Yo-yo dieting doesn’t just affect your ability to lose weight. It can also have negative consequences for your health.1. Weight gain
Under normal circumstances, your fat stores release leptin into the bloodstream. This tells the body that energy stores are available and signals you to eat less. As you lose fat, leptin decreases, and appetite increases. This leads to increased appetite as the body tries to resupply the used-up energy stores. Repeated dieting can lead to weight gain because your brain interprets these extreme swings in eating patterns as “short famines”. Your body goes into survival mode and prompts the storage of fat for future shortages. This is also a common downfall for people who try to stick to super low-calorie diets.
What’s more, you tend to binge and overeat, so you’re never truly able to keep any weight off. When most people use a short-term diet to lose weight, they will regain 30–65% of that lost weight within one year. This weight gain completes the “up” phase of yo-yo dieting and may prompt dieters to begin another cycle of weight loss.2. It can mess with your gut
Your gut can take a hit when you go from eating a huge bowl of noodles to only eating an apple. Normally, your microbiome is home to trillions of healthy bacteria that do everything from boosting your immunity to regulating your metabolism. But yo-yo dieting can create an imbalance of good and bad bacteria, increasing your risk for developing an excessive amount of health issues. What’s more, gut microbes can play a significant role in post-diet weight gain. Researchers believe that the gut retains a memory of previous obesity, so that’s why it’s easier to pile on the pounds if you return to the same unhealthy eating habits, even after weight loss. Strengthen your gut with plenty of probiotic (yogurt, kimchi) and prebiotic (asparagus, onion) foods.3. Causing frustration
Yo-yo dieting can make you feel out of control. It can be very frustrating to see the hard work you put into losing weight vanish during the rebound weight gain of yo-yo dieting. In fact, adults with a history of yo-yo dieting report feeling dissatisfied with their lives and health. Yo-yo dieters also report feeling a sense of being out of control regarding to their body and health. If you have had trouble with yo-yo dieting in the past, don’t allow yourself to feel defeated, hopeless or guilty. You may have tried some diets that didn’t help you achieve the long-term results you wanted. This is not a personal failure – it’s simply a reason to try something else.
Most diets prescribe a set of rules to follow for a set period of time, usually to meet a weight loss goal or other health goal. This kind of diet sets you up to fail, because it teaches you that the rules need to be followed until your goal is met. Once you finish the diet, it’s easy to slip back into the habits that caused weight gain to begin with.
Because the body increases appetite and holds on to fat stores during dieting, all too often a temporary diet becomes self-defeating, leading to temporary improvement followed by weight gain and disappointment. To break the cycle of temporary changes producing temporary success, stop thinking in terms of a diet and start thinking in terms of a lifestyle.
Here are some tips you can do for long-term weight loss:
• Eating healthy foods such as yogurt, fruits, vegetables and tree nuts.
• Avoiding junk foods uch as potato chips and sugary beverages.
• Limiting starchy foods.
• Exercising. Find something active that you enjoy doing.
• Getting 7–8 hours of sleep each night.
• Limiting television viewing or exercise while you watch.
By making permanent lifestyle changes that promote a healthy weight, you can have permanent success and break the yo-yo cycle! Yes, it’s easier said than done, but it can be done. Be focused, consistent, and patient.