A lot of people nowadays go on diets, often times not being able to follow them for a long time. A lot of diets are difficult to follow and tend to be unsustainable for long term. This results in a fluctuation in our diet, diet plans and weight. These frequent ups and downs in your dietary habits is known as yo-yo dieting, a phenomenon that has been discussed a lot by health experts nowadays, but about which a lot of people still remain woefully unaware. It’s also known as weight cycling and it describes a pattern of eating that leads to loss of weight for the short time period when the diet is followed and then regaining of weight, when the dieter inadvertently stops following a particular diet for a long period of time.
Although wanting to clean up your meals and going on a diet for the general betterment of your body is considered a good idea, you need to be cautious of falling into the yo-yo dieting pattern. A number of research studies have looked into the impact of the yo-yo dieting on the body and the results have been unanimous in suggesting that we are better off sticking to our respective healthy diets, rather than abandoning them mid-way.
Here are some purported harmful effects of yo-yo dieting on your health:
1. Increased risk of heart diseases
A University of Columbia study said that yo-yo dieting may increase risk of heart diseases in women who lost some 10 pounds after following a diet and then regained the weight within the same year. The researchers said that it was difficult in these female participants to control heart disease risk factors. Weight cycling is also said to be linked with an increased risk of coronary heart disease.
2. Prevents you from reaching weight loss goals
Yo-yo dieting builds a frustrating pattern of weight gain after an encouraging spells of weight loss. This frustration may prevent you from reaching your long term goal of weight loss. Yo-yo dieting essentially involves giving up on the diet once you see sufficient weight loss, which leads to weight gain once again. Your body is not able to maintain a healthy weight or keep your weight off.
3. Increase in body fat percentage
Weight cycling has been linked with an overall increase in body fat percentage, belly fat, as well as increased risk of obesity. Weight Cycling or yo-yo dieting may also increase risk of future weight gain, as per some studies conducted on the impact of this diet on the body. It was, however, found that yo-yo dieting did not increase risk of Type-2 diabetes or high blood sugar levels.
Although there is still more research required to conclusively prove whether yo-yo dieting is definitively bad for the body, the weight cycling pattern can be certainly frustrating for anyone looking at losing weight for good. Yo-yo dieting or Weight Cycling takes place when a dieter follows a fad diet that promises quick weight loss and limited overall health benefits. This is why the effects of these diets last for a short period of time and are easily reversed in the form of weight gain.
Here are some tips to prevent yo-yo dieting pattern or weight cycling and achieve weight loss for the longer term:
1. Eat healthy well-balanced meals and don’t starve yourself.
2. Avoid eating out more than two times a week. Compensate for a meal at the restaurant, by cutting down on calories for the rest of the day.
3. Avoid sugary drinks and packaged fruit juices, as well as drinks with artificial sweeteners in them.
4. Set realistic weight loss goals and follow your diet patiently and with discipline.
5. Indulge yourselves once in a while in your favourite foods, but make sure you only do that after completing your stipulated hours or workout for the week.
6. Avoid eating too late in the evening or late at night. Eating right before bed can also lead to weight gain.
It’s important to make sure you have the right intention for following a healthy diet. Instead of achieving quick weight loss and merely doing it to look good, concentrate on eating healthy for a fit body and healthy mind.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.