yo-yo diet

The Truth About What Yo-Yo Dieting Actually Does to Your Body

Here’s the truth about yo-yo dieting… and what you should be doing instead! I’m not a fan of sugar coating the important things in life. And knowing the truth about yo-yo dieting and what it does to your body – is SO important. 

The Truth About Yo-Yo Dieting

If you’re like most moms, there’s been a time in life when you had to lose weight fast. Maybe summer was around the corner and you wanted to look a certain way for it, or you wanted to fit into the perfect dress for that bridal shower. (When this happens we always turn to a nasty little thing called Yo-Yo Dieting.)

So you work hard: heavy lifting, lots of cardio, and a super-restrictive diet. And you do drop that weight and fit into that perfect outfit…only to have the weight creep back upon you, plus a couple of extra pounds. And when you have to lose them again, the cycle starts all over!

This is called yo-yo dieting, and it can really mess with your body. Here’s the truth about yo-yo dieting and what actually happens when you put yourself through dramatic dietary changes.

Homeostasis and Weight Loss

Everything our bodies do helps make sure we’re still alive tomorrow. Our internal systems are programmed to keep a perfect balance, to keep us healthy!

This is called homeostasis. This pretty much means that your body is constantly working to do what it needs to keep you alive. If you’re cold, your body shivers with the intent to warm you, and when you diet, your body slows down your metabolism in order to prevent you from starving.

How Fat Cells Work

You are born with an X amount of fat cells and when you diet, contrary to popular belief,  these cells don’t disappear, they simply shrink, then you look slimmer.

So, when you start “eating again” the cells start to fill up or swell.

The problem is that, when coming off a very restrictive diet, you tend to stuff your face, as I will be talking about in the next point.

And, this excessive caloric intake (when the cells are in a depleted state) can trigger your body to produce more fat cells… to accommodate all the food you are taking in, in case you ‘’starve’’ again.

If this happens, you will now have even MORE fat cells to fill out, which can be one of the explanations why there can be more weight gain after the diet than when you began with it.

Every time you yo-yo diet, it’s harder to keep the pounds off because you might have even more fat cells to “shrink”.

The Minnesota Starvation Experiment

Let’s look at one of the ultimate studies on restrictive dieting, The Minnesota Starvation Experiment. It took place in 1945 when scientists were trying to understand how starvation affects the human mind and body. In the study, participants ate about 25% of their pre-starvation body weight for 24 weeks.

Afterward, all participants were given rehabilitative diets where calories increased incrementally. But here’s the important part: even though participants were warned not to overeat, some engaged in extreme overeating anyway.

In other words, extreme overeating after extremely restrictive dieting is a common pattern of behavior. With all the hormonal changes occurring during restrictive dieting, you have a hard time knowing when to stop eating, thanks to higher levels of ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and lower levels of leptin (satiety hormone).

Basically, your body keeps on telling you that you’re hungry, without telling you you’re full.

Of course, you can crank up the intensity of your training and Nutrition, so you can get yourself ‘’ready’’ for an event… or just to see how far you can push yourself, but it is EXTREMELY important to have the correct guidance to know how to come out of the extreme caloric restriction, and add calories back into your diet without excessive weight gain.

The bottom line? Yo-yo dieting or weight cycling does more harm than good. Losing massive amounts of weight should never happen quickly; it should be a sustainable part of your life.

After all, you gained your excess weight in more than a month’s time, so you shouldn’t expect to lose those pounds in a month! 

While you shouldn’t expect to lose that weight in a month’s time… I do have a program that will kickstart your fitness routine and help you start losing weight in just a month! I’m talking about my 4 Weeks Mega Shred Transformation. This program is going to be the last fitness program that you ever have to do! Don’t believe me? Come try for yourself! Click here to join the next transformation.

Remember – yo-yo dieting is not the answer! Help other mamas learn the truth. Share this post to Pinterest and follow me @nathaliamelofit for more.

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