What is Yo-Yo Dieting?
Gain, lose, gain, lose. Eventually gain more, harder to lose, gain more, even harder to lose.
That is yo-yo dieting or yo-yo weight gain and loss. The first couple of times losing the weight can be relatively easy. Your body’s metabolism responds to the reduction of calories or increase in exercise. But each time you lose weight and then gain it back it can alter your metabolism and fat storage signaling which makes it harder and harder to lose the weight AND, even more frustrating, easier for you to gain more weight back. (1)
The Biggest Problem with Yo-Yo Dieting
The biggest detriment of these weight cycles is what it’s doing to your mental health, what you say to yourself, how you feel about yourself, and ultimately how you show up for yourself and others.
The negative self-talk when the diet has failed to create lasting changes often includes:
I’m a failure
I can’t stick to anything
I’m too emotional
How did I let this happen, again?
How am I ever going to be happy, find a partner, get the job, etc….
I don’t even know why I bother
What If There Was a Better Way to Lose Weight?
What if I said that yo-yo dieting is more like a yo-yo of thought errors vs. food consumption errors? Think about it, you usually go on a diet to change your body because you think that the change or the smaller size body is what is going to bring lasting happiness. You get to the smaller size and are temporarily happy with the goal met. BUT the willpower to stay restrictive in the diet wanes because you still have the same brain and thought patterns that you had when you started the diet. The diet and the changes in your body were only accomplished through willpower (aka white knuckling, no pain-no gain) thoughts, not actually changing how you think about food or your body.
What if you started on a weight loss journey that explored why you crave foods all the time or find yourself snacking without any conscious thought of needing the food, or why when you feel over-tired, stressed or sad that you eat differently than when you’re not?
Strohacker, K, et al. Consequences of Weight Cycling: An Increase in Disease Risk? Int J Exerc Sci. 2009; 2(3): 191–201.