As the name already implies, Yo-yo diet involves a back and forth change of your body weight. You lose weight, you gain weight, you lose more weight, you gain more weight, and the cycle continues, which is why it is sometimes called Weight-Cycling. As you can already imagine, subjecting an object to constant back and forth is not the only change that will occur with the object. Take, for example, the YoYo itself, when you keep playing with it over and over again, after some time the strings will weaken, deform and finally break. This is similar to what you put your body through with yo-yo dieting – well not to those extremes, but the negative effects of yo-yo dieting are enough to cause an alarm. Here are some reasons why you should consider other dieting alternatives.
You Gain More Weight
The back and forth cycle of Yoyo dieting is actually not balanced and tilts in the favor of weight gain. When you complete the first step of yo-yo dieting (weight loss), there is an inverse dynamic that causes your hormones to generate more weight gain. Losing fat is tied to a reduction in the level of your leptin hormones, and as your leptin level decreases, your appetite increases. In other words, your appetite levels increase much more than your previous level after your weight loss. So when you’re putting the weight back on, you do so more voraciously because your body wants more thus, defeating the very purpose of dieting.
Less Muscle More Fat
Another change that occurs in your first cycle of yo-yo dieting is that, along with fat reduction, you also lose muscle (specifically lean muscle), which is a lot harder to gain. What this means is that during your weight gain process, you get a higher body fat percentage than lean muscle, because the fat is a lot easier to gain. Add this to the first point, and you’ll see that your body fat will be higher than before you started the diet. Many testimonies from previous yo-yo dieters and tons of scientific data show that at least a third of yo-yo dieters have a higher body fat percentage than when they started, which is more reason to steer clear.
When you have less muscle, it means lesser physical strength, in other words, weakness. We all know that a plethora of problems ensue when our bodies are weak. Starting with inactivity, laxity, and lethargy, these are all recipes for more weight gain. So when you lose muscle, you are putting yourself in a position that will likely lead you to be weak and lazy, and eventually gain more weight.
Predisposed To Many Health Risks
Given how the whole process seems to favor more fat gain, yo-yo dieting increases your health risk. More fat gain (obesity) means a fatty liver because the excess fat is stored in your liver cells. A host of health problems results in having a fatty liver such as type 2 diabetes, chronic liver failure, and so much more. Other scientific suppositions show that more fat also increases the risk of heart disease, increased blood pressure, and all other health problems that result from it. If you’re on a diet that is likely to increase your weight, it’s also likely to increase all the health risks that come with it.
Of course this back and forth dieting will not only take a physical toll on your body, but it will take a mental toll as well. Gaining much more weight than you lost before is bound to be frustrating at the very least. A sense of dissatisfaction compounded by a sense of food deprivation can leave many Yo-Yo dieters with mood changes like low self-esteem, sadness, and possibly social exclusion. However, there are no reports that connect yo-yo dieting as a cause of depression and other negative physiological traits.
Despite the positive health benefits of dieting, Yoyo dieting appears to position dieters in a worse situation. Since the negatives far outweigh the positives, it’s pretty safe to say that YoYo dieting is not a very good or well-recommended dieting option. Perhaps it’s about time to try something else.