Are you a yo-yo dieter?
If so, you’re not alone.
I know a now-thin woman who says she’s lost 1600 pounds.
Ask her about it and she’ll tell you she lost 40 pounds, 40 times over the course of her life.
Over the years she had gone to weight loss group meetings and tried every name brand diet.
I've seen her eating nothing but grapefruit and trying a drink made with lemon and cayenne paper. Each and every time she’d brag that she’s lost weight.
Then I’d see her again and all her weight had come back. Sometimes she gained even more than she’d lost.
That is what yo-yo dieting is all about.
It’s losing weight and then gaining it back, over and over again. It’s just like a yo-yo, going up and down.
A person who has a history of yo-yo dieting can take the weight off, but then it comes back every time.
In many cases, they gain more weight than they lose, so their weight keeps inching up. Every time they try a new diet it gets harder to drop the pounds.
And as the weight comes back, they get more and more frustrated.
If you are a yo-yo dieter, you need to know a few things.
You need to know that it’s just not good for you.
You need to know what is causing it.
You need to know what it’s doing to your health.
And you need to know how to stop it and switch to something that works.
What Causes Yo-Yo Dieting?
There are a lot of reasons why diets fail and the weight comes back, but the most common reason is that your original diet is too hard.
Cutting back too much on food never works!
Your body reacts badly.
You’re always hungry.
Your metabolism slows.
You feel deprived all the time.
The same is true for pledging to exercise your weight off.
If you work at it too hard you just exhaust yourself – and make yourself hungry too!
Sometimes it’s your hunger that drives you back to your old eating habits.
Sometimes it’s just that you can’t stand the same dull food over and over again. Most people end up falling off the diet wagon.
They binge eat far more than they did before. They stop working out because they’re exhausted or too sore.
One way or another, if your diet or fitness plan is that hard and you just won’t be able to keep it up.
What makes matters worse is the fact that once you start eating again, you’re mad at yourself and depressed. This leads to emotional eating, and that’s what really packs the pounds back on.
9 Dangers of Yo-Yo Dieting
Yo-yo dieting is a problem for many reasons. The most obvious problem is that it just doesn’t take the weight off for any length of time.
But there are also many health problems that can come with yo-yo diets. These include:
1. You Gain Your Weight Back, and More
Studies have shown that the more diets you go on, the more weight you gain. There’s a reason for this.
When your body is cheated of the food that it needs, it thinks that you’re starving and stores more fat. The more often this happens, the greater the impact of this effect.
Though most people know that starving yourself makes your metabolism slow down, they're not aware of these long-term effects.
It's a lot like the way that animals are able to hibernate through the winter. Their bodies have learned to store fat for long periods of time.
One study found that people who go on a lot of diets end up gaining more weight over their lifetime than people who never diet at all. It’s because the nondieters’ bodies don’t think they need to store fat for the future.
2. Tough Diets Are Bad for Your Stomach Health
When you starve yourself, you do more to your stomach than just leaving it wanting more.
You also have a big effect on the bacteria that your gut needs to keep a healthy balance and digest your food properly.
This can lead to serious sicknesses. It also switches your normal stomach environment from what is found in healthy people to what is found in obese people.
This means that once you start eating normally again, you gain weight faster than you did before.
3. Yo-Yo Dieting is Depressing
When you put yourself through a constant cycle of starving yourself and then gaining the weight back, it’s depressing.
You start to question your worth and develop a negative feeling about your own body.
You also end up cheating yourself of things that you enjoy, and that crushes your feeling of worth.
Simply put, yo-yo dieting can make you feel bad about yourself.
4. Yo-Yo Dieting Doesn’t Work and Leaves You Unhealthy
Being overweight is just not good for you.
It puts you at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other illnesses.
When you yo-yo diet, you are not putting yourself on a path to better health.
Studies show that people who yo-yo diet and who already have heart disease have two times the chance of having a heart attack according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
According to Sripal Bangalore, a cardiologist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City:
“Our finding suggest that we need to be concerned about weight fluctuation in this group that is already at high risk due to coronary disease.”
The greater the range of weight gained and lost, the greater the risk. The same was also true for being diagnosed with diabetes.
5. Yo-Yo Dieting Has You Thinking About the Wrong Things
The kinds of diets that people who yo-yo diet try all spend too much time on numbers.
They count calories and watch the scale.
They push you to focus on the wrong things instead of thinking about adding healthy habits and eating foods that are good for you.
A person who thinks of their eating as either being “on” or “off” of a diet sets them up for failure because when they are no longer on a diet, they go back to their old bad eating habits.
6. Yo-Yo Dieting Can Affect Your Metabolism for Life
Everybody has a certain rate at which their body burns calories. This is known as your basal metabolic rate.
You may know that you can push this up by eating certain foods or by exercising and building muscle.
But did you know that too much dieting can actually push it down permanently?
If you deprive your body of the calories that it needs for too long, it directly changes your rate of calorie burn. That’s a hard thing to fix.
7. Yo-Yo Dieting Eats into Muscle
When you starve your body of the food that it needs, you end up eating into muscle and fat that your body needs to keep healthy.
This causes real stress to your body.
Your level of the stress hormone cortisol goes up and that causes damage to your arteries and increases inflammation.
8. Yo-Yo Dieting Can Shift Your Fat to Places Where You Don’t Want It
Did you ever notice that when you lose weight, it comes off of your face first?
That’s because we tend to lose weight from top to bottom. We also gain weight from bottom to top.
So, if you are constantly gaining and losing weight, the weight at the bottom tends to stay longest and get added to first.
You end up with more fat on your hips and belly.
9. Yo-Yo Dieting Increases Your Inflammatory Response
Inflammation is what can lead to a number of serious health conditions.
These include hypertension, heart attack, stroke, and metabolic syndrome.
It also raises your risk of diabetes.
Studies have shown that the more you weight cycle, the higher your chance of having this reaction.
So, we know that yo-yo dieting doesn’t work. And now we know that it's terrible for your health.
What is the solution to losing weight?
How to Break the Yo-Yo Cycle Forever
The real problem with yo-yo dieting is that people can’t keep the weight off because of the extreme approach they take to losing it.
By choosing a diet strategy that is not sustainable, they end up quickly gaining the weight back.
What’s the right strategy?
Start with breaking the bad diet habit. That means more than choosing the wrong method of losing weight.
You also need to change your approach to food in general.
Here are some helpful tips that will put you on the road to permanent weight loss, and better health too.
Stop thinking of food as a reward or a comfort.
The whole idea of comfort food is a disaster waiting to happen.
If your answer to feeling bad or stressed is to find something fattening to eat, you’re just going to end up feeling worse.
The worse you feel when you’re eating to soothe yourself, the less you are paying attention to what you’re eating and how much you’re eating.
Fix it: Sit down and write down other, better choices to make you feel good.
Maybe it’s going for a walk or reading a magazine article.
Maybe playing with your cat lifts your spirits, or talking to a friend.
Make a long list that you can choose from, and then instead of opening the fridge when you’re blue, take out your list and pick your best option.
Stop playing the numbers game
This goes for counting calories as well as setting yourself a weight loss target.
If you tell yourself you have to hit a target weight, you are setting yourself up for a fall.
The same goes for choosing a diet that means you are constantly thinking of food in terms of its numerical value.
Fix it: Instead, make your goal adding healthy habits or eating more healthy food.
When you tell yourself to start drinking more water each day, you have set yourself an achievable goal, and then you can add on to that.
At the same time, learn more about what foods are good for you and start changing your food shopping and eating habits.
By pledging to cut our processed foods and adding more whole, fresh foods, you will see a slow, steady, sustainable change in your body and your weight.
You'll also start feeling a lot better, and you’ll have more energy.
Add exercise to your weekly routine
Where yo-yo diets often involve too much exercise all at once.
Fix it: If you commit to working out every other day, or three times a week, you will find it easier to fit into your schedule.
You can also help your efforts by being more mindful about building in steps to your day.
Choose a parking space that’s farther away from your destination.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
If you make these things into a habit instead of something you’re doing for a short-term weight-loss goal, you’ll be adopting healthy habits that last a life time and keep any weight that you lose off permanently.
Make sure that you are eating plenty of food
Starving yourself kicks your brain into starvation mode and will actually make your body cling fat. Let's face it, it's also not a very pleasant way to live.
Fix it: Eat 6 times a day. That means 3 meals and yes, you should snack between every single meal.
By eating small meals throughout the day, you will keep your metabolism humming.
This works much better for weight loss than skipping meals and starving yourself.
Adopt other healthy habits
Healthy weight is about a lot more than you might think. Starving yourself and feeling bad about how you look is doing your body no favors.
Fix it: Be mindful to improve every area of your well being.
Get plenty of sleep. Drink more water. Nurture your soul's passions by doing activities you love. Floss your teeth. You get the idea 🙂
Focus on really enjoying your meals by eating more slowly and mindfully.
You'll find that you have more energy, plus you'll enjoy your life much more.
When you stop thinking of dieting as something that you get done in a short period of time and start thinking of it as a new way to manage your life, you will stop the yo-yo weight loss cycle and feel and look better.
Yours in health and happiness,
P.S. Please share this important info. with your loved ones who are always on a new diet and don't forget to leave me a comment below. Have you fallen into the yo-yo diet trap before?