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Beware of yo-yo dieting!

It goes down fast, it comes up fast. If this is how you describe what your bathroom scale does from time to time, then it’s time to take a closer look at how you lose weight. Start by asking yourself how many times you have succeeded in losing a few kilograms quickly, but as soon as you resumed your old eating habits, you gained it all back! If you can count the number of times that has happened, then you could be a victim of yo-yo dieting!

Short-term weight loss is so in demand that every one of us, especially before a certain important occasion, has tried it once in our lives.

So, what exactly is yo-yo dieting?

It means following fad diets to lose weight by skipping main meals, starving the body, only eating one type of food every day, or following very low-calorie diets.

How does your body respond?

Initially, most of the weight lost is mainly water and muscle. When you starve yourself, after some time, your body enters a state of battle. It starts believing that starvation is coming soon and tries to resist weight loss by holding onto its fat stores. Your body slows down its metabolism, and your weight stabilizes after a certain point of fast weight loss.

Then, as your weight plateaus, you slowly get de-motivated, go back to your old eating habits, and before you know it, you start gaining all the kilograms you lost – and sometimes it’s even more than to you had before your diet! This is what a yo-yo diet is all about! With every diet cycle, your ability to burn calories decreases, and your body loses some of its muscle mass which further slows down your metabolism.

What should you do?

- Instead of shocking your system with a crash diet to lose weight in a hurry, follow a long-term balanced diet program that is moderately low in calories, low in fat, but rich in nutrients and fibre.

- Do not skip meals. Eating small frequent meals every 3 hours will boost your metabolism.

- Eating one type of food every day is not a wise choice, since no one food contains all the nutrients that your body needs. So variety will not only give you the essential nutrients, but is recommended to prevent any feeling of boredom that you’ll encounter with one type of food.

- Be content with a modest weight loss. 0.5 to 1 kilogram per week which will be almost all from your fat stores. This is what you ultimately want to get rid of, the unwanted fat!

- Work on changing your lifestyle, and let physical activity be part of your daily life.

So whether it’s a special event, a family function or simply your desire to lose weight, the key thing to remember is that a rapid loss is rarely good. You should instead aim for a slow but steady decline while following the right diet recommended by a professional.

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