12 Oct Why Yo-Yo Dieting Makes You GAIN Weight
I went shopping for jeans the other day. For the record, buying jeans is my second most hated shopping excursion (after bathing suit shopping of course.) So I’m looking in the mirror and I can barely concentrate on the jeans because I’m so focused on the fact that I look sort of green and I swear my cellulite spread like the plague on my drive over to the mall. And before you say it- I get it. I’m in shape. But thanks to genetics (and despite all of my hard work), I still have cellulite and I still feel insecure about my body at times. Particularly in the dressing room. If you ask me, the unflattering over-head lighting in the dressing room seems counter intuitive to selling clothing that are supposed to make you feel good about yourself. This may be why I shop online. Anyways…
We’ve all been there. You catch a glimpse of muffin top or rippled thigh in the mirror and you panic. So you swear off carbs, skip meals and exercise like there’s no tomorrow to quickly drop 10 pounds. Nice, right? Well not so much. Fast forward 12 weeks later. You’re sluggish, bloated and somehow even heavier than before you started dieting. How did this happen? It’s known as yo-yo dieting and like I mentioned, we’ve all been there.
So what did I do with my slightly green, dimply self? I went to my usual denial first (“it’s definitely the shitty lighting in here.”) But I actually stopped there and did NOT let myself go down panic road. And I haven’t in many years. Why? As a professional in the nutrition industry, I know all too well the allure of yo-yo dieting and I refuse to get sucked in anymore. The thing is, once you’re stuck on the diet roller coaster, it’s really hard to get off. Here’s what happens when you succumb to yo-yo dieting. And later I’ll explain how to get off the roller coaster for good.
Step 1. You go on a low calorie or low carbohydrate diet, skip meals or over-exercise to lose weight and this creates a deficit. Deficits suck because they need to be paid back. And unfortunately your metabolism is a crazy high price to pay. Keep reading.
Step 2. Because you’ve restricted the calories and/or carbohydrates that your body needs, or over-exercised to create a deficit, your blood sugar drops, the hormone glucagon is released and your body feeds on its own lean muscle mass for fuel. FACT: The more lean muscle mass you have the better your metabolism. Every pound of lean muscle mass you have helps you to burn additional fat calories every day, even while at rest. Lose that muscle and you lose its awesome fat-burning powers too.
Step 3. Because your blood sugar has dropped, hunger and cravings intensify. You know that moment when you’re so ravenous, you will literally eat anything? That’s your blood sugar crashing. Proceed to Step 4.
Step 4. Inevitably, you over-eat or re-introduce the carbohydrates that your body is screaming for. You know, like the time you ate maple syrup with a spoon (wait that was me) or an entire box of cereal in one sitting (me again.) Your blood sugar spikes and the hormone insulin is released.
Step 5. Say hello to weight gain in the form of tons of body fat. And if you think that you may actually weigh more than you did before you started your “diet”, it’s not in your head. You’re right. When you gain the weight back, your body doesn’t say, “Oh hey there. Here’s the 5 pounds of lean muscle mass you lost along with the five pounds of body fat.” Nope. Your body just hands you back 10 pounds of body fat. And because the muscle is gone, you’re now stuck with a slower metabolism which means you’ll actually have to diet “harder” the next time around. Awesome (sarcastic voice.)
What happens next? Go back to Step 1 and start a new diet to lose the weight all over again!
This is why yo-yo dieting is a vicious cycle that never really leads to permanent results.
So what is the solution? It starts with changing your mindset and not doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. Remember how when you were 18 you used to eat only once a day and kill yourself at the gym to lose weight? Notice how it’s not working anymore? It’s time to let go of the past (you’re not 18 anymore) and try something new.
It’s important to understand how your body really works. Ridiculously enough, the nutrition educational system is still teaching us how to diet (calories in vs. calories out) and how to create deficits, all while our nation becomes more and more overweight. Real results stem from stabilizing your blood sugar with the right nutrition. This creates balance within your body (and balances your hormones). You then naturally release stored fat, boost your metabolism, protect your lean muscle mass, increase your energy and reduce your sugar cravings. You should also fuel your body with all-natural, real food; not an easy feat when our supermarkets are stocked full of scary processed chemicals and artificial ingredients. If you love delicious food but want to eat clean, check out my Shopping List and Product Guide here.
Check out my recipes on my COOK! page too. Each mouth-watering recipe is designed to stabilize your blood sugar. And make sure to stay tuned for my next blog post which will teach you how to stabilize your blood sugar with balanced meals. It will be a good one.
So the much-loved graphic above (designed by yours truly) has certainly been around the Facebook block a few times. I think you all give it so much social media love because it resonates with all of us and I love that you share it! But to the woman who stole this graphic from me and actually removed my logo and copyright information and then had the nerve to put her own logo and copyright information on it and then market it as her own on Facebook- hey, thanks (sarcastic voice.) The silliest part about it is she used this graphic to her promote her ketogenic starvation diet which clearly defeats the purpose of the message. I’m still scratching my head on this one. Anyhow, you all know I love when you share my recipes and content from my site. That’s what the social media share buttons are there for! But stealing is wrong. And promoting a starvation diet with an anti-starvation graphic is silly. And so is yo-yo dieting after you know the facts. So now that you know the facts, please share this blog. Oh, and let me know in the comments if I have convinced you to stop dieting for good!
P.S. And yes, I got in touch with the really smart woman (sarcastic voice) who stole my anti-dieting graphic to promote her starvation diet. She took it down.