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

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

Yo-yo diets don’t work. Let’s throw our yo-yos away.


The covers of magazines at the check-out counter yell at us. They tell us how easy it is to lose weight. They egg us on by promising that we'll lose 10 pounds in a week. 

We want to believe them, but we know from experience that when we lose weight quickly, we fail -- seemingly over night, we gain back more than we lost. We blame ourselves. And doctors blame us, too. They, or we, put us on one restrictive diet after another.  What are we to do when the medical authority in our lives recommends the same solution over and over, but we know it'll just lead to gaining more weight?

Today, we are going to talk about the physical and psychological consequences of yo-yo dieting.

(If you didn't read part 1, it discusses how yo-yo dieting works. There's a link at the bottom of this post if you want to read that first.)

Physical consequences of yo-yo dieting

  • Heart disease

  • Cancer

  • Diabetes

  • Artery damage

  • Muscle wasting

  •  Lower energy

  • If you use a quick weight loss (low calorie) diet, you lose not only fat, but lean muscle. Losing fat is a good thing. Losing lean muscle is not.

  • With yo-yo dieting, most people regain more weight than lost. Because you regain muscle mass more slowly, you end up with more fat than when you started.

  • Eating fewer calories than you need takes a toll on your skin and bones because you are not getting the nutrients needed to keep them healthy.

  • Extreme restriction of calories increases the hormone cortisol that increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and increased LDL.

  • Weakened immune system

  • Lowered metabolism. Studies have shown that when you eat less than 1000 calories per day, your body works to preserve its resources by slowing the metabolism.

A 2017 study found people with the greatest body weight fluctuations had twice the risk of heart attack, stroke, or death than those whose weight remained relatively stable..

Psychological consequences

  • Due to failure by regaining the weight plus some, dieters often develop a love-hate attitude about dieting.

  • The fact that most diets are touted as so easy, we are shocked we have to struggle to stick with it. Therefore, we end up feeling as if something is wrong with us when we fail. People who diet alone especially feel as if everyone else must be succeeding since the magazine or TV said the diet was a sure thing and easy. 

  • Repeated failures lead to depression and social isolation. When you lose weight people compliment you and you're on top of the world. When you regain weight, it's hard to face anyone.

  • Repeated failures are demoralizing, eating away at the dieter's self-esteem and enthusiasm/motivation.

  • Constant emphasis on your weight and what you eat can lead to eating disorders,, such as binge eating and (what I call) last chance eating (last chance eating is gorging yourself today because you promise to start THE DIET tomorrow).


As you can see, there are many reasons to avoid very low calorie diets or diets altogether. We just need to determine what to do Instead. Until we get a chance to explore answers to that question, here is a guideline for you: women should eat no fewer than 1200 calories per day and men should eat no fewer than 1500 calories per day.

For now, let's put our yo-yos away and figure out a better way of eating.

Link to Part 1.

be kind - be the change

be the healthiest version of yourself

Yo-Yo Dieting (part 3): How to free yourself from a yo-yo mentality.

Yo-Yo Dieting (part 3): How to free yourself from a yo-yo mentality.

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?