Many people who struggle with weight loss are yo-yo dieters. Sadly, many settle with it, promising themselves: ‘never again’.
As a famous internet meme says, doing the same and expecting the different result is crazy. Stop doing same over and over again – significant lifestyle (mostly dietary) interventions should be made to address this. Why?
Apart from bringing a detrimental psychological burden, yo-yo dieting also alters fat distribution in women.
Due to female hormones, women will be losing fat from the upper body first in conditions of calorie deficit, i.e. ‘dieting’ phase. Because upper body fat is easier to mobilise. This is how a female body works, apparently.
In the ‘off-diet’ phase, women will be gaining weight in … the lower body first. As a result of multiple circles of yo-yo diet, fat will be redistributed. Your lower body will store proportionally more and more fat, which in future, will make it more and more difficult to fit into your old skinny jeans.
This is how L. McDonald and E. Helms (distinguished fat-loss experts) explain it:
If a woman diets poorly (insufficient protein, no resistance training, rigid, she may lose LBM [lean body mass] along with fat (coming from the upper body…) …Her diet becomes unsustainable and she begins overeating in the face of lowered energy expenditure. As she regains fat, she will gain proportionally more in the lower body (potentially increasing fat cell number) and this will be more true if she is eating a large amount of high-calorie, high-fat foods which are preferentially stored there… This situation potentially worsens with each cycle of fat loss and regain.
Furthermore, if you are not doing any type of resistance training, yo-yo dieting also leads to the loss of body tone and shape. With inadequate diet (too low calorie and low protein) and lack of resistance training, you will be losing muscle along with fat. Then as you gain it back, you will gain mostly fat. Repeat this process a few times and body composition will be deteriorated: the lack of muscle, excess fat – bye bye TONE.
Finally, should I mention (but rather remind) that skin loses its elasticity with age and yo-yo dieting is not merciful to this either?
Fat loss expert, elite group fitness instructor and personal trainer based in Sheffield.