Yo-yo dieting or yo-yo effect is a phenomenon commonly faced by many of us trying to lose weight. It basically means that a failed weight loss attempt will be a cause of greater weight gain. In simpler terms, one regains more kilograms of weight after every failed weight loss attempt.
What are the causes and how does it impact health?
There could be varied reasons for Yo Yo effect however, the most clearly understood is when people resort to crash dieting. Initially, this may seem as a successful approach as one witnesses good weight loss however the outcomes are usually short lived as depression and fatigue sets in making it impossible to sustain the diet one has embarked upon.
Crash and unsupervised dieting puts the body into a ‘starvation mode’ in which the body accumulates and conserves fat and energy. So, when one resumes normal diet, the body is still in starvation mode and it takes longer for the body to switch over from the starvation mode to normal mode. During this period, one tends to gain more weight than the lost weight.It also negatively impacts the fat-muscle ratio.
Moreover, it dents the psyche of the person who perceives his/ her efforts as a failure. This in turn leads to people reverting to their older eating habits. They use food as a coping mechanism to busting their stress and disappointment of not attaining the desired weight loss outcomes. This causes them to rapidly regain weight which is more than they have lost initially.
What is the way out?
People who are overweight i.e. BMI (link to calculate) between 25 to 32.5 kg/m2 must try healthy dietary modifications and exercise regimes to come back to their normal BMI. Consistent efforts do help in obtaining and sustenance of weight loss however, if one has a BMI of more than 32.5 with associated illnesses like diabetes, blood pressure etc or have a BMI of more than 37.5 kg/m2 with or without associated illnesses, then most often than not one is not able to sustain the lost weight.Under such circumstances, one must consult an obesity/bariatric expert team for management.