Dieting can have an array of health benefits. Certain types of dieting can cause a person’s body more harm than good. One type that can be detrimental to your health is yo-yo dieting. What exactly is yo-yo dieting? Yo-yo dieting is when a person loses weight then gains it back then loses it again; he or she is in a cycle of gaining and losing weight that repeats itself over and over.
A yo-yo diet usually occurs because a person has chosen a diet or way of eating that was too extreme to sustain for a long period of time. If the diet is too difficult to stick to a person easily falls back into old eating habits. Often, this person becomes emotionally stressed and depressed over the fact that his or her weight loss isn’t going as well as they had hoped. Between starting up old eating habits and a discouraged emotional state, a person ends up eating enough to gain back the weight and may even end up weighing more than way he or she started the diet.
What makes yo-yo dieting risky? Often, yo-yo dieters are restricting their calories to extreme levels, which can increase the levels of cortisol in the body. With high levels of cortisol in the body over extended periods of time, a person is at a higher risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Extreme caloric restriction can also deprive the body of the proper nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that it needs to function properly.
Low-calorie diets also eat away at muscle, so when a person rapidly loses or gains weight they will be regaining excess fat and slowly losing quality lean muscle mass. This excess body fat gained from yo-yo dieting can lead to Type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease. A yo-yo diet can end up doing the opposite of what a person wants it to do. If lean body mass is lost and inadequate protein intake continues a person can slow down their metabolism making it harder and harder to lose weight.
If crash dieting is extreme a person can develop low potassium or magnesium levels which can promote life-threatening heart rhythm changes.
When it comes to dieting, it must be done slowly and in a healthy manner. At most, a person should not lose more than 2 pounds per week. Strength-training, cardio, and high protein diets are great ways to keep muscle and stay heart healthy while trying to lose weight. Objective nutrient measurements can be done as part of monitoring your weight control success. Long term successful dieters maintain a stable improved weight with two primary successful habits- regular weigh-ins and moderate consistent exercise.
If you’re looking for help with your diet or need help recovering from past yo-yo dieting behavior, Dr. Kordonowy of Internal Medicine, Lipid & Wellness of Fort Myers offers comprehensive dietary consults to his patients to discuss weight loss management. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Kordonowy, call 239-362-3005, ext. 200 or click here.