12 Oct What Yo-yo Dieting Does to your Body
What Yo-Yo Dieting Does to your Body
You may be interested to read what Keri Glassman, one of the most well known nutritionists in the country has to say about, “What Yo-yo Dieting does to your body.” I had the pleasure of chatting with her about this topic and found her information fascinating!
Keri Glassman is one of the most well known nutritionists in the country — she’s the founder of The Nutrition School, coaches personal nutrition clients in her NYC office, and is also a regular nutrition expert on shows like The Today Show and Dr. Oz. She’s a contributing editor and on the advisory board for Yahoo Health and Women’s Health Magazine and has a weekly column in People Magazine. Enter Keri’s The Nutrition School, a 12week online course to help the next generation of nutritionists, fitness professionals, health coaches, and so many others reach the top of their game and become Nutritious Life Certified.
My pants are tight and I need to lose 5 pounds by Friday.
I’m not getting rid of this dress because I’ll fit into again come spring.
Ugh, nothing fits, and I gotta lose weight in time for my reunion.
I wanna get skinny for vacation so I can enjoy all those margaritas once I get there.
These are things I hear from clients everyday, and chances are they’ve come out of your own mouth before at some point in time. Do they sound familiar? No judgement here, I promise!
Most of us have tried to lose weight before, and most of us have experienced it slowly creep back on. And the cycle repeats. Again. And again. And again.
It’s what we call yo-yo dieting. Lose, gain, lose, gain…
It’s so mentally frustrating, I know. But have you ever thought how physically frustrated your body is? Have you ever gotten past beating yourself up emotionally to consider what yoyo dieting is actually doing to your body?
Let’s take a look at what’s actually going on inside your body through these diet cycles, and why you might be really wrecking your chances to maintain your healthy weight (and your health in general) in the long run.
You’re slowing down your metabolism. If you starve your body of needed calories, your body adjusts by slowing down its metabolic rate. This means it doesn’t burn calories as efficiently.
As a reminder, your metabolism (one component of it) is the rate at which you burn fuel (calories) for energy. When you don’t have adequate calories, your body goes into protection mode (it wants to preserve stored fuel) and slows down. This also usually equals muscle loss because when your body doesn’t have food to burn as fuel, it uses your muscles to burn as fuel instead.
Muscle is more metabolically active than fat. So, when you have more muscle your basal metabolic rate (how much your body burns at rest) is higher. In other words, the greater amount of muscle you have, the more you burn while watching netflix.
This whole chain of events is the exact opposite of what you’re trying to achieve when dieting. So while yo-yo dieting may not permanently ruin your metabolism, every time you lose muscle you damage your overall wellness and make it more difficult to lose weight again.
Bottom line, eat adequate calories to preserve muscles for what they are meant for and to keep your metabolic rate at its max.
You’re messing with your hormones. When you restrict calories and constantly change your diet dramatically, you can increase your hormone cortisol. This is a bad thing.
The mental drain of yo-yo dieting can also cause stress, which increases cortisol. Cortisol is linked to weight around the midsection. Again, NOT what you want when you’re trying to diet, or anytime for that matter. Cortisol also increases your risk of developing all kinds of diseases you don’t want, like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
Extreme calorie restriction can also affect your immune system and cause dry skin, hair, and nails. So while it might indeed get you squeezing into your skinny jeans by the weekend, come Monday your entire body will be paying a price.
You’re stressing your vital organs. Extreme weight loss is hard on your brain, heart, liver and kidneys. And we all know those are 4 very important parts of our bodies! These organs need carbs and calories to work, and without the right nutrients you can actually damage them, as well as your bones, skin, and immune system.
Rather than going to extremes and cutting out all fats or all carbs, try to just reduce them proportionately instead, particularly the “bad” ones. Been downing an over-sized muffin for breakfast? Switch to a 1⁄2 cup of gluten free oats with cinnamon instead. Getting your fat from indulging in chips and skipping it in your “clean” salad? Instead, add 1⁄3 of an avocado to your salad and snack on 10 nuts instead of the chips.
So what are you to do if you really need to lose 15 pounds by vacation or 20+ pounds by your reunion and you’ve already lost and gained it 3 times over the past 5 years?
Here is one of the ways I educate my clients (and I can teach you to do the same!):
First, change your mindset. Rather than thinking you’ll just lose the weight quickly then go back to your old habits, why not use it as a reason to finally make some real changes you know you’ve been needing? Commit to long term habits and behaviors.
Then, write down the diet mistakes you’ve consistently made in the past and decide NOW, how you won’t make the same mistake this time.
● Mistake 1: “Skip breakfast”
● Solution 1: Choose two go-to breakfasts that you can always have the ingredients on hand for (gluten free oats and almonds OR hard boiled eggs and corn tortilla)
● Mistake 2: “Eat too ‘clean’ at lunch and then go for candy at snack time”
● Solution 2: Eat large portion of veggies and make sure to have at least 4 oz. of lean protein in addition to a small portion of healthy fat.
So there you have it. I hope that you found this information both useful and easy to apply as part of your healthy lifestyle. Thank you Keri!