Are you part of the 57% (or more) of women that want to lose weight? Maybe you have lost weight in the past only to gain it back and more. This has become known as yo-yo dieting. But do you understand the risks associated with this cycle?
In the United States an estimated two-thirds of the population is overweight or obese, which does put your health at risk. It is important not to fall into yo-yo dieting or weight cycling. There have been long term studies that show people who diet strictly to lose weight generally fail.
The American Heart Association (AHA) completed a study of 485 women of which 73% reported to have at least one episode of yo-yo dieting. The average body mass index of these women was 26. Anything in the range of 25-30 is considered overweight with a moderate health risk (pg. 27 Ideal Weights book).
One of the important findings during this study was that the more episodes of yo-yo dieting a woman had the less likely they were to have control over important heart disease risk factors such as good cholesterol, blood pressure, or blood sugar levels.
There have been some studies showing that crash diets will slow down your metabolism. If you are going through menopause your changing hormones will also impact your metabolism. The hormonal changes make it vital that you make wise lifestyle changes to reach your ideal weight rather than try some fad diet.
Yo-yo dieting can also have a detrimental effect on the endocrine system. In a statement by The Endocrine Society they found “the body typically reduces the amount of energy expended at rest, during exercise and daily activities while increasing hunger.” Due to this a person on a diet may lose the weight, but because of these changes once they stop participating in the diet regimen will regain the weight. This weight cycling has been associated with a higher risk of death.
Weight fluctuations have also led to hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance. A few of the factors that contribute to the vicious cycle of insulin resistance include eating refined carbohydrates, dealing with chronic stress, or maintaining a sedentary lifestyle. The body uses glucose to create energy, but when the pancreas produces too much insulin to handle a rush of glucose the body can not effectively function. Overtime cells will resist the effects of insulin and the excess glucose sugars get stored as fat. When the system isn’t functioning correctly you will feel hungry, weak, and tired. The craving cycle for refined foods will continue setting in motion the likelihood of chronic disease, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.
It is important to find ways to help reduce the prevalence of yo-yo dieting and obesity. I want to encourage individuals to develop healthy habits and find their ideal weight.
Many people have fallen victim to a fad diet hoping that it will help them reach a weight goal. Images in magazines and on television make us feel that we should look a certain way. It is important to know that your body is unique and will not look like anyone else.
So how do you know what your ideal weight is?
Your ideal weight is any weight at which you feel the healthiest, while maintaining the state safely and sustainably. I wrote the book Ideal Weights and developed my 21-day program because I know there can be a range for your best ideal weight. You can reach a goal, sustain it, and even improve upon it. No matter what, be gentle on yourself. Make sure you are creating a lifestyle change that will help you maintain your ideal weight.