We are posting a variety of articles that discuss the pros and cons of yo-yo dieting. The other articles can be found here. Here’s a great article that we wanted to share with you, because it talks about the health implications of yo-yo dieting, specifically how it can affect your metabolism.
Yo-yo Dieting Written by Lisa Mondello
The struggle to lose weight has been a battle for many people over the years that rival World Boxing…with the dieter usually on the losing end. We put on our boxing gloves, step into the ring with good intentions and may even do well for a few rounds, giving us the illusion that we might actually be the one standing at the end of the fight.
But then we get knocked down or bounced around the ring. Our weight increases, many times to appalling height we’ve never seen before, shocking us and leaving us shaking our heads wondering why we just can’t win in this fight against weight loss.
One of the reasons people fail at dieting is because they haven’t really embraced the idea of changing their lifestyle and adopting healthy eating habits and exercise as a lifelong choice. Instead of being in it for the long haul, they look for that quick result. They choose fad diets that make extraordinary promises of weight loss like “Drop 10 pounds in 2 days!”
It sounds great and many people fall into the trap of resorting to fad diets that promise quick weight loss usually because there is some family or social function they need to look great at or the summer bathing suit season has crept up on them when they weren’t paying attention and they’d rather eat tar than be seen on a beach in swimwear. But the problem is that even though quick weight loss is a quick fix, the weight usually comes boomeranging back with a vengeance.
The problem with following fad diets as a miracle way to lose weight is that it leads to what is known as yo-yo dieting, also known as weight cycling. Whether it is a small weight cycle of 5-10 lbs. or a larger weight cycle of over 50 lbs. you need to understand how weight cycling affects your body.
Some research shows that a constant fluctuation in weight due to yo-yo dieting is not only frustrating for the person trying to lose weight, but it can also make it harder to lose weight the next time you try. When we try to lose weight quickly, we are basically “shocking” our body by depriving it of the amount and type of food it is used to having. When that happens, the body reacts as if there is a famine by slowing the metabolism and storing fat to help sustain life. Instead of shedding weight, the body struggles to hold on to weight. This cycle only gets worse as a person ages. Do that one too many times and you’re exercising a muscle you don’t want to be strong.
Also, yo-yo dieting can have potential health risks. Yo-yo dieting can affect a person’s gall bladder, result in high blood pressure and high cholesterol. These are also diseases that are a result of obesity, however, it can be aggravated further by constant weight fluctuation.
The affects of yo-yo dieting aren’t all physical. Yo-yo dieting can also have a negative psychological affect on the person trying to lose weight because they haven’t achieved their target weight or they are unable to maintain it. It is easy to become depressed and discouraged when you lose and then regain weight over and over again. No one wants to pull out their “fat” jeans because they can’t button the pants they’d been able to fit in after losing weight.
The best solution is to not succumb to fast weight loss through fad dieting. Instead, choose a healthy diet that can become a way of life. Trade the short term stint just so you can squeeze into your favorite pair of jeans for a special occasion for a well balanced diet and a consistent routine of exercise.
Research shows that people who choose a healthy balanced diet and exercise regularly both while they are trying to lose weight and after they’ve reached their target weight stand a better chance of keeping the weight off and not boomeranging back to heights unknown. It’s better to trade your yo-yo in for a steady ride.