How dieting often leads to weight cycling

When people want to lose weight you often hear them say I need to go on a diet. Then they go on these complicated diet plans telling them that they cannot eat these “junk foods” and often times if they follow the plan correctly this works. But too many times I have seen people lose weight then a month later they put back on the weight the same amount that they lost and I began to ask myself why is this so common among people? And the answer is weight cycling. Weight cycling is a pattern of repeatedly losing and regaining weight. Some experts refer to this type of process at “yo-yo dieting”. When people go through this phase they often feel like giving up because they feel like the whole process was a waste of time. So they get depressed and will lose hope. 

Marketers that offer these different diet plans often promise quick weight loss with no hunger and very little effort. These are the diets that usually backfire. One reason that these diets often times do not work is because they are rigid. Rigid diets specify rules like ” eat only cabbage and bananas” or “never eat after 6pm”. Some of you that are reading this right now are probably on this type of diet or have tried it at some point in your life. And because these diets are unpleasant and restrictive people don’t stick with them. People that are on rigid diets tend to have a higher percentage of body fat than people on more flexible plans. People on rigid diets tend to be more depressed, have anxiety, and binge eating as well. 

On the other hand flexible diets are based off on energy balancing of calories eaten and burned. They focus on portion size make exceptions for people based on their daily routines, appetites and food availability. If you go out with your friends and over eat with a flexible diet, it allows you to cut extra calories tomorrow and increase your exercise regimen to compensate. As a result of this people tend to stay on flexible diets longer. 

Everyone who diets will experience some degree of lowered metabolism during a period a period of calorie restriction as the body defends its fat stores. That’s why weight loss tends to slow down after an initial quick drop and why the long-held rule that you must cut 3,500 calories to lose a pound of fat is not strictly correct. It’s also part of the reason successful weight maintenance requires permanent changes to your old eating habits.

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