A point of truth on the Yo-Yo Diet

Many that are overweight or obese would do anything to lose weight. Various weight loss organizations and fitness facilities prey on those who are desperate to lose weight, promising customized nutrition and exercise programs resulting in rapid weight loss. For those that participate in this type of rapid weight loss program, results may certainly come. However, not everything is what it seems.

For those that have never lost a significant amount of weight before, to do so quickly sends shock waves through the body. At the conclusion of the program, the inclination is to celebrate the success and achievement. The intention is maintain the weight loss. However, between 80%-90% of those that lose significant weight do not keep it off. The science behind it supports these statistics.

A primary cause of weight regain is that the body changes how it handles food and exercise. The body finds ways to work more efficiently, burning less calories at rest and during activity. Therefore, we see weight regain for a number of reasons:

  • Rapid weight loss and cookie cutter nutrition plans that use very selective foods do not allow for the destruction of poor habits or the building of new habits. At the end of a weight loss program, it becomes very easy to return to poor eating habits
  • For those that are overweight or obese and have not undergone significant weight loss, the energy you spend during the day, at rest or during activity is significant. During weight loss, the body finds a way to work more efficiently. So at the conclusion of the program, the body will spend less energy at rest and during activity, especially if the body has been energy deprived. When weight regain occurs, the body will still work more efficiently than it did before the weight loss started. You will burn less calories at rest and during activity, even though you may be eating more.

One of the more profound examples of this can be seen from the show Biggest Loser. Research on former contestants will illustrate this point well. Most contestants have regained most weight, and some have regained all the weight, plus some. In fact, one contestant that regained 100 pounds burns 800 calories less per day than he did at his prior obese status, as the body has gained efficiency in how it metabolizes food and expends energy. With that kind of disparity, it becomes really difficult to maintain weight loss.

For those considering significant weight loss, it is so important to be thoughtful in the approach for the purpose of achieving and sustaining your goals.