Yo-yo dieting is the process of going on a particular diet program for weight loss, and then losing weight, then going off the diet and regaining the weight and then starting the whole process anew.
Yo-yo dieting is also when you try out a diet, find that it doesn’t work and then you try out another and so on; it is a cycle of trying to lose weight and then being unsuccessful in keeping it off.
One of the reasons why yo-yo dieters do not manage to maintain their weight loss is the fact that the diet that they pick is unrealistic and cannot be sustained without negative effects.
This makes the dieter revert to their earlier food intake and in fact indulge in overeating since there could be an emotional element to the eating here, and the weight is regained in no time.
Clearly there may be negative impacts of yo-yo dieting on the person, particularly if it involves extreme caloric deprivation.
Eating very few calories is harmful in several ways – firstly the body starts to lose muscle and secondly the body starts to harbor fat because its famine response is triggered.
Then there is also the fact that there are psychological and emotional consequences of yo-yo dieting.
There is initially the satisfaction of having lost weight and then the disappointment of regaining the weight when a person goes back to their regular eating patterns.
There is a regaining of weight as well as emotional distress that accompanies it. There is a sense of failure and a person feels demotivated that all their hard work has come to naught.
While it is important to realize that it is only lifestyle modifications to include a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise and sticking to this that will help a person maintain their weight loss, there is some interesting research that points to some positive aspects of yo-yo dieting.
New research says that yo-yo dieting is not harmful for health, contrary to popular belief that shedding and gaining pounds is not good for you. Researchers at the Ohio University’s Edison Biotechnology Institute found that dieters may actually be healthier and may live longer when compared to those who never diet and remain obese. Yo-yo dieting is the lesser evil when compared to obesity, it is argued.
Though this study was conducted on mice, the researchers want to underscore the benefits of losing weight and the value of not giving up on weight loss.