Yo yo dieting or fad diets are not only unhealthy; they’re discouraging and can add emotional problems to your weight issues. The only safe and relatively “quick fix” to being overweight is personalized medical weight loss.
Most people seem to try yo yo diets first, sometimes many times. Crash diets, followed by binge eating, then on to another fad diet with unbalanced nutrition. One month no fats, the next no meat, a month of gobbling everything in sight due to discouragement, the one after on shakes, then a month of grapefruit…
Deep down, you already know this isn’t a healthy way to treat your body. It won’t solve your weight issues – it will make them worse.
Why Yo Yo Dieting Sabotages Weight Loss
In fact, for many, each cycle of the yo yo diet ultimately ends up adding pounds instead of losing them. The reason is that many of these yo yo diets slow down your metabolism. They reset your metabolic set point, in the wrong direction, and it becomes harder and harder to lose weight.
Even a person who wasn’t overweight at all can end up with a weight problem if they follow a series of fad diets.
Your Body Is Trying To Keep You Safe
Remember that our modern way of life is relatively new. Our bodies evolved over millennia as hunter/gatherers, before there was any type of cultivated food. There certainly weren’t grocery stores and fast food outlets! So your body expects our food supply to be relatively consistent, depending on climate and seasons, not on the fad we happened to read about this month.
When your body is forced to deal with weeks of severe food restriction, followed by weeks of calorie-laden feasts, it “learns” that conditions are unpredictable and threatening. Sometimes there is lots of food, but there are also regular famines where the nutrition required for health and survival vanishes.
Your Body Reacts to Unpredictable Nutrition By Storing Fat
Your body doesn’t recognize that this yo yo of calories results from your fad diet choices. It prepares itself for even longer famines which may be approaching by slowing your metabolism further. It takes advantage of times when you’re between fad diets and eating more, and stores extra energy in the form of fat.
Your body isn’t comfortable with frequent, unpredictable changes in caloric intake, and reacts by assuming there is a threat to its long-term wellbeing. That’s why yoyo dieting will actually make it harder and harder to lose weight. Every fad diet is likely to make you fatter, if this is your eating pattern.
The scariest part is that most people react by looking for stricter diets, followed by bigger binges. Obviously, this is only going to make the weight gain and health consequences worse.
Break the Yo Yo Diet Cycle and Lose the Weight
If you’ve been cycling through these types of fad diets, you’re probably going to need professional help to lose weight safely. If you’re in Hawaii, call our office at (808) 551-4348 or fill out the online form for a free introductory appointment. If you’re not in Hawaii, be sure that any diet you consider in the future involves healthy eating and balanced nutrition.
Here are some specifics to look for when you need to reset your metabolic set point:
- You eat small meals regularly, at least 3-4 meals daily. Ideally you won’t go more than three hours without taking in calories.
- You are encouraged to increase your physical activity levels, even in small ways.
Over time, as you are more active and your body consistently gets nutrition without experiencing famine, it will begin to trust that your food supply is now more plentiful and predictable. At that point it will allow your metabolism to increase, and slowly begin to release some of the fat it has been storing. Then you’ll be on track to lose weight and keep it off, as long as you avoid yo yo diets and fad diets.