Yo-Yo dieting or the Yo-Yo effect is a cyclic loss and gain of weight, also known as weight-cycling. The weight just goes up and down, and there’s nothing constant, neither diet nor exercise. The person is usually successful in the beginning to lose weight and see the result but fails in maintaining it in the long term. Eventually, the lost pounds come back again, and woohoo the dieter again seeks to lose the regained weight, and the cycle begins again.
Sounds familiar, right?
Yes! Because most of us have done this at least ones in our weight loss journeys. The quick fixes (crash diets) available on the internet has driven the people crazy by making false claims.
“There’s no magic stick that can make you healthy without any efforts, you have to make a lifestyle change if you wish to see the long-term results.”
Why people are riding the seesaw of weight loss and weight gain?
- Quick results: Anyone who wants quick results would follow a diet that gives the instant result, but would not bother to think about if she/he can follow it in the long run. C’mon! How long can you survive on the soups and salads?
- Lazy: Following an extreme calorie deficit diet would show results without much physical work. So, all the lazy bums, who are looking for shortcuts to their dream body, would do that. Though it is not always the case, you can strike this off if you’re working on your body.
- Pride in rejection: People may experience extreme happiness at the thought of losing weight and pride in their rejection of food. But, over time their rejection list goes on increasing. Their extreme restriction on food eventually makes them run away from their diet. The feeling of depression and fatigue experienced from such restrictive diets makes it harder for them to sustain it.
- Not able to choose their right one: Yo-Yo dieters are usually not able to find a sustainable diet plan and end up trying different diet plans or putting extreme restrictions on themselves.
How Yo-Yo dieting hits your body?
“Your long-cherished dream of fitting into your favorite jeans or losing the extra kgs gets shattered soon. You end up gaining the whole lost weight again. “
- Increased appetite and Weight gain:
When you lose fat, the hormone leptin which helps in regulating weight by decreasing appetite also decreases. Your appetite increases as the body tries to refill the depleted energy stores. At last, you end up eating more than your calorie requirements. So, the followers of quick fixes (short-term diet plans) or Yo-Yo dieting tend to regain the lost weight.
- Muscle mass and Metabolism drops :
“No one ever complained about the increased muscle mass.”
The rapid weight loss because of crash diets or yo-yo dieting results in muscle loss. Muscle mass is extremely important for burning calories. Extreme calorie restriction may cause your body to break down muscle for the needed energy and fuel to run your body. Muscle mass is also responsible for metabolism and is more metabolically active than fat. Thus, when you lose muscle mass you burn fewer calories. Extreme diets can put you in starvation mode and your metabolism will slow down to conserve energy and your body will hang on to more fat. This later becomes the reason for weight gain and also a goodbye to precious muscle mass. 😛
- A paucity of important nutrients:
Yo-Yo dieting which helped you in losing the extra weight can cause nutrient deficiency also, Nutrient deficiency can be caused due to extreme diets (quick fixes) followed during weight loss. These diets are restrictive and can sometimes cut out important nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. The lack of important nutrients can decrease your energy, immunity, and can cause extreme fatigue. They are also linked to many other problems depending on the deficiency. This is only possible if you are following a very restrictive diet to lose weight fast.
- Energy expenditure:
Energy expenditure is directly proportional to body weight. Thus, change in body weight changes the energy expenditure too. Resting Energy Expenditure (REE) is the energy needed to fuel the minimum daily functions of cells and organs. Total Energy Expenditure (TEE) is the energy cost of processes essential for life (BMR), the energy needed to digest, absorb, and convert food (diet-induced thermogenesis), and the energy needed to fuel the physical activities.
Higher body weight is linked to higher TEE and higher total energy intake. The weight loss results in lower REE which accounts for almost 60% of TEE. So, now the body needs less energy. Following weight loss, reduced REE is thought to prompt weight gain, proposing an endless loop of obesity, weight loss, weight regain, and weight cycling continues.
- The extra’s you might experience:
Yo-Yo dieting can have many other bad impacts on the body. A few studies show the impact on blood pressure, diabetes, and heart diseases. But, not all the studies provide clear evidence to support them. However, the impact depends largely on the body of an individual. It makes no sense to put them all in the same box.
The impact on the heart depends on the swing in weight which the body has undergone i.e. the amount of weight lost and regained during the Yo-Yo dieting. The risk is higher when the weight lost and regained is higher. Diabetes can be seen mostly in people who end up at a higher weight than before.
How yo-yo dieting messes up your brain?
“You should put an effort into the weight loss approach. It’s more than just jumping from one fad diet to another.”
- Mental breakdown: You are trying to improve your health, and you are all set to do whatever it takes. But, not at the cost of mental health. Mental health is as important as physical health. Nothing should be done at the cost of mental health. Yo-Yo dieting is linked to depression and mental distress.
- Low self-esteem: You’ll be happy to see the results, but how long this happiness will last? As long as your strict diet plan? You’ll lose weight, then gain again, and the cycle continues. Some might even feel embarrassed or guilty of gaining all that lost weight again and this will lead to stress. The feeling of embarrassment, guilt, or shame will hit your self-esteem.
- Bad mood: You’ll be irritated and disappointed with the weight cycling. The up-down on the scale will be extremely frustrating and sometimes you’ll end up losing your motivation also. Most of the diets will tell you to avoid so many things, that you’ll end up with the few options. And, if your diet doesn’t allow you to enjoy your favorite dishes even on weekend, then it’s time to change your diet.
“If your only goal is to fit into some old dress then getting a new outfit can help you. You’ll be surprised to find that your goal isn’t about your weight or health.”.
- You must know the reason behind your weight-loss journey. The reason should never be someone else, it should be always about you and only you. You should do that because you love yourself, and not because you hate it. Ask yourself. “Why are you doing it?”.
- A “slow and steady wins the race “ approach will be the best option to honor your body. You have to give your body some time to adapt to changes. Maintaining a healthy weight requires a lifestyle change and not a magic pill.
- A sustainable diet plan and regular exercise will help you reach your goals. The best way to maintain is to balance the calories and the food-choices you make. Quit the diet culture and reset your relationship with your body.
Give your body the love and care it needs!