Do you go through periods of severe calorie restriction followed by binges where you’ll eat anything within reach? If you were to chart your weight over the last five years, would the graph look similar to a great new roller coaster ride, complete with high peaks and deep valleys?
If you answered yes to both of these questions, then you are probably a yo-yo dieter. Your eating patterns (and, subsequently your weight) fluctuate quite a bit based upon which stage you’re in – the restriction phase or the “I’m going to eat until I can’t eat anymore” phase.
While it’s great that you are still trying to achieve complete and total health, you’re likely doing your body more harm than good by eating in this way. In fact, here are three reasons you should do everything you can to kick the yo-yo dieting habit today:
You gain weight more quickly and easily. When you restrict your food intake, your body slows its metabolism in an attempt to conserve energy because it thinks that you’re starving. So, when you follow these periods of eating very little with food binges, your body is going to want to store as much of it as it can in case the food supply becomes limited again. This allows you to gain weight at supersonic speed, which defies everything you’re trying to do.
It’s harmful to your motivation. Every time you “fail” at losing weight and keeping it off, you lose confidence in your ability to reach your goals and your drive to continue the fight dwindles. Your mind essentially says that you’re not capable of achieving weight loss, which can dampen your spirit and cause you to give up and quit trying to achieve everything you want to achieve.
It puts your health into jeopardy. Several studies have shown that yo-yo dieting likely weakens your immune system, opening you up to catch whatever bug is going around. Add that to the increased risks of diseases (such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes) that you have when you’re overweight, and your health can take quite a hit.
Instead of depriving yourself and trying to reach your goals in as little time as possible, focus more on what healthy habits you can sustain day in and day out for the rest of your life. Not only will your weight even out and health likely improve, so too will your attitude.
It’s time to cut the string and end your battle with your weight once and for all. You deserve it for all your years of hard work and suffering, don’t you think?