Weight cycling is the repeated cycle of loss and regain of body weight. When weight cycling is the result of dieting, it is often called "yo-yo" dieting, in which the individual is said to be suffering from “yo-yo syndrome”. A weight cycle can range from small weight losses and gains (2-3kg per cycle) to large changes in weight (20-25kg or more per cycle).
Some research links weight cycling with certain health risks. To avoid potential risks, most experts recommend that individuals adopt healthy eating and regular physical activity habits to achieve and maintain a healthier weight for life.
1. You have lost and regained the same amount of weight in the past few years
Yo-yo dieters are constantly either on a diet, or off it. The diets they put themselves on are often very extreme, hence they are able to lose a lot of weight. Once they've hit their goal weight however, they start to binge, so from the excessive caloric intake, along with the damage the dieting inflicts on their metabolism, they would start to gain back the weight they lost.
2. You are constantly trying out the latest weight loss trends
While there's nothing wrong with being on-trend and knowing what everyone is up to in efforts to lose weight, yo-yo dieters often find themselves running from trend to trend, looking for that quick fix. While these trends are mostly effective when applied consistently on a daily basis, there isn't one that'll magically give you results overnight.
3. You restrict your diet with a list of “off limits” foods
Your restrictive diets may cause you to stay away from sugar one day, or carb the next. When you restrict yourself, you are way more likely to crave the thing you avoided. This causes you to give up, binge and then start the cycle all over again.
4. You get demotivated when you fail your diets, instead of getting right back onto them
Yo-yo dieters tend to have an "all or nothing" mind-set. If they don't stick to their diet perfectly, they get frustrated and start feeling like failures. And of course, because their diets are so restrictive, they inevitably fall off the wagon. This leads to anxiety, and the yo-yo dieter takes this as an opportunity to give up.
5. You are after fast weight loss results instead of slow, long-lasting ones
Some yo-yo dieters get addicted to the thrill of quick weight loss through restrictive diets, no matter how short-lived these results may be. While a balanced lifestyle change is usually the best way to approach weight loss in a sustainable way, yo-yo dieters are more interested in the rush quick weight loss provides them.
Some studies suggest that weight cycling may increase the risk for certain health problems. Yo-yo dieters may also develop a negative psychological effect if they feel discouraged or depressed with their loss and regain of weight. Hence, experts recommend maintaining a stable weight to avoid any potential health risks associated with weight cycling.
Here are 8 tips to get your body back in shape:
1. Plan portion control of your meals such as having frequent, small meals
2. Put aside at least 30 minutes daily for exercise to keep your body moving (even a little light exercise goes a long way)
3. Include a good variety of foods in your diet, such as proteins, carbohydrates, good fats, grains, fresh fruits and vegetables
4. Consult a professional, doctor or dietitian to work with you on your weight issues
5. Focus on slow and steady weight loss
6. Allow healthy snacks in between your meals
7. Drink plenty of water
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