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Are you Yo-Yo dieting?

Pallavi Singh
Pallavi Singh
You must have come across a lot of people who say that they have shed x amount of weight in y months by following z diet. But once they have stopped following the diet, the weight gain was more than what they have previously lost.

That's Yo-Yo dieting for you. It is a pattern in which you lose a good amount of weight in a very short time and then gain it all back even faster. It becomes a never-ending struggle for you to lose weight and keep it off. Basically it’s a fad diet in the name of detox, cleanse, restrict that deplete you of essential nutrients and degrade your overall health.

Consuming fewer calories can really mess up with your hormonal system. It will also make you deficient in essential vitamins and minerals, and you lose a lot of muscles on the way. Switching a large amount of weight on and off frequently may result in heart diseases, fatty liver, high blood pressure, worsting of gut health, and causes emotional distress.

How does yo-yo dieting damage your body?

You start dieting on very restricted calories and you lose lots of weight in a short span of time. Weight loss will not be only from fat but it will be from the combination of water, body fat, and muscles. After you complete your diet phase, you have lesser fat and muscles.

Your body enters the starvation mode by eating in hypocaloric for a significant amount of time. This will make you binge eat and gain the lost weight back.
Again, you start dieting maybe with more fat but lesser muscle this time. Your fat to muscle ratio gets increased and leads to metabolism damage where you lose fewer calories while resting resulting in lesser fat loss than the previous time you diet.
The cycle continues and the more you do it, the lesser you lose by eating in hypocaloric resulting in some serious metabolic damage.

How can you keep the weight off and not yo-yo diet?

Eat between BMR and TEE: Avoid eating in fewer calories for a longer time. Eat between your basal metabolic rate and your total energy expenditure. Basal metabolic rate is the minimum energy your body needs to function properly. Total energy expenditure is the total amount of calories you burn in the day.

Try eating between BMR and TEE to avoid hypocaloric intake and yo-yo diet.
Incorporate resistance training: Incorporating resistance training not only will help you preserve your muscles while you are in a calorie deficit but it will also help you improve your body composition.
Add 1–2gram/kg protein in your diet: When you are in a calorie deficit, you lose weight. The weight loss can be the sum of your body fat, water weight, and muscles. To avoid losing muscles, you must include protein in between 1–2 gram/kg of your weight. 
For example, if you weigh 60kg, Try to eat between 60–120 grams of protein every day.

Add fruits and vegetables in your diet: There is a reason why people say “eat the rainbow”. Eating different fruits and vegetables will nourish you with vitamins and minerals and you won't degrade your health in your weight loss journey.

Focus on Fat loss and not weight loss: Focus on the inch loss, better body composition, good sleep cycle, and improved mood. Weight loss is just the by-product if you are losing fat and improving your health.

Focus on the long term goal: Be gentle on yourself and set realistic goals that you can achieve in a set time frame. Losing 2kg/month and keeping it off is better than losing 5kg in a month and gaining it back.
Also, setting shorter goals and achieving it will help you boost your confidence. Like working out 15 minutes every day and making it a habit is better than doing extensive workout for a few days and then giving up.

Stop doing an endless amount of cardio: Cardio is good for cardiovascular health but an excessive amount of cardio will result in muscle loss. Incorporate a combination of weight training and cardio in your schedule to get better results.