Healthy weight loss: How to stop the yo-yo effect.
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A challenging problem that many people face when trying to lose weight is the so called yo-yo effect. It is defined as weight cycling in reference to the cyclical loss and regain of weight, resembling the up-down motion of a yo-yo. Not only to improve body shape and overall health, but healthy weight loss program also largely reduces chances of the yo-yo effect in the long run.
Get to know the yo-yo effect
The yo-yo effect or yo-yo dieting is a very common situation in which people struggle to maintain their target weight during their weight loss programs. In the beginning, people start losing weight, but then after their weightless regain all the weight they have lost. This process repeats over and over again, eventually becoming a vicious circle. Subsequently, it is increasingly difficult to lose weight again although diet restriction and heavy exercise are fully applied. In fact, the excessive fats and reduced muscle mass are major contributing factors to impaired metabolic function. Not only a negative impact on the body, but the yo-yo effect can also have serious consequences for mental health.
Causes of the yo-yo effect
The reasons for the yo-yo effect are varied but mainly include:
- Unhealthy weight reduction methods: Inappropriate weight loss methods eventually result in increased chances of having the yo-yo dieting such as lack of proper exercise and using weight loss pills. Particularly in healthy young people, the yo-yo effect might not be usually seen during the first weight control program. However, if these unhealthy weight loss habits have been continued, it is increasingly challenging to lose weight, very often to finally end with the yo-yo effect.
- Calorie restriction and fasting diets: Although the restriction of calorie intakes quickly contributes to weight loss due to the reduction in muscle mass instead of the body fat. When muscle mass decreases, the body automatically adapts by slowing down metabolism. In fact, researchers suggest that this lower metabolism may partly explain why people regain weight once they go off their calorie-restricted diets. It eventually becomes more difficult to continue losing weight due to reduced metabolic function.
Weight reduction without the yo-yo effect
To avoid the yo-yo effect, recommendations for healthy weight loss program include:
- Reduce body fat and maintain muscle mass
- Skipping meals must be strictly avoided
- Restrict amount of diet intake
- Eat more low-calorie foods
- Avoid eating high-calorie and fatty diets cooked by using oils such as deep fried or pan-fried foods
- Exercise regularly with diet modifications. Especially during the first 6 months, it is advisable to have regular exercise at least 150 minutes/week. To maintain healthy weight during the long-term weight management, the duration of exercise should be increased up to 200-300 minutes/week and it should be consistently continued for at least 1 year.
- Start dietary self-monitoring tools e.g. diary of daily diets and weight reduction trends to improve long-term success in weight control.
- It is highly recommended to have a monthly consultation with nutritionists and dieticians in order to ensure healthy weight management programs are appropriated used for sustainable weight loss with no negative effects to general health.
Weight loss is extremely challenging since some common eating patterns are difficult to change. However, to lose weight successfully and sustainably, healthy weight loss methods must be applied. More importantly, self-discipline remains vital. Making huge changes to eat healthier by changing all eating habits at the same time is not always necessary. Over time, small changes can make a big difference, resulting in a sustainable weight loss and a better health in the long run.