The term yo-yo dieting, also known as weight cycling, affects many women. Athletes who are forced to change their weight or appearance for the sake of sport (fitness competitions, ballet, gymnastics) are considered weight cyclers, because their weight fluctuates up and down.
More commonly social media uses the term yo-yo dieters. The term yo-yo dieters describes people who attempt to lose weight, but fail to maintain their new low weight, and eventually gain the weight back again. For the purpose of this article, we will use the term ‘weight cycle dieting’ instead of ‘yo-yo dieting.’
Cycles of weight loss + weight gain
Weight cyclers may experience long periods (a few years) where their low weight is sustained, however, for a variety of psychological, emotional and physiological reasons they eventually return to their set weight. People who ‘weight cycle diet’ may actually end up gaining more weight than they originally started with. Many women struggle with weight cycling diets, particularly if they are not given correct information about sustainable and long term weight loss. Fad diets or extreme dieting for short periods of time will also result in the weight dieting cycle.
Unhelpful eating habits + feeling worthless
Feelings of worthlessness, failure and sadness may occur for those who struggle with chronic dieting and weight gain. The development of disordered eating patterns is also a common consequence of weight cycling diets. People with unhelpful eating habits often feel numb during large consumption episodes. If this sounds like you, and you are frustrated and feel trapped in a cycle of weight cycling diets and want healthy long term weight loss, I can help you.
Weight cycling diet symptoms
If you say yes to any of the statements below, this may indicate you are struggling with weight cycling issues.
- I am overweight and trying to lose weight in a healthy manner
- My efforts to lose weight end up in failure
- I am able to keep weight off for a short time, but eventually I gain it all back
- I have been dieting for a long time
- I feel I am worthless
- There are times where I eat massive amounts of food all at once
- I eat in secret as I am ashamed of people watching me consume food
- I feel I am not in control over what I eat
- I feel trapped in an endless cycle of weight gain and weight loss
- I often feel depressed and sad
What happens to my body during weight-cycling?
‘Weight cycle dieting’ is very common and occurs due to physiological changes in the body, poor weight loss information and low self- efficacy.
When you severely reduce the amount of food you consume, a ton of changes occur in your body. If you are eating less food, and perhaps avoiding carbs, the brain starts to believe food is scarce and shifts into starvation mode.
Do you often end up sabotaging your diet plan?
At this point your body works against your program and desire to burn fat. Your thyroid function slows, resulting in a slow and sluggish metabolism. Hormones that promotes leakage of fat from fat cells, start to drop so your body can conserve your fat stores.
Your brain also tells your body to conserve energy by moving less, as a result of your lowered metabolism. Weight loss slows, frustration, anger and boredom take over, and hunger promoted by brain chemistry drives you to eat.
Most people then overeat because they feel they have been depriving themselves. Over eating is common, and the satisfaction and delight of eating junk food again can move you to trance like state of bliss. Once again brain chemistry is hooking you back into the comfort of eating.
When you put weight back on, do you put it all on and more?
Weight gain is rapid due to your low metabolism following the dieting period. Your net result is being heavier than before you started the diet. You probably feel like a failure, have engaged in high levels of self-loathing and feel trapped in a weight loss and weight gain cycle.
What do you suggest as my next step to stop weight cycle dieting?
Send me a message and we can discuss how weekly confidential coaching calls can help. With an extensive background in functional nutrition, life coaching and CBT-Fitness (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). I am here to use all the education I have learned and apply it personally to your weight cycling issues.