Yo-yo dieting is a cycle of losing and regaining weight. This can affect your metabolism in damaging ways. Here is a short guide to explain the relationship between yo-yo dieting and your metabolism.
Impact on Your Metabolism
When you quickly lose weight on a low calorie diet, your body goes into starvation mode. It does this by slowing the metabolism down and storing additional fat. It burns lean muscle tissue because that tissue requires more calories to maintain. This allows the body to subside on the lower intake of calories.
The net result is that you will lose weight. Muscle weighs more than fat, so it will actually look like you’ve lost a significant amount of weight. However, due to the slow down of your metabolism, your body will not need as many calories and the effect of your consumption of lower calories will have less impact on the body. This leads to a slow down or stopping of all weight loss—known as a plateau.
At this point, your metabolism is damaged to the point where no further weight loss is possible. In fact, you’ll likely start gaining back weight—and this weight is harder to get off due to your lowered metabolism. Eventually, you’ll gain back the weight you lost—and sometimes more. With a lowered metabolism, it takes even more effort to lose it the next time you attempt to lose weight.
Fortunately, while yo-yo dieting can damage your metabolism, it won’t ruin it. Metabolism is defined as the number of calories it takes to maintain your current form. The more calories your body needs to burn just to sustain itself on a daily basis, the higher your metabolism. This number is derived from many factors—such as the amount of fat or muscle your body has that requires sustaining. So the good news is that if you damage your metabolism by yo-yo dieting, you actually increase your metabolism when you gain the weight back. However, the reason why it is lower is because you replace lean muscles tissue with fat—which requires fewer calories to maintain than muscle.
So what’s the solution? To increase your metabolism, you need to build more muscle mass. The answer to this is exercise. By exercising your muscles, you can build up your muscle mass—thereby increasing your metabolism. Do this in combination with a healthy, balanced diet and you can burn fat and build muscle at the same time. Doing this can help you break the cycle of yo-yo dieting that can damage your metabolism.
Yo-yo dieting is not healthy for you. It damages your metabolism in a way that makes it hard to break the yo-yo cycle. However, if someone tells you that yo-yo dieting wrecks your metabolism in such a way that it’s permanent, don’t believe it. Weight loss is a long, frustrating journey, but it can be done and will lead to a healthier you and a longer life.