Are you a yo-yo dieter? Some people think yo-yo dieting is losing a lot of weight, gaining it back, and then losing it again. The definition is close, but not quite accurate.
Yo-yo dieting is not about how much weight you lose. It is about repetitious loss and gain regardless of the amount. It could be losing and gaining the same five to 10 pounds over and over. Any amount that is lost and gained back repeatedly qualifies as yo-yo dieting.
You may try to rationalize that weight loss of any kind is a good thing – even if you gain it back; but, not so. Yo-yo dieting on any level takes a toll on the body and your health.
Yo-Yo Dieting Can Make You Gain Weight
When your weight goes up and down in a repetitious cycle, your body starts to fight back.
The continual losing and gaining sends “mixed signals” to your body and triggers starvation mode. It holds on tight to every pound you have and makes it more difficult to lose any weight.
In other words, you are programming your body to work against you rather than with you.
As a result, you may put on extra pounds and become heavier than you were before you ever started dieting.
Obesity often begins with constant dieting that includes cycles of deprivation and overeating.
It Impacts Your Health
Yo-yo dieting can also impact your health in a number of other ways.
For example, it can lower your good cholesterol level, which increases your risk for heart attack or heart disease.
Another more subtle problem, but equally serious is that it can drag you down emotionally. You get excited and feel great when you lose the weight, but disappointed and sad when you gain the weight back.
The emotional highs and lows can lead to depression that is intensified when you come in contact with others who have dieted and kept the weight off long-term.
The impact of yo-yo dieting on your health is potentially so dangerous that it can shorten your life span significantly.
You Can Break the Cycle
In spite of all this bad news, there is a positive message also – you can break the cycle of yo-yo dieting so that it is no longer part of who you are.
Stop looking for the magic diet that will instantly change your life by melting away the pounds in a few days or weeks. Extreme fad diets are created to make money – not to help people live healthier, happier lives.
When you make drastic changes to your eating patterns, it is almost impossible for your mind to adapt and it will usually rebel. This is particularly true if you have emotional attachments to food.
Take It One Step At A Time
Choose to make small lifestyle changes that are sustainable and can be incorporated into your daily life. Take it one step at a time.
Make a list of poor eating habits that you know are not good for you; and, begin to eliminate them one-by-one.
Recognize and accept that you will have days when you will feel like you “blew it” with some of your food choices you make. Remember that your current eating habits have developed over many years, and it may take some time to change those habits completely.
Keep in mind that the goal is to establish healthier eating patterns that will stay with you for a lifetime.
As you begin to do that, if you couple it with some daily exercise (even a 15-20 minute walk), you will begin to lose weight without ever dieting or obsessing about food again.