Why Yo-Yo Dieting Makes You GAIN Weight

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.


  • Lynne (Heleotis) Michelson
    Posted at 13:08h, 12 October Reply

    Hi, I am Chris’s sister. I have been loving the recipes that Chrissie has shared. I honestly haven’t tried any of them yet, but plan to. I am a classic example of what happens to your body when you eat a muffin and lots and lots of coffee for your daily intake long term, like forty years! I wish that I knew what you were pointing out when I was a teen. I adopted these bad habits to have control over IBS. I still eat once or twice a day but still weigh about 50 pounds more than I should. My PC doctor actually yelled at me and told me that I “must be eating something to be be so over weight.” I resently saw a nutritionist and I am eating foods that are better for me. We decided that I should be eating more. I loved the look on my doctor’s face when I told him. He asked “Hoe is that going for you?” I got on the scale and weighed six pounds less than five weeks before. I look forward to following your sight. Thank you.

    • valerie
      Posted at 16:41h, 12 October Reply

      Hi Lynne!

      Thanks so much for reaching out! I’m so excited that you like the recipes- let me know how they turn out :). We have all adopted bad habits over the years (I was the diet queen growing up!) so don’t feel bad. And just know that you can absolutely reprogram your metabolism. The thing is when your body doesn’t get enough fuel, it holds on to body fat (like when your not eating frequently throughout the day). When you give your body what it needs and stabilize your blood sugar by eating balanced meals and snacks every few hours, your body feels safe and let’s go of the excess body fat, water weight etc. that it doesn’t need. It’s no longer in protection mode. Good for you for standing up to your doctor and 6 pounds of weight loss is tremendous! Congrats!! Keep going and please reach out with any questions. And stay tuned for my next blog which will explain blood sugar in more detail. And check out the shopping lists, etc. First step is eating more frequent, balanced meals. Next step is the quality of food- eating cleaner helps to flush everything out and will make you feel your absolute best. Thanks again for reaching out 🙂

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