We all know a friend who has gone to extreme lengths to lose several pounds within a short span of time and gain all the weight back just as quickly.
Maybe that friend is you. Yo-yo dieting is a form of vicious weight cycle where a person loses weight too quickly and puts it back on, continuously going on extreme diets which can often be demoralizing. Health experts agree that yo-yo dieting can come with several psychological and physical drawbacks including the ones listed below.
You Gain More than You Lose
Ask any yo-yo dieter and they’ll tell you how they shed sweat and tears to lose the excess weight but as soon as they went off the hardcore diet, they gained back even more weight than they had lost. In fact, research shows that more than a third of yo-yo dieters put on more pounds which eventually demotivates them from living a healthier lifestyle.
Extreme dieting can also result in a loss of lean tissue which is often harder to gain back and once you’re off the diet which is why you end up fatter than you had started.
Your Mood Is Affected
Yo-yo dieting often involves under-eating which can keep you in a constant state of hunger and irritation. Moreover, when you’re continuously losing and gaining weight, it can take a toll on your psychological heath and make you frustrated.
Psychologist Valerie Taylor says that ‘quick-fix’ diets popular on the internet are the culprit and people need to educate themselves on safer and healthier ways of losing weight and maintaining the progress.
Yo-yo Dieting Can Leave You Feeling Socially Isolated
When someone goes through a remarkable weight-loss transformation, they can’t wait to show off they’re new figure to friends and family. It’s an exciting process which can boost your self-esteem and even your social status – but the opposite is true when you put all the weight back on and you suddenly lose the will to leave the house or be seen in your social circle. This vicious cycle can be debilitating and leave you feeling ashamed and socially isolated.
Your Skin Loses Elasticity Over Time
Your skin in the biggest organ of your body, and often the most unforgiving one if you’re not looking after it properly. When you put on some weight, your skin stretches like elastic to accommodate the extra weight; but your skin will eventually lose its elasticity if you continuously lose and gain a significant amount of weight.
This is especially true for older women who lose the collagen and elasticity in their skin with age, and yo-yo dieting can make the signs of aging even more visible. Unfortunately, every inch of your body suffers irreversibly from the constant losing and gaining, making the skin around your arms, legs and abdomen become looser.
Your Bones Become Weaker
Women tend to lose bone density and become weaker after menopause due to a decrease in estrogen level, and yo-yo dieting only makes the problem worse since post-menopausal women can’t regain their bone mineral density after an extreme weight-loss like their younger counterparts..
Increased Risk of Suffering from an Eating Disorder
People who continuously go on extreme diets, become obsessed with food and are more likely to fast for several hours while losing weight and binge eat after they stop dieting.
A study analyzed the weight-gain trend in obese African-American women to discover that yo-yo dieters were far more likely to binge-eat than others. Nutritionists say that binging is a common side-effect of restrictive diets which is why they are almost impossible to sustain, making dieters feel like failures in the end.