Are you constantly losing weight, only to gain it back again? If so, you’re not alone - many people have trouble maintaining their losses and often find themselves back where they started time and time again. Although obesity is far worse for your health, this type of weight cycling, more commonly known as ‘yo-yo dieting’, can be very damaging for you physically and psychologically. Therefore, while it is better that you try to lose weight, it is more about establishing a healthy eating plan and exercise regime for life, rather than starting an impossible-to-maintain fad diet. Here, we explain the dangers of yo-yo dieting and how you can make sure that this time, it's for good!
The Causes of Yo-Yo Dieting
The reasons for yo-yo dieting are varied, but often include trying to lose weight using methods which are too extreme and very difficult to sustain in the long term, such as extremely low-calorie diets, or diets which exclude too many foods. These types of limiting diets make you feel deprived, tired and often depressed, and almost inevitably, you begin to revert back to your old eating habits, now with the added emotional effects of failing to lose weight through this restrictive diet. This emotional state can also lead to many people eating more than they would have before dieting, causing them to rapidly gain weight.
The Dangers of Yo-Yo Dieting
Results into the long-term effects of yo-yo dieting are mixed; while some studies claim that it can lead to an increase in body fat, an accumulation of dangerous visceral fat around your middle, and a decreased metabolism, others have failed to find evidence to support these claims.
What is true, however, is that your metabolic rate slows as you get older, so with each new cycle of dieting, the same methods used before can be less effective, which can be demoralizing and therefore increase the chance of future weight gain. In support of this, research shows that animal subjects made to yo-yo diet are more efficient at gaining weight, suggested to be as a result of compensating for past deprivation, or in anticipation of future deprivation. Additionally, research shows evidence of a link between yo-yo dieting and increased health risks such as hypertension, high cholesterol levels, and gallbladder disease, although these are all also linked to obesity.
Repeatedly losing and gaining weight may also be detrimental to psychological health; studies show increased levels of psychological distress and life dissatisfaction, and lower quality of life among yo-yo dieters. Female yo-yo dieters were also found to have lower self-esteem, worse body image and reduced levels of self-efficacy, or belief in oneself.
How to Break the Cycle
While losing and regaining weight is not recommended as a way of maintaining a healthy weight, the health benefits of weight loss greatly outweigh the potential drawbacks of yo-yo dieting. Long-term lifestyle modification is the key to achieving successful weight management, which is possible if you follow these tips:
1. Be Realistic
A healthy balanced diet like the image below is the key to long-term weight loss, which means you need to make sure your diet is one that you can stick to with room for occasional treats so that you don’t feel too deprived. Forget these diet myths, and exclude any crash diets, detoxes, or fad diets that will be impossible to maintain. In fact, reject the whole notion of dieting as being a temporary fix with an expiry date; think of what you’re doing as a permanent lifestyle shift and say to yourself, “This is what I eat now.”
2. Be Patient
Since you’re in this for the long haul, you can take your time to lose weight slowly, steadily and healthily. Many medical research studies into weight loss and successful long-term weight management have shown that losing around one to two pounds per week is better for your health and significantly more likely to result in permanent weight loss.
3. Be Supported
Researchers have found that socializing with others who have successfully lost weight improves your chances of maintaining your own weight loss, so enlist a friend or join a group and support each other.
4. Be Vigilant
If you lose 30 pounds and then gain three, it’s easy to think that this isn’t a big deal, but it’s a slippery slope, especially if you have a history of yo-yoing. You should maintain your weekly weigh-in day and have a clear plan of action ready if the scale starts to move in the wrong direction.
5. Be Flexible
Switch eating plans if you get bored; research indicates you’re more likely to be successful if you keep yourself interested with new recipes and ideas.
6. Be Active
Besides consuming a healthy diet and being mindful about self-monitoring, you must incorporate exercise into your lifestyle. This is the key strategy which keeps the 6,000 members of the National Weight Control Registry (an ongoing study of adults who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for a year) from regaining weight. This doesn’t mean that you have to train for a marathon – just try to include more activity in your day, and if you found an exercise you enjoyed while you were losing weight, then why not keep it up and benefit from the feel good endorphins and reduced cravings?
7. Be Optimistic
One of the most important tips for being successful in the long term is not to let past failed attempts keep you from trying again. Instead, appreciate that you have insight into what to do differently next time; knowledge is power and you’re now much better placed to be able to avoid letting history repeat itself. While frequently losing and gaining weight is not the recommended way to maintain a healthy weight and achieve a healthy lifestyle, the health benefits of weight loss greatly outweigh the potential drawbacks of yo-yo dieting. Long-term lifestyle modification is the key to preventing yo-yo dieting and keeping the weight off for good, which can be achieved by getting help from Phen Caps to start you on the path to success. Phen Caps suppress appetite and increase energy levels to give you the boost you need for you to establish your new healthy lifestyle, which should also incorporate the weight loss multivitamins Phen Vites, to support weight loss while boosting health and giving you all the essential nutrients you need for a healthy future free from dieting. By choosing Phen Caps and Phen Vites to help you on your weight loss journey, you are choosing a method aimed at helping you to lose weight as part of a healthy lifestyle, with the intention that this weight loss journey will be your last and most successful.
Are you a yo-yo dieter, or have you been able to break the cycle once and for all? We’d love to hear about your opinions and stories on this topic, so please comment below!