Many of my Sacramento weight loss patients were yo-yo dieters for years. They dieted, lost weight and gained it all right back. Of course, the weight gain would trigger another crash diet, and the gain-loss cycle would continue.
Yo-yo dieting is unhealthy for many reasons, both psychologically and physically. From an emotional perspective, the constant highs and lows from gaining and losing weight can create feelings of anxiety, anger and frustration, which may ultimately lead to depression. Most yo-yo dieters have an obsessive preoccupation with food and weight that can become so strong that it interferes with their relationships and daily life. These individuals may also have strong feelings of self-hate or body loathing and typically suffer from poor self-image. Yo-yo dieting has been associated with an increased risk for eating disorders and may eventually lead to bulimia, compulsive overeating or anorexia.
Yo-yo dieting also takes a physical toll on the body. Severe caloric restriction causes nutritional deficiency and slows down the metabolism. This can result in reducing the number of calories the body burns, making weight loss more difficult. A low calorie diet can also lead to muscle loss and has been shown to weaken the immune system.
Breaking the Cycle
So, what’s the solution? A consistent, healthy diet and regular exercise is the best course of action for overall health. Eating small meals throughout the day keeps the metabolism working efficiently, and physical activity burns calories and increases muscle mass.
Bariatric surgery may also be an option to help men and women who are severely obese control their weight. Usually, surgical solutions are considered when an individual has a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater and is committed to making better lifestyle choices. Even after surgery, a proper diet and physical activity regimen should be maintained.