Outcome of YO-YO Dieting
diet is characterized by a cyclical pattern of repetitious loss and gain of body
weight. Some of the ways people choose to do this include skipping meals and
consuming very few calories. There is increasing evidence that weight cycling
may lead to cardiovascular and metabolic disorders such as hypertension and
diabetes. And the risk of complications of weight cycling seems greater in
people with normal weight or slightly overweight than in obese people.
According to The US National Task Force on
the Prevention and Treatment of
weight cycling or "yo-yo
psychological and physiological health hazards.
The amount of
stored in the body increases with each cycle of up-and-down dieting. When
a person loses
both fat and muscle tissue are shed. When the weight is put back, however, it
tends to be made up of a greater proportion of fat and less
the person "fatter" than ever. Besides, a history of loss and gain is
associated with greater amounts of fat stored in the
abdomen, a pattern of fat
distribution linked to greater risk of
heart disease and
Yo-yo dieting has a definite
affect on food
preferences, increasing the
craving for fat. Fat is the most concentrated source of
diet, and the body
appears to store calories from fat more easily than surplus calories from
Repeated cycles of loss and gain take a
psychological toll. Many dieters perceive each
unsuccessful attempt to keep
weight off as a personal failure. The result, over time, is erosion of
self-esteem coupled with depression and even guilt.
People who repeatedly lose and regain
weight are weakening their
systems. Women who have tried
losing weight more than five
times will have
about a third lower natural-killer-cell function. In
contrast, women who maintain the same weight for five or more years have 40
percent greater natural-killer-cell activity as compared to those whose weight
had remained stable for fewer than two years.
Some studies suggest that weight cycling
may increase the risk for certain health problems.
high blood pressure, high
cholesterol, and gallbladder disease.
body has an internal weight that it strives to maintain (a set point), and
your metabolism actually slows down when you diet in order to conserve
energy and stores up more fat to protect against future restrictive
eating. Unfortunately, most women feel badly about their bodies. Did you
know that up to two thirds of women feel dissatisfied with some part of
their bodies and that 80 to 90 percent of dieters are women? This trend
has sadly infiltrated our youth. Several researchers have found that about
70 to 80 percent of 10-year-old girls are currently dieting. The irony is
that most women view their bodies unrealistically and believe that they
are larger than they actually are. In fact, one study showed that 70
percent of young women in the United States and England thought that they
were overweight even
though they were within their normal weight range
dieting — strict dieting followed by a rebound in
weight — will only exacerbate the pattern of weight
loss because it stresses
the body and damages your metabolism.
Basic tips to avoid yo-yo dieting:
While there's no sure-fire guarantee that
the weight shed on a diet won't eventually return, there are steps dieters can
take to avoid getting caught in the vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting. One is to
stay away from "crash" diets that promote quick
loss. When more than a
pound or two is shed each week, much of the weight lost is in the form of muscle
rather than fat.
Start by figuring out how many
you need to eat and burn off a day to lose one pound a week.
Try to balance your calorie intake
throughout the entire day. If you have cravings in the late afternoons, you
may not be eating enough earlier in the day. Eat five to six small meals
throughout the day, starting with a satisfying
Eat five servings of fruits and
vegetables a day to help keep your calorie count low and your
fiber intake high. Also aim to eat a variety of different foods,
concentrating on foods that are as close to their natural state as possible.
For example: apple, good; applesauce, okay; apple pie, no.
Keep in mind:
Sugar-free (and fat-free) does not mean calorie-free. Those "free" foods
often have two to three times the calories of the real thing. Plus the taste
is usually a disappointment.
Drink at least 8-10 glasses of
day to help you feel full and to prevent dehydration.
Keep a food log for at least three days,
then review it carefully. Writing down what and when you eat will help isolate
eating patterns and problem spots. For instance, you may discover that the
buttered muffin and coffee with cream you've been bolting down every morning
leaves you feeling unsatisfied, adds hundreds of calories to your total intake
and gives you virtually no
nutritional bang for
Have your food diary analyzed by a
registered dietitian. She'll help you understand your eating habits and offer
plenty of strategies for improving them.
Don't completely cut yourself off from
your hot-button foods. You're going to crack sooner or later. Allow yourself a
little indulgence, but limit the amount and the frequency. For example, if you
can't resist eating your mother-in-law's famous chocolate cake that's served
at Sunday dinner, cut back your desserts during the rest of the week.
aerobically 20-60 minutes, five to seven days per week. Aerobic activities
stair climbing on the stair machine at the gym and
swimming all burn tons of calories and help rev up your metabolism.
Adding 2-3 days of
weight training is essential for weight loss because it builds
calorie-burning muscle tissue. Aim for 8-15 repetitions per exercise using a
weight that challenges you but still allows you to maintain good form. If you
can do more than 15 reps with a weight and the exercise still feels kind of
easy, then the weight is definitely too light.
Further research on the effects of weight cycling is needed. In the meantime,
if you are obese or are overweight and suffer from weight-related health
problems, try to improve your health by achieving a modest weight loss. Although
weight cycling may have some effect on disease risk, the serious health problems
resulting from obesity are clearly understood. If you need to
lose weight, you should be
ready to commit to lifelong changes in your eating and physical activity