The journey to feeling good in your body and reaching a healthy weight can be long and hard. At first, you may be convinced by the quick success you see with crash diets. But as soon as you return to your regular routine, the weight often comes back –– sometimes more than you lost. Why is that? And what can you do about it? We’ve got all the information and tips to avoid yo-yo dieting so you can finally stay at your desired weight.
What is Yo-Yo Dieting?
Yo-yo dieting or weight cycling means regaining the weight you lost after dieting. Often you gain more than you lose during a diet. Often, when you gain or lose weight dramatically, it’s the result of crash diets where you don’t consume enough calories over a period of time. As soon as you start eating normally again, you will gain weight. One study shows that 95% of participants returned to their starting weight after losing weight on a calorie-restricted diet.(1)
What causes weight cycling?
Crash diets usually bring small but temporary results. The body loses mainly water weight and muscle mass. Your metabolic rate decreases due to calorie restriction and loss of muscle mass.
As soon as you go back to old eating and lifestyle habits after a diet, you’ll quickly gain weight back because your basal metabolic rate (BMR) drops to cope with fewer calories. The calories you consume are then stored in fat. So the mechanism behind the yo-yo effect is an important protective function to protect the body from periods of starvation.
Depending on the amount of muscle mass you lose, your basal metabolic rate, and how quickly you return to your old eating habits, your body weight may increase significantly from your pre-diet weight.
5 tips to avoid the yo-yo effect
1. Avoid crash foods
Forget low-carb diets and other fads! Extreme diets that eliminate entire food groups and dramatically reduce calorie intake do not produce lasting results. what happens You revert to old patterns and quickly gain the weight back.
If you want to lose weight efficiently and In a healthy way, reduce your calories slightly (approximately 300 to 500 calories per day). Losing about 0.5 kg per week is realistic and will help you lose weight.
Don’t be too hard on yourself!
Your weight loss may plateau and you may stop losing weight for a while. Don’t let it get to you. Stick with it and soon you will be celebrating your success.
2. Eat enough and keep it balanced
Yes, to lose weight and keep it off, you need to eat enough. If you change your diet permanently and eat a balanced diet intuitively, you have a better chance of avoiding the yo-yo effect. Eating intuitively It means listening to your body. No food is forbidden; Everything is allowed without a guilty conscience.
If you eat enough fiber, protein and good quality fats, you will nourish your body and not have cravings.
3. Increase your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
is your BMR The amount of energy your body needs To perform all important functions. If you don’t consume enough calories, it will decrease. Your metabolism switches to starvation mode and you don’t lose weight. What can you do? Increase your basal metabolic rate by building muscle mass. Muscles burn glucose and fat when you move, even when you sleep. The only way to reduce calories and avoid the yo-yo effect is to build and maintain adequate muscle mass.
Are you on a diet?
Building muscle on a diet is difficult. To build muscle with strength training you need to consume enough calories, protein and carbohydrates.
4. Move more throughout the day
Adding exercise to your routine will help you burn more calories. Go for regular walks, take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, leave the car at home more often and take your bike. It’s not only good for your body, it’s good for your soul too! Plus, fresh air strengthens your immune system and you get your daily Vitamin D dosage in the sun
5. Get plenty of rest
If you don’t get enough sleep or have high stress levels, your risk of obesity and weight gain is high.(3,4) Reducing your stress is an effective way to avoid the yo-yo effect after weight loss. Exercise reduces stress. Remember: Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night to stay healthy.(5)
Avoiding yo-yo dieting isn’t always easy. If you want to keep your weight off for a long time, eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and get plenty of rest.