While fad diets make big promises, they have a dirty secret: They are usually not designed for lasting change. Research notes that 80 percent of people who lose a significant amount of weight regain it within a year.

 

“Yo-yo dieting” or the “yo-yo effect,” also known as weight cycling, is a term first coined by Kelly D. Brownell at Yale University about the cyclical loss and gain of weight, resembling the up-down motion of a yo-yo.

All studies report that women are more likely to diet than men. However, long-term studies say that people who diet to lose weight rarely maintain the lost weight and make repeated attempts; thus, exposing them to the danger of weight cycling.

The excessive desire to lose weight affects not only adults but also young and older people. Multiple studies performed on young adolescents and young girls showed that around 40%–50% of young girls want to lose weight and want to become like media figures.

Apart from the general population, some people have to stay thin due to their occupations and professions. Ballerinas, dancers, top models, and entertainers are those for whom a slim image is professionally necessary. Movie actors or actresses often engage in marked intentional weight loss to embody specific characters. Slimming is also common among athletes involved in sports that compete according to weight categories, such as weightlifting and combat sports, or who might benefit from a light body for performing gravitational sports (ski jumping). These participants are prone to weight cycling and are at high risk for developing eating disorders.

There are concerns about the long-term adverse health consequences of weight cycling. Repeated dieting and weight cycling have been implicated in an increased risk for eating disorders, other psychological disorders, and multiple comorbidities, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cancer, bone fractures, and increased mortality. However, the effects of weight cycling on health outcomes are a source of debate.

Although there is still controversy whether weight cycling promotes body fat accumulation and obesity, there is mounting evidence from large population studies for increased cardiovascular risks in response to a behavior of weight cycling. Potential mechanisms by which weight cycling contributes to cardiovascular morbidity include hypertension, visceral fat accumulation, changes in adipose tissue fatty acid composition, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia. Moreover, fluctuations in blood pressure, heart rate, sympathetic activity, glomerular filtration rate, blood glucose, and lipids during weight cycling put an additional load on the cardiovascular system.

The Secret to Help You Stop Yo-Yo Dieting.

As the prevalence of diet-induced weight cycling increases due to the opposing forces of an ‘obesigenic’ environment and the media pressure for a slim figure (that even targets children), weight cycling, particularly in girls and younger women, is likely to become a serious public health issue.

Research has clearly shown that the best long-term diet is the one you can stick with. The one you can stick with is the one that is closest to what you are used to. Try to adopt a diet that cuts out loads of foods you are familiar with or has been part of your diet growing up. You will have a challenging time maintaining your diet.

Don’t fall for those crazy diets that claim to be detoxing when really they are just incredibly low kilojoule with little to eat and often involve expensive supplements without any scientific backing.

Keep in mind that pursuing good health is a lifelong journey. Those most successful at weight management seem to have fully incorporated healthful eating and physical activity into their daily lives.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4241770/

https://www.nature.com/articles/0803520

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3514598/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4205264/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6208150/

 

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