Losing Weight After Gaining It Back: Years of Yo-Yo Dieting

It is common for dieters to gain weight after losing it, but that doesn’t take away the guilt, shame, and discomfort that comes with weight regain.

For me, losing weight the first time was easy… losing weight again the second time was hard… my current attempt at losing weight is challenging.

Weight cycling is the term professionals use to describe my experience. It means I intentionally lost weight then unintentionally gained the weight back. Unfortunately for me, I gained the weight back PLUS an extra 30+ pounds.

Hi, I’m Ashley.

I’m a yo-yo dieter, and this is my story.

My Background

It all started with a pretty skirt and gold pom-poms. I have pretty much been on a diet since high school. I tried out for the 9th grade cheerleading team and made it!! From that moment, I became extremely conscious of my body and immediately started trying to change it.

This was the start of a lifetime of disordered eating and weight cycling.

Over the years, I have surpassed 200 pounds a couple times. Between the years of 2018 and 2022, I went from 221 pounds to 187 pounds and back up to 257 pounds! The 190’s was usually my body’s set point – what it is used to. So when I start consistently exercising and being mindful of my food intake, my weight can return to the 190’s pretty easily. However, it is difficult to get under 190 and stay there.

My Cycles


In 2010, I became interested in joining the military. At the time, I was about 30 pounds over the body weight requirement of 150 pounds. I started to take my health more seriously, and my body slowly transformed. I credit Insanity® by Beachbody for my body transformation! Shaun T had me huffing and puffing in my living room! Insanity is still my favorite Beachbody workout program. When it was time to weigh in for the military physical, the scale read 145 pounds!

April 2010 – 192 pounds

July 2011 – 173 pounds

December 2011 – 164 pounds

January 2013 – 145 pounds

I lost 47 pounds! Below is one of my favorite transformation photos. The picture on the left is from April 2010, and the photo on the right is from March 2013.


Keto was another game changer for me. I started the popular Keto diet in December 2018 and continued through 2019. Keto helped me go from 221 pounds to 193 pounds. My weight persistently hoovered in the 190s for awhile even though I desperately wanted to get down to 175 pounds.

My Insight

I rarely actually ate healthy.

My first experience with significant weight loss was at the age of 23. I was young, flexible, and full of energy. I made minor changes in my eating habits, and I only drastically changed how often I engaged in physical activity. I ate what I wanted and “punished” myself in the gym. I knew that eating too many cupcakes meant I would endure a second workout session that same day. Now, I am in my 30s and my body doesn’t react the same to this lifestyle.

I didn’t take action soon enough.

On June 22, 2021, I started a wellness journey to lose about 50 pounds. My starting weight was 221.6 pounds. In August of 2021, I faced a few major life events which contributed to depressive symptoms and the start of gaining more weight. I realized I was gaining weight, but I didn’t address the problem at that time. I continued engaging in behaviors that were not aligned with my goals. I was stagnant and unmotivated.

There is help for dysregulated eating.

I felt significant shame and guilt for my secret eating sessions and binge episodes. I was afraid that others would just think I was lacking self-control and self-discipline. The truth is depression and anxiety contribute to eating habits. Therapy, medications, and self-love have been ideal solutions for me.

Bottom Line

Keeping the weight off can be challenging for some people, and I am one of those people. Weight regain doesn’t make me or anyone a failure. It happens, and life goes on. However, I know that my goal is achievable because I have reached it before. All is not lost.

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