into what’s later in this episode: Finding whether a keto or low carb diet is right for you will stop this yo-yo and boomerang right in their tracks.

8:40    Sustainability of changes

In my work I talk about "diet prison" and what this means. One difficulty is that the chosen lifestyle change may not be sustainable. That might be weighing, measuring and tracking food intake. Many people thrive on this and so it is not a prison to them. They love it! But it might not be you.

The sustainability of the choices of what you eat might also be difficult. I do get my hackles up though when someone states that Keto and Low Carb are not sustainable because of the food restrictions. I addressed this a bit in the Episode 37 on Inflammation and Grains when I gave you the actionable coaching advice for the week. 

First of all, if you come from a place of wanting to better your health, then you are choosing to eat, limit or eliminate certain foods. I am saying no to bread, but I am saying yes to lower blood sugar. I am saying no to pasta, but I am saying yes to balanced hormones. I am saying yes to incorporating more fats into my diet, but I am saying no heart disease. I am saying yes to lowering my carbs, but I am saying no to the ravages that diabetes can bring. It’s all choices, my friends. You can say you are restricting foods, but I turn it around and say I am restricting the onset of horrible health consequences.

So implied restriction can be one reason eating Keto and Low Carb can be seen as not sustainable. Also in Episode 37’s weekly Actionable Coaching advice I talked about taking the time to find healthy alternatives to what you might be missing. My friends, you can make everything from pasta to pizza crust, from layer cake to cupcakes, all be low carb and keto. Stop looking at problems and instead start to look for solutions. They are out there and will make this way of eating entirely sustainable.  If you need help sorting this out make sure you download my free 35-page Keto and Low Carb Planner. The coaching advice from last week used page 27.

I think sustainability is what is in your mind more than what is on your plate. Ever hear of mind over matter? Yeah, that’s it my friends.

11:30    Passing the initial euphoria

Beyond the issue of an eating style being sustainable or not, there are those of us who do feel confined and imprisoned once we are past the initial euphoria of being on a new diet. This euphoria can come from the excitement of all the new and shiny diet tools and recipes, and the hope they bring. The euphoria might be from the initial thrill of the first weight loss. Motivation is overrated. Just put one foot in front of the other. Yes, it can become boring but that’s a GOOD thing. It means you are making this part of your lifestyle and that you are not just going around and around on a merry-go-round, reaching for the golden ring.

12:32   Another notch in the belt of failure

Another difficulty is that when we fail at dieting, we just have another notch in the proverbial belt that says we are a failure, we can't do it, we are lazy, stupid or broken. 

We keep trying one diet after another but the time we spend on it becomes shorter and shorter. The very last time I joined Weight Watchers it didn't last through dinner!

13:04  Buddha's Parable of the Second Arrow

 In my blog about forgiving ourselves, I talk about the parable of the second arrow. 

The story goes as follows: A person is walking through a forest and gets struck by an arrow, which causes great pain. He asks, “Should I just stay here and let myself get struck by another arrow?” 

The first arrow is the circumstance, which we often cannot control. 

The second arrow is our reaction to it. 

We often hear that “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” If you get struck by an arrow and are vulnerable, do you then shoot another arrow into yourself or allow others to?  

This is what happens over and over and over again 

This is what happens over and over and over again. We are following a food plan, “fall off the wagon,” and then continue to shoot one arrow after another into our hearts and souls. 

The second arrows come with the messages: “I’m stupid,” “I’m not good enough,” “I’ll never get this right,” “This is too hard,” “I’m too lazy,” “I’m not worthwhile,” “I hate myself.” 

No matter how perfectly you follow a food plan, you are, at one time or another going to get struck with that first arrow – maybe many different times. It’s painful. 

  • Get up, move on and don’t suffer. 
  • Learn your lessons. 
  • Maybe a prison-like diet is not for you. 
  • Let's see what alternatives there are.

15:08   How a Low Carb or Keto eating style can stop yo-yo dieting

  • Following a low carb or keto eating lifestyle will stop bathing your system in sugar, which brings about cravings and urges. 
  • This sugar bath also causes fatigue and hunger.
  • Imagine if you could get rid of cravings, urges, hunger and fatigue. You would be well on your way to cutting that yo-yo string.

I am using the traditional meaning of the word diet: "The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats." 

I don't want my clients to dwell on the colloquial meaning of the word diet, which is the restrictive dietary-regimen meaning of the word in terms of losing weight. 

Keto and low carb can be seen as restrictive ways of eating because most sugar is no longer eaten, but I prefer to think of them as the truer meaning of the word: just the way we choose to eat. 

The way I teach keto and low carb in my course Keto and Low Carb Success, supports an intuitive eating path to eating this way. 

  • There are many ways to follow either way of eating, and both can include weighing, measuring and tracking your food. 
  • But it is possible to make this an intuitive journey that is sustainable for a lifetime.
  • These styles of eating can be your escape route out of diet prison forever. I promise!  

16:52   Health benefits of a Keto diet 

17:11    Diabetes and blood sugar balance

  • Cutting carbs lowers both blood sugar and insulin levels. 
  • When you consume carbohydrates those carbohydrates – regardless of their source – turn into glucose (sugar) in your system. 
  • Your pancreas produces insulin to drive that glucose into your cells to be used as energy. 
  • Insulin is the key to opening the receptors in your cells to receive this energy.
  • However, when your body is constantly producing insulin in response to your high sugar intake, the cells become "deaf" to the insulin's knocking at the door. 
  • This is known as insulin resistance and once you have this condition there is a cascade of metabolic changes in your body, one of which is the inability to balance your blood sugar, most often resulting in type 2 diabetes.
  • Because the cells are not getting the nutrients they need (because the entrance is locked), we can be hungry and fatigued even after eating a healthy meal.
  • Lowering your carbohydrate intake will often heal and reverse this condition so that your cells can then use the insulin key to unlock the cells and allow sugar to be used for energy, thus reducing the sugar in your blood.
  • With a well-formulated ketogenic diet most people can eliminate pre-diabetes.
  • With diabetes that is already established, there is evidence that insulin dosage and glucose-lowering medication can be lowered or eliminated. 

Normal fasting insulin should measure less than 5. My own experience was that my fasting insulin level was 49! My A1C was often above 6 - quite solidly in pre-diabetic range. After less than a year on keto, my fasting insulin dropped to 12 and my A1C, although mid-5's, was well out of pre-diabetic territory.

19:32   Reduced hunger and weight loss

The hormone system and its network are important factors in this process. 

  • When you have developed insulin resistance from chronic high-carbohydrate consumption, your body is overflowing with insulin, which in turn, affects almost all your other hormones. 
  • Insulin is considered the "master hormone." 
  • With regard to the discussion here, its main functions are to regulate the amount of blood sugar (glucose) that flows into the body's cells to create energy, and to communicate the need to refuel (that is, to eat or stop eating).

Two hormones that insulin helps to regulate that are very prominent in successful weight loss are ghrelin and leptin

20:30  Ghrelin

  • Ghrelin is considered your "hunger hormone" and is produced in the stomach to signal hunger. 
  • When you eat a meal, ghrelin normally will decrease so that you are no longer hungry until it builds up again for the next meal. 
  • When you are insulin resistant, ghrelin decreases only slightly. 
  • Because of this, the hypothalamus doesn’t receive as strong of a signal to stop eating, and when you do, you are never quite satisfied and always have a certain level of hunger.

21:08   Leptin

  • Leptin, on the other hand, is considered your "fullness hormone" and is secreted from your fat cells in the adipose (fat) tissue. 
  • Leptin also communicates with your hypothalamus but in this case, sends a fullness signal. 
  • As with ghrelin, insulin resistance dulls this communication so that not only are you hungry because of the unbalanced ghrelin production and communication, but now the imbalance of leptin's production and communication will make it so you never feel satisfied. 

Dramatically lowering your carbohydrate consumption through either keto or low carb will heal your insulin resistance and thus get your ghrelin and leptin hormones functioning correctly. This reduces hunger and helps with sustainable weight loss. 

I found all this to be true. Everyone who starts keto or low carb are bombarded with advice to start fasting, and I know myself, I said, NO WAY AM I EVER GOING TO FAST. Well, I have to tell you, I went from a 3-meal + 2 snacks + nighttime eating, to one or two meals a day. Maybe I had a snack, but usually not. It was strange – and almost scary – not to be hungry all the time. But it's a real thing, I promise you!

24:11   Ways to do Keto

There are many ways to "do" keto. The "gold standard" is to consume no more than 20 grams of total carbohydrates a day. This is where the prison aspect of doing keto can come into play. There are, however, many ways to successfully follow keto on a more intuitive eating level.  

Here are just a few ways to eat Keto intuitively 

24:55  OMAD 

  • OMAD stands for One Meal a Day. 
  • It is a type of intermittent fasting. 
  • You consume one large meal. 
  • Many people find success with this way of eating.
  • However, some people find that they cannot meet the nutritional needs of their bodies unless they truly gorge on fats and protein.

26:00  Yes/No List 

  • This is a list of allowed keto foods and not-allowed keto foods. 
  • It is an easy and successful way to follow keto and low carb, as long as you are aware of the carbohydrates you are eating.

26:25  Lazy Keto 

  • Lazy Keto is, in a nutshell, keeping your carbohydrates to 20 grams or less, total or net, and just eating from Yes/No lists. 
  • There is nothing wrong with this if you combine it with your hunger and satiety cues.

27:05  Fat Fasting

  • With fat fasting you eat when hungry, until full as often as necessary.
  • Do not have dairy (except for up to 3 TBS of heavy cream for your tea or coffee).
  • Do not have nuts during a fat fast
  • Fatty foods include eggs, bacon, salmon, sardines, avocado and olives.
  • In the show notes and transcript I put a source for more information on fat fasting.

27:44  EF/IF 

  • These stand for Extended Fasting and Intermittent Fasting. 
  • Intermittent Fasting (IF) could be 24 hours or less (with eating windows of 2 to 12 hours).
  • Under no circumstances should you do Extended Fasting EF without guidance and permission from your doctor.

28:30  Start with Keto if you have:

  • Any severe metabolic issue(s) such as
    • type 2 diabetes 
    • PCOS 
    • insulin resistance 
    • fatty liver
  • An inflammatory condition such as
    • arthritis 
    • skin condition
    • inflammatory bowel disease
    • asthma
  • An autoimmune condition
    • Hashimoto's autoimmune thyroiditis
    • Celiac Disease
    • Graves Disease
    • Alopecia Areata
  • A great deal of weight to lose

As these conditions subside or are healed you can add carbohydrates as you feel comfortable, bringing your food choices more in line with a low carbohydrate way of eating.

29:21   How can you easily do a low carb diet?

In order for it to be truly intuitive where you don't have to worry about going overboard, and in order to find the most success with low carbohydrate eating, I suggest that while following the bones of Keto. (The bones were fully discussed in Episode 35 – What is Keto? And Episode 26 – What is Low Carb?) 

  • you minimize your intake of high-carb foods like grains, starchy vegetables and legumes to 1-3 portions a day
  • these high-carb foods come from natural or minimally processed sources
  • you have fruit no more than twice a day
  • anything containing sugar such as desserts and sweets have only 1-2 times a week

The recommended carb intake per day depends on your goals and can range anywhere from 100-150 grams of carbohydrates per day (50 grams of carbohydrates per meal), down to 50 grams of carbohydrates for the day.

30:37  Using Low Carb as a Gateway to Keto

If you are generally healthy but looking for either physical improvements (such as weight loss and less hunger) or emotional improvements (fewer reactions to triggers) then low carb might be a good option either as a permanent lifestyle or as a gateway into keto.

I highly recommend to use it as a starting point for keto because a slow introduction to keto makes the whole process easier. Also the range for carbohydrate consumption with low carb gives a lot of leeway. Just enough rope to feel free, but not enough to hang yourself! Which is right for you - Keto or Low Carb?

I encourage you to do your own research if you need more information to make a decision between keto and low carb, or between the various ways of following keto.  Following either eating style will definitely help you stop yo-yo dieting.

31:45   Stay out of diet prison

To stay out of yo-yo prison there are so many more tools such as sitting with urges, listening to your hunger scale or using the Good-Better-Best (GBB) method to make food decisions. I have bonus guides on all these tools. They are offered throughout all of these podcast episodes as well as my blogs and I encourage you to get all of them.

However, just significantly lowering your carbs will go a long way to reduce your hunger levels, which in turn will keep you on a steady weight-loss path. 

Low Carb or Keto - whichever you choose, can be a sustainable eating lifestyle and a sure-fire way to stop yo-yo dieting.

32:33  The trick is to stop flooding your system with sugar which causes

  • cravings
  • urges
  • negative self-talk
  • hunger
  • fatigue

32:47  This week’s Actionable Coaching Advice:

Open your mind to picking one of these paths as it will unlock the doors of your diet prison and bring you to easy no-fuss intuitive eating.

Download the free Keto and Low Carb Planner from (or the link is in the show notes and transcripts) and go to Page 25: Keto/Low Carb Food list. This is your exercise in solutions not problems! 

Under each category list some of your favorite foods. See? How can you go wrong with your favorite foods? If you are easing into Keto via Low Carb, go ahead and add a starch or fruit category, but remember to eat those gingerly. Keep your carbs as natural as possible. In other words, baked potatoes are okay, but maybe don’t add Snickers bars and cupcakes that day!

Your second assignment, when you get the planner, also head to page 29, and fill out the Keto/Low Carb Questionnaire. Now that you have learned about yo-yo dieting and how lowering your carbs can keep you out of that prison, it will be enlightening to answer these questions with that educated outlook.

If you’ve ever got a question you’d like to ask me or share a topic idea that you would like me to cover on a future episode, don’t be a stranger! I always look forward to hearing from listeners like you. You are welcome to email me directly…

34:37  COMING UP 

Coming up in the next episode I will be talking all about Protein.

So go share the show with your friends, let them know that’s coming up in the next episode, and invite them to tune in with you and learn how to become free from diet prison with my Keto and Low Carb Success podcast.

Until then, go live free from diet worry — I’ll see you back here next time. LINKS:

Book: Breaking Free From Diet Prison
Course: Keto and Low Carb Success
Free 35-page Keto and Low Carb Success Planner
My Blog on Forgiving Ourselves

Cornier  Study
Kirchner Study
Contreras  Study
Fat Fasting Method