Weight cycling, or yo-yo dieting, is a common occurrence among heavier individuals, and happens when you diet, lose weight, but then gain it all back (and then some!). And then the cycle repeats. According to National Institute of Health, those who use short-term diets have a 30–65% chance to gain all the weight they lost back within just one year, and I myself have seen it happen many times. So today, I want to tell you a few simple tricks to not be just another statistic!
According to Dr Andrew J. Hill a dietician and a published author, weight cycling increases risk of cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes, as opposed to when you’re at a stable weight (even if it’s overweight!). The reason why this happens is because when you drastically limit your calorie intake, your body produces less leptin, a hormone that helps you feel full. Consequently, your body tells you that you’re hungry all the time, and you end up eating more. Besides, your overall body composition is likely to change, increasing your fat mass and decreasing muscle mass (which is something none of us want!). So, how do we avoid this?
What I’ve seen in my experience is that many will stick to a diet plan and reach their goal, but are given no further guidance. I recommend my clients to make sure they’re using a personalized meal plan (like the one we made specifically for you), and not a cookie-cutter diet that might do more harm than good. Once you’re at your weight goal, stick to the habits that will guarantee your success in maintaining it:
- Pick and choose what you eat. Make sure you’re getting plenty of vegetables, fruit, protein like lean meat or soy, and nuts. Avoid junk food, sugary drinks, and consume starchy foods, such as potatoes and bread, in moderation.
- Move your body! Regular exercise will boost your mood, overall well-being, and help you keep those pounds off long-term. Remember, working out doesn’t have to be boring! Make sure to switch up your exercise routine and try interesting group classes like zumba or fly yoga.
- Get those zzzs. Whenever I don’t get enough rest, I tend to reach for more snacks and just eat more to compensate for the lack of sleep, and that’s a sure way to gain weight without even noticing. The recommended amount of sleep for adults is 6-8 hours daily, so make sure you rest enough so that your body is able to regenerate and to maintain your new and improved lifestyle!
By following these simple tips, you too can break the yo-yo dieting cycle and be leaner, healthier, and happier!