Yo-Yo Dieting Series (part 1): What is it and what does it do to us?

Yo-Yo Dieting Series (part 1): What is it and what does it do to us?

I don't know about you, but it seems I've been on diet after diet all of my life. I'm sick of dieting.  All of them were successful — UNTIL THEY WEREN'T. Scientific evidence shows that diets don’t work — in particular, 95% of people who lose weight through dieting gain all or more of it back within 5 years.

Since those aren’t the kind of results I’m looking for, I decided to delve into the topic of yo-yo dieting to see if I can’t find some answers.

Here’s part 1… an explanation of what yo-yo dieting is and what it does to us.

What is Yo-Yo dieting?

Also known as weight cycling, Yo-Yo dieting is when you lose weight then gain it and more back...then you start over again - lose 5 pounds gain 10, lose 10 pounds then gain 15, lose 15 then gain 20.  You are losing the same pounds over and over, and you are usually gaining more than you lost. 

I'm not on a diet now... Why would I do something that doesn't work? What's our alternative? We may get to an answer by the end of this series, but for now, let's start with how Yo Yo dieting works.

Here's how it works (or should I say, here's how Yo-Yo Dieting doesn't work?)

  • When people go on a low-calorie diet, they lose weight quickly.

  • When weight is lost quickly, it is usually a loss of both fat and a loss of  lean muscle mass.

  • You want the loss of fat, not muscle mass.

  • Since muscle burns fat, you don’t want to lose any muscle — you need it to burn fat so you don't regain the weight.

  • Since the metabolism slows because you don't have as much muscle to burn fat, you regain the weight in the form of fat. Yes, the lost muscle is replaced by fat (doesn’t seem fair, does it?)

So one answer to the question of what Yo-Yo Dieting does to us is that repeating the sequence listed above with 4 or 5 successive diets over the years will lead to a lower metabolism, much more fat, and much more weight than your original starting point. In other words, we have been tricked into thinking that losing weight is the answer. Then we regain it and have to start again.  

I'm sick of that routine, aren't you? So, I'm studying this area and will pass along in blog posts what I learn. I may not find the magic answer to weight management, but I sure will try to find some information that will make it easier.

Next up: Other ways yo-yo dieting affects us.

be kind - be the change

be the healthiest version of yourself

Yo Yo Dieting (part 2): Physical and Psychological Consequences.

Yo Yo Dieting (part 2): Physical and Psychological Consequences.