More research is coming out to show that dieting in general is harmful to your body (and
your mind), and that it most likely isn’t making you healthier in most situations. However,
yo-yo dieting, where you are constantly back and forth between being on and off a diet,
can be even worse for you.
This is when you either bounce to different types of diets constantly, or you are on a
perpetual restrict and binge cycle. Your body is going through a lot of changes at a rapid
pace, which can be far unhealthier than if you had stayed overweight.
Your Hormones Fluctuate Like Crazy
To start with, when you diet, especially back and forth between eating and restricting,
your hormones are completely out of control. Severe calorie restriction and yo-yo dieting
where you have a lot of changes in what you eat over a long period of time can cause
your cortisol levels to increase. Cortisol is a stress hormone, and can actually increase
your risk for heart disease and diabetes!
You Might Have a Bigger Appetite and More Cravings
Yo-Yo dieting also changes your appetite and what you crave. It may seem like you are
out of control, but this is not about willpower, it is actually from dieting itself. In your
body, you have two different hunger hormones – leptin and ghrelin. Ghrelin is the
hormone that increases your appetite, while leptin decreases your appetite, and ca help
you feel full. If you are dieting, the hormone leptin often decreases, while ghrelin
increases, creating an imbalance. Feel like you are constantly starving? Your diet might
be why, and not just because you aren’t eating enough.
Your Metabolism Slows Down
Wonder why when you start a diet, you seem to hit a plateau quickly? This is probably
the result of your metabolism slowing down because of all the feast and famine periods
your body has gone through. Your body is very smart and knows what it’s doing. But
when you put it through the ringer from yo-yo diets, you are actually making it harder to
lose weight thanks to your metabolism slowing down. Stop undereating, give up the
diets, and start to eat intuitively.
You Lose All Sense of Hunger and Fullness Cues
When you have pre-determined portions, types of food, and meal eating windows, you
lose all sense of when you are actually hungry or full. When you are on a diet, you don’t
rely on your hunger, but instead on numbers. How many calories you can have, how
many carbs, making sure your sugar is low and protein is high, watching your fiber. You
might also get into timed meals, eating every 2-3 hours, or intermittent fasting. All of this
damages your ability to know when you are hungry or full.
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I’m an inclusive, not scary, totally normal yet heavily qualified yoga instructor and founder of YogaBellies® and the Birth ROCKS Method. I’m trained in self hypnosis and meditation and what I love is helping women (ALL women) enjoy yoga without having to whisper all the time and wear fancy activewear that cost a month’s rent.
I believe Yoga is for everyone.