If you’re among the millions of people who struggle with weight loss, no doubt you’re sick and tired of trying different diets. You’ve given each diet a chance but seen very little results for your efforts. Your weight has gone up and down, but still you’re not getting to the “healthy” weight and BMI you want. If this sounds familiar, you need to understand that you may be putting your health at risk by the drastic fluctuations in your weight!
The Dangers of Yo-Yo Dieting
In late 2016, a team of researchers from Rhode Island presented the findings of their study to the American Heart Association. This study found that non-obese/overweight women who experienced significant “yo-yo-ing” of their weight (drastic decreases followed by increases) tended to have a higher risk of heart problems.
The study examined a number of “normal weight” women, along with women who were obese or overweight. The women who experienced “weight cycling” (the medical term for “yo-yo-ing”) had a higher chance of development cardiovascular problems. However, women who were overweight or obese didn’t notice significant differences in their cardiovascular risk.
What this means is that women who just have a few pounds to lose will be putting their health in danger by drastic dieting!
What is Drastic Dieting?
A healthy diet is anything that promotes slow, steady weight loss. The human body is designed to store fat, so it’s much harder to burn fat than it is to gain weight. To really lose weight will take months or years, not days or weeks.
A drastic diet is anything that claims to help you lose a significant amount of weight in a short period of time. This is usually done through severe calorie restrictions, often in tandem with the use of supplements. For example, the Fast Metabolism Diet, the 1200 Calorie Diet, and the HCG Protocol are all examples of drastic diets.
The problem with these drastic diets is that they can help you to lose weight, but it’s usually achieved by “starving” your body and depriving it of important nutrients. As soon as you stop the diet, you end up regaining all the weight you’ve lost—sometimes even gaining more! The end result is not just discouragement for the lack of long-term results, but as the study above discovered, potentially long-term health problems.
How to Avoid the Dangers of Yo-Yo Dieting
If you want to stay healthy and lose weight, it’s time to change your approach to eating and weight loss. You’re not going to lose weight by eating the same number of calories, so you have to scale your caloric intake back. However, don’t scale it back too much that you starve your body. Cut back by 300-500 calories per day.
It’s VERY important that you consume a proper balance of nutrients. That means getting plenty of fats, proteins, healthy carbs, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Balancing your nutrients is just as essential as cutting back on food intake. Your body depends on those nutrients for healthy function—give it what it needs to work!
Finally, the last element of a healthy diet is exercise. The more active you are, the better. Physical activity increases your metabolism, which means it encourages your body to produce more energy from fats and carbs. The more energy your body produces, the more it burns every day. Increasing your energy expenditure will help to increase fat-burning, leading to healthy weight loss that lasts the long term. Stay away from drastic diets that cause you to lose and gain weight quickly, but settle in for the long haul!