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The Dangers of Yo-Yo Dieting

You’ve no doubt heard of the phrase, “Yo-yo dieting”. And chances are if you’ve struggled with your weight for a long time, you may have done it. What exactly is yo-yo dieting?

The yo-yo diet is a term defined by Krause’s Food, Nutrition and Diet Therapy as “the process of losing and gaining weight several times throughout a lifetime.” Here’s what yo-yo dieting usually looks like in a person’s life.

You hear about this fantastic diet on TV and it just seems too good to pass up on. You stock up on special foods this diet requires and totally change your eating habits. Then you have a stressful day or your schedule gets messed up where you don’t have the special diet foods you need or just don’t have time to prepare a meal that’s based upon the requirements of your diet. Then the overwhelming temptation to break the diet out of convenience happens.

You end up giving in to temptation and break your diet. Then another bad or stressful day occurs and chocolate ice cream sure sounds like a good idea and you give in – to satiate your cravings and emotions.

Before you know it, you find yourself cheating on your diet several times a week and it can easily turn into binge eating, making it difficult to get back on track with the diet. Eventually you quit the diet and give up for awhile, until at a later date you decide to try a drastic diet, which fails also, and then you repeat the process. Does any of this sound familiar?

If so, then you’re in danger of yo-yo dieting. Losing weight then regaining weight and losing it again and regaining it is no laughing matter, that’s because it can put you at risk for some serious health problems, including:

  • Liver problems
  • Loss of muscle
  • Lower metabolism
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Shortened life span

My advice to you is don’t start a diet that you can’t see yourself on for the next 10 years. If you absolutely love bread, rice and pasta, then don’t go on a low-carb diet because you will probably be unhappy for as long as you’re on that diet.
Instead of diving in headfirst into any diet or weight loss plan, why not start out small? Get your feet wet at first and then slide into the diet. Starting a new diet involves changing your habits and changing a habit and maintaining it takes discipline.

Develop healthy habits such as cutting back on fatty foods (eat ½ the amount of ice cream you typically would, or replace one unhealthy snack per day with a healthy snack). And remember that what counts is that you find a diet that fits your personality and needs and don’t be surprised if you mess up on it a few times – that’s going to happen. Just keep working at it and stick with it and you’ll see results.

Kevin Bender

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