Losing weight, gaining it back, then getting rid of pounds again can create noticeable changes, instead of the number on the scale
Your body on yo-yo dieting
It is obvious that someone who’s dropped a significant amount of weight, only to gain it back (and sometimes even more) prior to approaching another diet. Maybe you’ve even been that someone.
There is no doubt that the vicious down-again, up-again pattern–known as weight cycling or yo-yo dieting–can really be disheartening. Furthermore, whilst data on weight cycling is thin, several experts share it can have negatively psychological and physical impacts on someone.
According to Riley Thornton, RDN, a dietitian and wellness specialist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the expert notes that: “With weight cycling, there’s this constant love-hate relationship with food.” The expert shares: “I would rather that someone develop a healthy lifestyle–one that’s sustainable,” she says.
Here’s how yo-yoing up and down the scale may affect your body.
You are able to gain more pounds
There is evidence that at least a third of yo-yo dieters regain more weight than they lose, studies show. On top of that, in one study, young women who weight-cycled were less likely than older dieters to maintain the weight loss in the long run.
In addition to rapid weight loss, you lose lean tissue too, says Jennifer Kuk, PhD, associate professor at the York University School of Kinesiology and Health Science in Toronto. Nevertheless, lean tissue returns much more slowly than fat when you yo-yo back.
“You [end up with] a little bit more fat and a little less lean tissue than you had before you lost weight,” she shares.
It can make you feel disappointed and frustrated
It is undeniable that constantly losing and regaining weight can make people feel like they’ve failed, tells Valerie Taylor, MD, PhD, head of psychiatry at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto.
She accuses of diets that advertise how easy it is to take off the weight. They make you feel a sense of disappointment provided that they don’t work for you.
What’s more, By the time a diet doesn’t stick, it can undermine your self-esteem and contribute to feelings of sadness, she observes. “If somebody already has depression, this kind of yo-yo dieting can make things worse.”
You may gain a sense of social isolation
It is fairly obvious that the happiness of reaching a dieting goal can quickly turn into embarrassment when you cannot maintain the weight loss.
People continue “crazy diets” and lose weight “very quickly but inappropriately,” Dr. Taylor tells. “Everybody tells them all kinds of great things about themselves,” she says. “And then they put the weight back on, and they just don’t want to go out and face people.”
Your skin is likely to get less forgiving
It is a common sense that your skin is like an elastic band. Provided that you’re yo-yoing, say, 20 pounds with each weight cycle, eventually your skin goes loose, especially as you age, says Alan Matarasso, MD, clinical professor of surgery at the Hofstra/Northwell School of Medicine in Hempstead, New York.
“The expansion and contraction of the skin is what plays havoc,” says Dr. Matarasso, who also serves as president-elect of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
He shares damage can be extensive, showing up on the upper arms, abdomen, breasts, and back. Unluckily , no amount of exercise will tighten the skin once it has stretched out.