То lose weight successfully is one thing, but to do so without harming your overall health and to preserve your results in the long term are two entirely different pieces of cake.
If you’ve been experimenting with one diet change after another, you already know that lost weight is not lost forever. In fact, most highly restrictive diets are guaranteed to result in gaining weight as a compensatory mechanism – and that’s just the first bad news on the list.
How to reduce your body weight for good, and how to plan the process safely and intelligently? Learn all the fundamentals of yo-yo in the paragraphs below, and start planning long-term results instead of rapid and questionably healthy results!
What is the Yo-Yo Effect Exactly?
Yo-yo dieting, also known as weight cycling, is a vicious circle of weight loss and weight gain. It comes as a result of harsh dietary restrictions that aim for immediate results, often achieved by excluding entire groups of foods from your menu for extended periods of time.
These diets often won’t work well with regular exercise because your body will be severely deprived, and you will lack the energy to perform. As a result, you will lose body fat and muscle mass alike. The thing is – after you come back to your “normal” eating habits, you will regain all the weight back, but only in the form of body fat.
Your muscle mass will be replaced with fats, thus rapidly decreasing your basal metabolic rate and your overall physical well-being.
Then, the process repeats until you break the cycle and replace huge changes with persistent changes.
How Does Weight Cycling Affect Your General Health?
As described above, the replacement of muscle mass with body fat is the primary mechanism through which weight regain worsens one’s health. It is, unfortunately, not the only one.
Yo-yo is not just regaining your initial weight. It is often known to add extra kilos, blended with a large portion of stress and additional health problems.
The negative effects of weight cycling can be summed up as follows:
- Increased body fat percentage and higher body mass index.
- Increased risk of fatty liver and developing liver fibrosis.
- Worsened heart health and greater risk of heart disease.
- Declined immune response towards internal and external threats.
- Increased risk of blood sugar abnormalities and diabetes.
- Disturbed stress hormone balance, anxiety episodes, etc.
Last but not least, the feeling of “failure” after regaining your weight is proven to worsen your general self-image and overall mental health.
In fact, a few yo-yo experiences in a row can drive people to develop eating disorders and turn to dangerous weight loss pills in a desperate attempt to get magical results without real lifestyle changes.
General Recommendations For Your Yo-Yo-Free Diet Plan
Now that you know better than putting your body through yo-yo dieting, one question still remains: what to do instead?
Of course, you shouldn’t give up on your aim of losing weight just because you can’t do it healthily in a week. Though it can be extremely challenging, proper dieting is also extremely rewarding.
And to start your journey the right way, you should always keep in mind a few fundamentals of healthy weight loss:
- Try to consume fewer calories without ever allowing yourself to skip meals throughout the day.
- Reduce your daily calorie intake by consuming more meals of low-calorie foods and not by consuming one high-calorie meal a day.
- Ensure you eat enough fiber-rich foods, protein-rich foods, and healthy fat products.
- Level up your exercise science skills and trust weight training more than you trust cardio exercises.
- Stay well-hydrated and always pick water instead of soft drinks, sweetened juices, or even freshly-squeezed fruits.
- Get enough sleep to regulate your stress hormones and reduce your cravings for carbohydrate-rich foods throughout the day.
- Go gently on yourself and remember that crash diet results are not expected when you do things the right way.
At the end of the day, more low-calorie foods, proper exercise, hydration, and proper rest will not merely drive you to start losing weight; they will help you continue losing weight until you finally love what you see in the mirror.
Diets That Might Help Achieving Healthy Weight Without the Up-Down Motion
Consulting a licensed nutritionist or dietician will always be a winning strategy, especially if you have a few predisposing factors and accompanying diseases on your list. In addition, hormonal disbalance, metabolic syndromes, and a damaged microbiome are to be taken into account if you aim to reduce body fat smartly, safely, and successfully.
Anyway, if you’re healthy enough to look for a way to diet without yo-yo effect on your own, there are a few ready-made alternatives out there.
These are, for example:
- The Mediterranean diet, where you can consume plenty of plant-based foods, fresh fruits, beans, nuts, whole grains, seafood, seeds, and olive oil as a part of your lifestyle.
- The Japanese diet that consists of minimally processed foods, seasonal ingredients, small portions, and little to zero content of added sugars and extracted fats.
- The Zone diet that requires you to stick to a specific nutritional content ratio of 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fat.
- The Vegan and Raw food diets where you mainly consume raw, non-processed, and whole foods as a long-term weight and health control strategy.
In most cases, eating a balanced diet and engaging in an intentional healthy living will be just enough to make a difference. Anyway, these are often easier said than done.
The harsh truth is that you will hardly achieve any lasting success if you’re not ready to make an actual change in both your eating habits and your lifestyle philosophy.
When Do You Need Professional Help in Pursuing Your Weight Loss Goals?
If you’ve been battling those few extra pounds between you and your target weight for years, you can also consider turning to a specialist to give you a helping hand.
You can gain weight after a yo-yo diet due to an undiagnosed health condition or because of an entirely wrong approach to nutrition. Regardless of the reason, a certified professional can always recognize your pattern and prepare a personalized weight loss journey tailored to your necessities.
At LuckyFit Bansko, you can consult professional nutritionists and enjoy end-to-end support through your efforts to look and feel great. When spending seven or fourteen weeks in our weight loss program, participants enjoy a balanced diet, plenty of outdoor activities in the mountains, and medical monitoring of the entire process.
Along with lectures and education on nutrition, we will help you understand the fundamental principles of healthy weight loss. So all that’s left is to incorporate these into your daily life and become the version of yourself you’ve been aiming at since forever.