Yo-yo effect – the insidious sides of this phenomenon in dieting

You are desperate and refuse to lose weight, because after every diet, often requiring extreme restrictions, the lost pounds come back with full force, and from above?

Why does this happen?

Why does this weight gain occur?

Too many dieters have faced the same problem. In fact, this is a natural result of unreasonable weight loss. It even has a well-known name – yo-yo effect.

And what is a yo-yo – this is the popular children’s toy consisting of two discs connected to each other and a rope or string attached between them. If you throw the yo-yo while holding the end of the string in your hands, the toy will bounce back to you. And this trick can be repeated many times.

It is the same with being overweight. As long as you follow a strict diet, the extra pounds disappear. But as soon as you “relax” and return to your previous rhythm of life, the pounds will quickly return. And quite often they even surpass the original ones.

But the well-known yo-yo effect has another insidious side. Let’s say you decide to repeat the same strict diet again or choose another one with no less restrictions. The weight will decrease more slowly this time – just as a yo-yo toy gradually decreases its speed. But the most unpleasant thing is that even after this diet, the lost pounds will quickly return and you will exceed your weight compared to before the diet. It turns out that the more often you use strict diets, the fuller you become after them! Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Relax, there is a way out.

We will repeat again that the yo-yo effect is triggered only in cases where after the diet you completely return to the lifestyle you followed before it.

Why is the weight coming back?

During the diet, you eat less than usual, often much less. The body, not getting enough energy from food and losing all carbohydrate reserves (the reserve is in the form of glycogen in the liver), starts burning fat.

Your wish is granted, you lose weight.

But the body is designed in such a way that along with fat burning, it also loses proteins, taking them from muscle tissue. Then a chain reaction occurs – the loss of muscle mass leads to a slower metabolism, especially if you ignore exercise. But here, the diet ends and you, feeling satisfied with the achieved result, decide to start eating as usual, returning to the initial intake of calories. But the metabolism has already slowed down!

Furthermore, the organism, for which all strict dietary restrictions are perceived as a threat of starvation, begins to stock up just in case. The consequence is clear: with a slowed metabolism, the body uses fewer calories, their rest comes in more, and thus you begin to accumulate fat more abundantly. The weight not only returns, but also increases!

The yo-yo effect is particularly pronounced with unreasonable starving. If a person decides to completely abstain from food for several days, then without a doubt he will lose weight. Indeed, mainly at the expense of muscle tissue and water, rather than fat, which are broken down last, but you will notice a change in your weight. But after stopping fasting, the weight returns very quickly, and most likely with an allowance.

Therefore, if used as a means of increasing weight in people suffering from nutritional deficiencies, starvation is a very good method. Fasting for a day from time to time is a suitable way to give rest to the body, to the digestive system, but it is not an option for losing weight.

And let’s talk.

Can the yo-yo effect be avoided?

Of course, and it’s not that hard!

Golden rules for losing weight and avoiding the yo-yo effect:

  • If you have decided to lose weight once and for all, do it gradually and slowly! Only in this way the body will not perceive this process as a threat and will adapt to the changes gradually and smoothly. Without turning on the red lights of survival from starvation.
  • Be sure to combine diet with physical activity so that you do not lose muscle mass and do not slow down the metabolism.
  • Sometimes it is necessary to resort to short-term restrictive diets. For example, to quickly lose a few kilos before the wedding or graduation meeting. This is permissible. BUT, the important thing is that after the diet you don’t immediately go back to your usual diet. Come off the diet gradually. Give preference to proteins (fish, white meats) and complex carbohydrates (their sources – vegetables and whole grains) rather than sweets and fatty dishes. And pay attention to the calories you consume through food!

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