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What Are The Hidden Dangers Of A Yo-Yo Diet?

Update Date: Apr 01, 2019 10:15 PM EDT

Yo-yo diets have gained prominence as a way to help people achieve their desired body weight, but in reality, this dangerous tactic can prove to be disastrous to your long-term health. Nonetheless, many everyday individuals continue to embark on yo-yo diets because they misunderstand the consequences of their actions and have been misled by certain professionals (like actors) who find such diets necessary for their work and success.

What are the hidden dangers of a yo-yo diet, anyway, and why should you avoid them like the plague? Here's why you should ditch yo-yo tactics and rely on more authoritative data for finding a healthy weight.

Yo-yo dieting isn't natural

Yo-yo dieting, or rapidly losing and then gaining weight, simply isn't natural for most human beings. Yo-yo dieting derives its name from the popular yo-yo hobby, which features a yo-yo going up and down repeatedly. So, too, does a yo-yo diet feature your body weight heavily fluctuating between a heavy weight and a light one. Gaining, losing, and gaining weight over and over again in a short period of time can seriously throw your body chemistry out of whack while altering your personality and dietary preferences in negative ways.

Yo-yo dieting is frequently called "weight cycling," especially in the medical community where professionals have encountered individuals who rapidly cycle across various weights in an astonishingly short period of time. Research has consistently demonstrated that the negative impacts of yo-yo dieting can cost you big in the long-run; one study noted that you see an increase in disease risk when relying on yo-yo diets, for instance, largely because they diminish your body's immune system and its ability to retaliate against foreign pathogens while damaging some important tissue at the same time.

Given the ongoing obesity epidemic, however, many individuals are suffering from weight cycling because they try and succeed at losing a few pounds only to "relapse" shortly thereafter and regain their lost weight. Unfortunately, this can incentivize you to give up on maintaining a healthy diet or body weight at all, especially if you experience negative consequences of yo-yo dieting and falsely attribute it towards a healthy lifestyle in general. As the CDC's page on a healthy body weight makes quite clear, many hoaxes and rumors swirl about regarding body weight, so you should be careful when people pitch yo-yo diets and their benefits to you, even if they're close friends.

Talk to your medical professionals

If you're one of the many people who are struggling with their weight, it's important that you receive authoritative information by talking to your medical professionals. Dressed in their scrub pants, they can inform you better. It can be easy to take things into your own hands and believe that you can manage your health on your own, but it's a simple matter of fact that a small mistake like committing to a yo-yo diet can have negative health effects for the remainder of your life. Rather than embracing the yo-yo worldview that losing weight is a "program" or "project" that occurs over a small period of time, you need to understand that maintaining a healthy body weight isn't so much about what you eat as it is about maintaining a healthy lifestyle overall.

The CDC goes into thorough detail when explaining the kind of healthy lifestyle you need to maintain a good body weight. Besides watching what you eat, for instance, you must also commit yourself to a vigorous exercise regime that can bolster your strength and immune system rather than allowing them to wallow with a yo-yo diet. Furthermore, you may need to make certain changes to your sleep schedule, as many of those who are struggling with health problems frequently aren't getting enough shuteye.

Besides enjoying physical activity and eating healthy, you also need to be constantly hydrating yourself. Drinking fresh, clean water on a regular basis is an essential part of maintaining a healthy body weight, not only because you need water but because so many non-water alternatives are terrible for your health. Drinking soda or many juices, for instance, is often like drinking nothing more than liquid sugar. This contributes seriously to the ongoing obesity epidemic, so if you're struggling with a yo-yo diet consider putting the cola down and carrying a water bottle with you everywhere you go.

Finally, research demonstrates that women in particular are susceptible to yo-yo dieting because of the societal expectations put on them regarding their body figure. As preliminary research recently pointed out, however, yo-yo diets have a tendency to exacerbate the risk of heart disease for women, so your special diet could very well be doing more harm than good. The hidden dangers of a yo-yo diet is what makes it so dangerous; far too often, people who embark on a yo-yo diet think they're improving their life when in reality they're merely diminishing their health. 

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