End the Yo-Yo Diet Cycle
Why Yo-Yo Dieting Is Bad for You
Last spring you reached your goal weight and celebrated by hitting the beach in a bikini. Then your job got stressful, you had trouble finding time to work out, and your cruise vacation had a round-the-clock all-you-can-eat buffet. Now when you step on the scale, you realize there's no way you're going to fit into the dress you bought for your friend's wedding next month unless you start dieting...again.
We're betting that this scenario sounds all too familiar. Yo-yo dieting -- or weight cycling, as experts call it -- is practically a national pastime. An estimated 54 percent of people in the United States are currently trying to shed pounds, fueling a $59-billion-a-year industry of supplements, books, and packaged foods that promote weight loss, according to Marketdata Enterprises, a marketing research group. But our efforts don't stick. Most of us will regain almost all of what we lost, according to research, which is why the typical dieter tries a new plan four times a year. "We have this mentality that a diet is something to go on and then get off as quickly as possible," says FITNESS advisory board member Madelyn Fernstrom, PhD, founding director of the University of Pittsburgh's Weight Management Center. "But lasting weight loss requires making lifestyle changes that will work long-term."
It's not only your waistline that suffers from yo-yoing. "Repeated crash dieting increases metabolic hormones, such as insulin, and elevates levels of sex hormones, including estrogen," says Andrea Pennington, MD, author of The Pennington Plan for Weight Success. "These changes cause you to start putting on weight around your middle, which research has linked to insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease."
Your confidence also takes a hit. "The more times you go through the gain-lose-gain cycle, the less convinced you become that you can break free from the constant ups and downs," says Keri Gans, RD, a dietitian in private practice in New York City. "No one wants to diet forever; it's hard work."
Which is why we know you're ready to lose the weight and keep it off. Here top experts spill the success secrets that will help you balance the scale for good.
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