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Are you into yo-yo dieting? It’s not worth it, explains an expert

Published on:7 November 2021, 16:08pm IST
Just like a yo-yo goes up and down, yo-yo dieting is the cycle of losing weight, gaining it and then losing it again! And it's no good!
Anupama Menon
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yo-yo dieting
Crash dieting can give you quick, but not sustainable results. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Yo-yo the toy spins quickly upwards and downwards, staying genuine to neither. It’s fascinating to watch the spin! But once the spin stops, it leaves your eyes in a whirl. Yo-yo dieting is almost a bad word in current times where the awareness of eating healthy and the knowledge that accompanies it is not uncommon. But the human mind is such. It plays the devil dispelling any attempt at logic when the urgent need to achieve a goal sets in.

The concept of dieting

You may have had health or weight issues compounding over a long period of time but may feel the desperate need to build Rome in a day when it comes to optimizing the weight scale. And then you land up taking all the wrong decisions. Why? Because you are in a hurry. You overestimate human endurance, you overestimate a human’s ability to control, you believe you will never need a break from healthy eating and you set goals for yourself keeping this illusion in mind.

yo-yo dieting
Make healthy eating an everyday affair! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Fad diets and crash diets are alluring – promising instant outcomes just like instant noodles. But both of these are devoid of any long-term health benefit. Both, in fact, promise long-term disadvantages.

Diets aren’t wrong in itself. They provide the bridge that translates compromised eating practices into healthy eating routines. But they can go wrong if not done right and have no ultimate purpose. As is in the case of diets that propagate difficulty in sustaining them – that either crash calories far lower than your body’s requirement or advocate elimination of specific macronutrients without knowing a body type. Or diets that get you to be mistaken for a mouse based on your eating skills or leave you staring awkwardly over delicious piles of food that you can’t eat. Or diets that preach water over food and fasts over a good breakfast.

But do such diets give good results? Yes, they do. They give you weight loss results initially. But remember one golden rule – what you do to lose weight is a minimum of 70 percent of what you will have to do to keep the weight off. So, by that rule, the question you need to ask yourself on any diet you decide to follow is “can I sustain this over a period of time?” or “am I willing to take the trouble to follow this tough diet and also willing to take the high risk of wheeling back to where I started incase I cannot sustain it?”

What is yo-yo dieting?

Yo-yo dieting, where you follow a diet – lose some and then gain some. And when you know the “gain some” is racing towards “gaining a lot more”, you pitch another diet to yourself and lose some peace and thank god some weight too! Of course, to bring the peace back again, you do need to gain the weight back too. No offense meant. The story continues and it is a familiar one.

Also Read: Dieting mistakes that you can easily avoid for better health

yo-yo dieting
Yo-yo dieting involves losing, gaining and losing weight through dieting! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Besides for obvious reasons, why is yo-yo dieting harmful?
  1. When you lose weight suddenly, you do lose muscle, tomorrow when you gain the weight back, it doesn’t come back unfortunately as the lost muscle, it comes back as fat. So now you are back at the original weight but with a higher fat percentage and poorer body tone.
  2. Because you have lost muscle and now gained more fat, the body slows down and metabolism is a bitch. Hence, the next time you want to lose weight, it gets tougher even with tough diets in the driver’s seat.
  3. You give up those cheat meals altogether. That is a common ask of most fad diets. But once you are off the diet, the body now has forgotten to metabolize large portions of rich food and few happy meals can anger your weighing scale no end without room for appeasement.
  4. Fad diets rarely consider your health or are customized to suit your body type. It may end up causing more harm than good – in most cases affecting your digestive system, sense of efficiency, your energy, your mood and the way you look. None of them for the good.

Remember – any system of eating that gives you results all too soon will also take away those results before you’ve had a chance to “catch”.

The last words

Finally, the truth of the matter is that this phenomenon itself is antithetical to your final goals for holistic wellness. It rarely makes a pitch to your long-term health. Instead, it keeps the fumes coming out of your ears and makes a dent on your otherwise happy personality.. 

What yo-yo dieting does for you is to see life only until 20 meters far away, and not bother about the roadblocks ahead or how to mitigate them. And now it’s in your hands to decide which hands you want to place your health in.

Anupama Menon Anupama Menon

Anupama Menon, Nutritionist and Food Coach has an experience of 20 years in the industry of nutrition, wellness and counselling. She successfully runs 2 wellness-oriented businesses related to niche counselling programs for individuals and health solution based programs for corporates. Her years of experience began with her various stints of individual practice in the U.S.A, setting up of and running the nutrition departments of Golds Gyms in Bangalore and then moved onto her identifying and molding her brand “Anupama Menon” and founding the company “Right Living” that works exclusively for corporates. Anupama Menon is a regular contributor of self-authored articles and thought contributor to various publications. Her individual practice which started off modestly inBangalore with a small segment of clients in 2010, today expands across the globe with over 5000 clients in India, Australia, USA, UK, HongKong, Singapore and UAE. She runs her practice out of Bangalore and Mumbai, while her team of 15 nutritionists and supervisors executes well defined programs across India to various corporates, Northern Trust, Snap Fitness, Ernst & Young to name a few. She co-founded Right Living in 2015 with her partner Subba K in Bangalore.