If you’ve struggled all your life with weight problems, you probably already know what yo-yo dieting is. For those unfamiliar with the term, it’s also called weight cycling. That means that you lose weight, quit dieting and then the pounds return and sometimes bring friends to create another bout of dieting weight loss and ultimately weight gain again. That up and down weight resembles the action of a yo-yo, which is how it got its name.
The weight loss/weight gain cycling plays havoc with your body.
Not only do you have a closet full of clothes that can range from your overweight self size to the ultimate goal size, yo-yo dieting has other side effects that affect your health. While your blood pressure will go down as your weight goes down, that pattern also follows when the weight goes back up again. On the next round of weight loss, if yo-yo weight loss occurred, you don’t get that same drop in blood pressure. If the weight is kept off, eventually it will drop, but it takes quite a while.
Yo-yo dieting increases the risk of diabetes.
People with a history of yo-yo weight gain and loss have a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Abdominal fat, also called visceral fat, is the worst possible type of fat. It crowds the internal organs and increases the risk for many diseases, including diabetes. When people regained weight after losing weight for a month, the weight returned as abdominal fat. For those people who actually gained back more weight than they lost, the risk for diabetes is increased even more.
Even though you gain back fat, you normally lose muscle.
When you’re cycling down, most of the time, people lose muscle mass right along with some fat. On the up cycle, people tend to gain fat easier, especially after a cycle of weight loss. The body is hording food for the future. That means that people who are subject to yo-yo dieting often have a higher body fat percentage, which includes a higher percentage of visceral fat. While you can lose weight by making lifestyle changes, most of the time that normally doesn’t occur. Strength training can also help reduce this problem.
- Fatty liver can occur when people have cyclical weight loss. It can increase the risk of both diabetes and chronic liver failure.
- The size of the weight swing makes a difference when it comes to coronary artery disease. The more weight lost and then regained, the higher the risk for heart disease. In fact, it might even double the risk if the weight lost and gained is large.
- Rather than diet, eating healthy is a better option. As noted already, diets don’t work because they always end. Eating healthy never ends. It simply means choosing food more wisely.
- Adding regular exercise to healthy eating not only helps you lose weight faster, it also helps reduce other risks, such as muscle loss.