Most health experts agree that losing weight can give you many health benefits, but how you lose weight has been a topic that has caused some controversy. While weight loss diets are unsustainable, they often lead to a phenomenon referred to as yo-yo dieting, a pattern that may be doing more harm than good.
What is Yo-Yo Dieting?
Yo-yo dieting, also called “weight cycling” is a pattern of losing weight, gaining it back and then dieting again. Going back and forth between losing weight on a restrictive diet and then gaining it back when the diet ends, has been shown to cause long-term disordered eating habits and struggles with weight. It can also have serious consequences that can affect your health.
8 Dangers of Yo-Yo Dieting
- An increased risk of diabetes. Yo-yo dieting comes with a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A review of several studies showed that when weight was regained it was mostly in the form of belly fat and that insulin levels increased, both of which are more likely to lead to diabetes.
- Higher body fat percentage. During the weight gain phase of yo-yo dieting, fat regains much more easily than muscle mass. Over multiple cycles of losing and regaining weight, this can increase your body fat percentage.
- An increased risk of heart disease. Yo-yo dieting has become associated with coronary artery disease, and weight gain can increase your risk of heart disease. The greater the disparity of weight lost and gained during a cycle, the greater your risk.
- An increase of blood pressure. Yo-yo dieting has been linked to increased blood pressure. It may even dull the effect of healthy weight loss on blood pressure in the future.
- Weight gain can lead to fatty liver. Fatty liver is a condition in which the body stores extra fat inside the liver cells. Obesity is a large risk factor for developing a fatty liver and weight gain can put you more at risk.
- Yo-yo dieting can lead to muscle loss. During the weight loss phase, the body loses muscle mass as well as fat, but as you enter the weight gain phase, fat is regained more easily, causing more muscle loss over time.
- An increased appetite can lead to more weight gain over time. Losing weight can cause your body to increase its appetite and cling to its energy storage. Because of this, some yo-yo dieters can gain back more weight than they lost.
- Frustration can lead to dissatisfaction. With the nature of yo-yo dieting, it can be very frustrating to see the results disappear the moment you stop the diet. Yo-yo dieters have more of a sense of feeling out of control and defeated.
Breaking the Cycle of Yo-Yo Dieting
Yo-yo dieting is a constant cycle of temporary changes that lead to temporary results. When aiming to break the cycle it’s important to think about permanent lifestyle changes. Start by making small changes gradually instead of large changes that are unsustainable. Working with a healthcare provider or dietician to determine a balance of nutrition and portion control that’s right for you can lead to a lifetime of healthier living.
When healthy diet and exercise options aren’t giving you the results you want, however, surgery may be an option. Bariatric surgery is a long-term solution for weight loss and at Advanced Laparoscopic Associates our surgeons are specialized in many forms to give you the best option for your individual weight loss needs.
ALA’s individualized care goes beyond your surgery. Our comprehensive after care program offers you the encouragement and support you need to make your long-term weight loss goals a success. Our program includes a nurse, dietician and fitness advisor who work with you post-surgery on a care plan that is specific to your needs.