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 always back and forth between being on and off a diet, can be even worse for you.
How Yo-Yo Dieting Can Be Worse Than Obesity
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 can cause your cortisol levels to increase. Cortisol is a stress hormone, and can 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 continually starving? Your diet might be why, and not just because you aren’t eating enough.
Yo-yo Dieting Makes Your Metabolism Slow 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 brilliant and knows what it’s doing. But when you put it through the wringer from yo-yo diets, you are 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 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.