Outcomes of YO-YO Dieting
According to The US National Task Force on the Prevention and Treatment of
Obesity, weight cycling or "yo-yo dieting" carries psychological and
physiological health hazards.
The amount of fat stored in the body increases with each cycle of
up-and-down dieting. When a person loses
weight, 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 muscle, leaving 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
craving for fat. Fat is the most concentrated source of
calories in the
diet, and the body appears to store calories from fat more easily than surplus
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. These include
high blood pressure, high cholesterol,
and gallbladder disease.
The 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.
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
vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting. One is to stay away from "crash" diets that
promote quick weight 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.
Here are a few basic tips:
Start by figuring out how many calories 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
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 water a day to help you feel full and to
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 your buck.
Have your food diary analyzed by a registered dietitian. She'll help you
understand your eating habits and offer plenty of strategies for improving
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 such as
stair climbing on the stair
machine at the gym and
swimming all burn tons of calories and help rev up your
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.
Dated 22 August 2012