Yo-yo dieting, a trap that many fall into when trying out new trendy diets and food fads, is all about losing weight rapidly, only to gain it all back again! While you may think that the short term calorie loss makes all of this worth it, these repeated weight fluctuations can actually be extremely dangerous.
Muscle Loss and Fat Gain
Muscles are needed in order to burn calories, but once your calorie intake drops below a certain level, your body starts to digest muscle cells in order to create energy. While you may also lose some fat at the beginning, this will only be regained once the weight is put back on, and, over time, your muscles will not be healthy enough to burn this fat yet again. This means that you will be left with a body that is high in fat but low in muscles, which then leads to a number of different health problems, from coronary artery disease to diabetes.
Increased Risk for Diseases
Extreme calorie restriction is common amongst yo-yo dieters, but this causes your body to release large amounts of cortisol, otherwise known as the stress hormone. When your body is subjected to this over long periods of time, it can have some severe impacts on your health, including increasing your risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. These risks are increased with the more yo-yo diets you take part in, meaning that stopping now can still make a huge difference.
When you cut back on the number of calories that you feed your body, this means that your body needs to make a variety of adjustments in order to keep energy levels high. However, it can only sustain this for so long, and, over time, you will notice your energy levels begin to drop. In addition to this, fatigue, irritability and limited brain function are also possible, all of which can be avoided with a healthy and consistent diet.
While your skin may be able to expand and contract as you gain and lose weight at the beginning, elasticity slows down with age, meaning that, as you get older, your yo-yo dieting will quickly bring about stretch marks and sagging skin. Gradual weight gain or loss does not do this to such an extent, but rapid weight fluctuations put unnecessary strains on the skin. In addition to this, many of the restrictive diets that are followed by yo-yo dieters lack in protein, which interferes with collagen production, affecting the firmness and plumpness of the skin.
While new diets that promise to be a quick fix will always seem tempting, a slow and gradual approach to weight loss is far better for you in the long run, and it is also much more likely to then be permanent. Rather than focusing solely on your diet, try to make healthier general lifestyle changes instead, from more physical activity to an increase in the amount of fresh foods you eat, as this will bring you many more benefits in the end.