Sure, yo-yos were fun in the courtyard—but when it comes to your diet and losing weight, the dreaded yo-yo effect can be frustrating. If you’re used to your weight fluctuating, to begin with, there’s nothing more disheartening than your progress wavering along with it.
The yo-yo effect refers to the toggle between losing weight and gaining weight, and that’s just what it is. But why is it so common among those who feel a strong desire to lose weight?
When it Happens
It’s pretty simple; the reason that the yo-yo effect occurs is that there is consistency lacking in some capacity when it comes to the weight loss process. The scenario we all know too well is the one where we feel a sudden fire under our belts to get rid of some extra weight. The drive hits us like a ton of bricks. Often triggered by a scenario that makes us reflect on our weight, and we’re willing to do just about anything to make it happen.
We feel energized by the prospect, and at times are willing to bite off an extreme solution to make it happen. Then, if we start to lose weight, we start to feel better, and the necessity for extreme dissipates. If we don’t see results, we might get discouraged and, similarly, begin to fall off in effort as a result of feeling defeated.
Though this scenario is common, it certainly isn’t the only way to hop on the yo-yo rhythm. Sometimes weight loss methods are not built to last. We notice our results begin to falter only to bring us to a place of more frustration where losing weight eventually gets put on the back burner.
All of these scenarios and variances of them are entirely normal, and a shared dilemma among the weight loss community.
What’s Happening to Your Body
What happens to the body during the yo-yo effect is what makes it dangerous. Apart from aesthetics and body image, there are some very real health concerns and affects we should aim to avoid.
Body Fat Increase
An increased amount of body fat can contribute to the risk of the following:
- Heart disease
- Type two diabetes
- Lower immune system
- Increased hunger
- Increased inflammation
Gut Health Complications
Your gut is an integral part of your health. Part of understanding your gut is acknowledging that it contributes to a lot of your body’s function. Yo-yo weight loss processes can mess with your gut’s good bacteria, which affects many aspects of your health.
Psychological Component and Stress
The psychological aspects of the yo-yo experience can vary, but most of the time, it leaves us feeling drained and down ourselves. This, in turn, causes suppression of the desire to lose weight out of fear for not being able to make it happen.
Then, we only become more stressed, which leads to the production of the stress hormone cortisol. This only makes losing weight far more of a challenge than with initial obstacles. The production of cortisol is your body giving itself the green light to hold onto stubborn fat.
Preventing & Overcoming the Yo-Yo Cycle
Ending the yo-yo cycle is not easy. Life happens, and weight loss, understandably, takes a back seat to more pressing matters. This is normal. The way around slipping back into the cycle begins with being aware of it in the first place.
When it comes to the cause, divide, and conquer. Decide to be honest with yourself about where the trouble in your weight loss initiative lies. Once you understand the part that’s a challenge, you can then address it.
Go for the Lifestyle Change
People often say with a stick of celery in hand that “lifestyle” changes are the key to weight loss. But what does this mean? It doesn’t mean your new lifestyle has to consist of skipping your favorite indulgences and having salads for the rest of your days.
Instead, opt for one or two small changes to address the part of the cycle that you’ve identified as the problem. Commit yourself that it’s something you’re going to do regularly. Don’t do it for an end goal, but instead an ongoing progression.
Envision the change you wish to see, replace your perspective, and cut that yo-yo string.