If you have ever tried to lose weight, you probably have some experience with yo-yo dieting. It is extremely rare for someone to pick one method of weight loss and get it right the first time. And while there is nothing wrong with experimenting and trying new things, yo-yo dieting can do a lot of damage to your body, and actually make it harder to lose weight.
What is it?
Yo-yo dieting is essentially when you continue making changes to your diet and/or fitness routine, often to the extreme. Many yo-yo dieters don’t just start and stop the same “Diet” or method of losing weight, but often bounce from one diet to the next.
This is most commonly seen with different fad diets and trends, such as trying low calorie, then WW, then Keto or Paleo, then back to low calorie, only to go to a juice fast next.
You tend to stick to each one very short-term, then either stop dieting for a while before starting the next one, or jump immediately into a different eating plan.
Yo-Yo Dieting is Worse Than Not Dieting at all
Yes, it’s true. You might think that even if you’re bouncing around between different diet plans, that at least you’re losing or maintaining your weight it’s a good thing, but it definitely isn’t. Underneath the surface, you are doing way more damage to your body and mental health than if you never attempted to change your eating at all.
First of all, yo-yo dieting does a number on your metabolism. Your metabolism is smart, but it can’t handle constantly restricting calories, then over-eating calories, then restricting, then over-eating. If your yo-yo dieting includes changing up your macros in between big binge sessions over and over again, your metabolism will likely slow way down to compensate.
It is also really hard on your hormone levels. When you have dietary restrictions, especially extreme ones, you tend to increase the amount of cortisol that your body produces. This can be bad for your heart health, among other things.
When You Get Stuck in the Fad Diet Loop
It is really easy to get caught up in diets you see on the news, social media, and what all your friends are doing. This makes it hard to stick to just one method, without wondering what else is out there. If you keep getting stuck in this loop where you want to bounce from one diet to the next, try these tips instead:
Take your time to research the diet or lifestyle beforehand. Before you consider starting any type of weight loss method, diet, or lifestyle change, do your research! This alone can often deter you from fad diets that just aren’t for you, or not really based on any scientific studies.
Realize that you are an individual with individual needs. Just because your friend, sister, co-worker, or social media buddy are doing a specific diet and being successful with it, does NOT mean you have to. What works for one person is not going to work for everyone. When you find something that works for you, just keep on going.
Consider your preferences and food allergies. A common mistake made with yo-yo dieters is that they go to these extreme diets without really understanding what it will be like. Remember to look at what foods are or aren’t allowed, what restrictions there are, and what you will actually be eating. If you can’t have dairy because of lactose intolerance, then going on Keto where you would be eating quite a bit of cream, butter and cheese, is maybe not your best option.