The Yo-Yo Cycle: Why Dieting Makes People Fatter.
Updated: Jul 9
FACT: The number of times the average person attempts to diet in their life, is directly correlated to how much body fat they will gain.
Yep, you read that right.
It’s not that dieting doesn’t work, of course.
But rather the way in which the vast majority of people attempt to diet, sets them up for failure rather than success.
If you approach a fat-loss diet correctly you will NOT be losing 5+ pounds every week.
The reality of it, is that it isn’t going to be quick.
And if it IS quick, it won’t likely be sustainable.
I think everyone would agree that the goal is not to get leaner. The goal to STAY leaner.
Losing weight won’t matter if you just end up gaining it back.
If you cannot sustain it, all of your effort and hard work will be all wasted – and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that weight loss can be HARD.
You could approach it with a “whatever it takes” mentality – starve, run yourself into the ground, and drop a ton of weight quickly.
People do it all the time. You most likely know a few individuals who have.
But how often do they keep it off?
With such an approach, you’re likely just setting yourself up to regain that weight, and then some.
What good is that?
And it WILL happen. It happens to people all the time. Look around.
Losing a bunch of fat is a great accomplishment. But if you gain it right back, then it’s all for nothing.
And you actually end up worse off the next time you try to diet down.
I won’t go too deep into the science of it, but there are a number of real physiological factors that will literally make it even more difficult to do it again.
Dieting – being in a caloric deficit for an extended period of time – takes a toll on your body and metabolism.
Famine obviously isn’t an issue to us in today’s world, and we’re fortunate enough that none of us are likely to be short on available food anytime soon.
Unfortunately, the human body doesn’t know that.
We’ve evolved over the course of thousands of years in order to ENSURE SURVIVAL, first and foremost. Not to look good naked.
Your body doesn’t want to lose weight.
A cascade of hormones is signaled in order for your body to adapt favorably to not intaking enough energy(food) to maintain.
It does everything it can to keep you from starving to death. Metabolic rate decreases. In other words, the rate at which your body uses energy(calories) declines. This drop in energy metabolism is executed in order to preserve fuel and ensure survival – in case of a prolonged shortage of food.
Hunger increases. Certain hormones, particularly the hormone ‘Leptin’, make it increasingly difficult to not eat everything in sight.
Protein breakdown increases. When you’re in a huge caloric deficit daily, your body starts breaking down protein stores to use as energy, in addition to fat, more rapidly. This means muscle loss. Which is NOT what you want to be happening when dieting.
Ensuring lean mass retention is CRUCIAL if you want to improve overall body composition.
Unless, of course, you’re content with losing a ton of weight and looking exactly the same, becoming weaker, having a lower basal metabolic rate(and consequently not being able to eat as much), and generally being less healthy overall.
And the fact of the matter is that it is exponentially more difficult to gain muscle than it is to lose fat. Ask any competitive bodybuilder.
Piss away all of your muscle mass chasing unrealistic weight-loss goals, and you’ll likely spend YEARS trying to regain the lean mass that you lost.
Most of all, if you diet in a way that is unsustainable as a longterm lifestyle change(weight loss shakes, anyone?), what do you think is going to happen once you stop, and go back to your ‘normal’ eating habits and level of activity?
You’re going to regain the weight QUICKLY. And the majority of it is going to be fat.
Break the “yo-yo dieting” cycle.
Start with small, sustainable changes that you can ingrain as habits for longterm adherence.
Don’t look to do a complete 180 degree lifestyle overhaul overnight.
And don’t expect a quick fix.
Intelligent approach/planning + Consistent execution = Sustainability.
Set yourself up for success. Don’t set yourself up for failure.