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The Perils of Yo-Yo Dieting

Have you heard the term “yo-yo dieting?” Many of us have been there. While it’s a playful phrase, the results may not be. Also called weight cycling, it is generally defined as “the process of losing and gaining weight multiple times throughout a lifetime.”

Dieting veterans should be applauded for good intentions. The drive to delete excess fat is commendable, but the strategy may need to a revision. Why? Because repeatedly losing and regaining pounds is not only counterproductive to long term weight maintenance, it may actually imperil your health.

Apart from slowing down your metabolism, there are strong, consistent links between weight cycling and negative health outcomes–like death by heart disease and all–cause mortality as well. Weight cycling appears to have dangerous psychological and behavioral consequences too. Studies have reported increased risk for mental illness, life dissatisfaction, and binge eating. In fact, the majority of epidemiologic research links yo–yo dieting with illness and mortality, although the mechanisms are not totally clear at present.1, 2

Now that you have a heightened awareness about the perils of weight cycling, how about some solutions to break this pattern? To that end, allow us to direct you to our second newsletter article here. You’ll be glad you checked it out.

1 Arch Intern Med. 1994 Jun 27;154(12):1325-30
2 Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1995 Sep;19 Suppl 3:S46-50

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