“Weight regain is generally the rule, with long-term follow up studies indicating that one-third to two-thirds of the weight lost is regained within 1 year and almost all is regained within 5 years.” (1)
The issue is never losing the weight, it’s always how to keep the weight off for years on end.
The reason why yo yo dieting is so harmful and leads to further weight gain is due to repeated cycles of weight loss and weight regain, referred to as “weight cycling” or “yo-yo dieting” are a frequent occurrence.
Mann and colleagues found that the long-term outcomes of energy-restricted diets show that at least one-third of dieter’s regain more weight than they lost (2). There’s another term for this and it’s called “fat- overshooting,” a phenomenon where you gain more excess body fat yet your metabolic rate is still suppressed from dieting.
There is evidence to suggest that adipocyte hyperplasia (fat cell enlargement) may occur early in the weight regain process (3), and that repeated cycles of weight loss and regain by athletes in sports with weight classes are associated with long-term weight gain (4).
Here’s our 5 step formula to ending yo yo dieting for good:
- Find a diet that’s going to be realistic for you to be on for days, weeks, months, and years on end
- Have some sort of progressive resistance training to build more muscle mass and thus aiding in increases in daily BMR, helps with increased glucose uptake (body able to regulate carbohydrates better), and changing your overall body composition
- Increase your NEAT (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis)…basically staying active outside of your formal exercise and cardio programs by walking more, taking the stairs, parking further away, dishes by hand, yard work, etc
- Be self aware of your environment and surroundings so that you stay on track with your training and nutrition program, your able to be social, eat out, and thus continue to get results
- Create a strong support system (gym environment, family, friends, work environment) around you to make things easier within your overall fitness journey
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- National Institutes of Health Technology Assessment Conference Panel (1993). Methods for voluntary weight loss and control. Ann Intern Med.
- Mann T. Tomiyama AJ, Westling E et al (2007). Medicare’s search for effective obesity treatments: Diets are not the answer. Am Psychol
- Jackman MR. Weight regain after sustained weight reduction in accompanied by suppressed oxidation of dietary fat and adipocyte hyperplasia. 2008
- Saarni SE. Weight cycling of athletes and subsequent weigh regain in middle aged men. 2006