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June 30, 2020
Yo-Yo dieting: what is it and how to avoid it

Have you ever heard of the term Yo-Yo dieting and do you know exactly what it refers to? Have you made countless attempts to lose some weight and end up taking it all back and often gaining even more weight than before?

The truth is that when I first heard this term, I could not imagine that it had to do with nutrition. This term refers to the repeated weight loss and weight gain that occurs when one follows express diets. Think of a person who loses weight in a short period of time (following an express diet) and gains these kilos back almost immediately after he returns to his old diet or by slightly increasing the amounts he consumes. Τhen, he starts dieting again in order to lose the weight he gained, and again puts it on; this process is called Yo-Yo dieting. You must be tired just by the explanation of it; imagine doing this process many times over the years.

The point is…Is this process healthy for our body? Is it worth losing weight even if it is to get it back after a while? The answer seems to be no… This constant fluctuation of weight seems to have a significant effect on a person's mood and self-confidence since the person does not learn how to eat in a balanced way and simply returns to his old weight, thus all this effort goes to waste. Especially when the process has been repeated several times, the person is definitely tired and eventually gives up. That way, many people simply don't make any other effort to keep a balanced weight and to eat in a healthier way. As we’ve said before, the most important thing is to eat nutritious meals and try to maintain a balanced weight as much as possible, so that we stay healthy and have a good mood in our daily lives.

But beyond the mood and the low self-esteem that a person can have or get by doing Yo-Yo dieting, some studies suggest that this process can create even more health problems in the body. For example, sudden and frequent weight fluctuations can slow the metabolism down and contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension. Some studies have shown that people who follow these diets return to more than their previous maximum weight and tend to gain even more body fat. On the other hand, other studies suggest that there is no 100% correlation between this type of diet and chronic diseases, and that more research is needed in order to see if this correlation will be confirmed.

All well and good, but -no matter what we say- I think you know very well which is the right way to avoid express diets and, of course, Yo-Yo dieting. What I mean is to follow a balanced diet that includes physical activity and some of the following tips as well:

1. eat nutrient-rich meals throughout the day, based on the healthy eating plate.

2. have frequent meals every 2 to 3 hours.

3. drink enough water. You should consume 2 to 2.5 liters of water per day, depending on your individual needs, of course.

4. avoid processed foods and foods that are rich in saturated and trans fats, sugars, and salt.

5. cook your own food from scratch.

There is nothing simpler than these 5 tips that you can incorporate into your daily lives to avoid express diets and Yo-Yo dieting!wink


This article was written in collaboration with the Sports Nutritionist Anna Maria Volanaki, MSc, BDA, SENr.

* The website offers as a service a variety of blogs and articles, based on scientific sources. All the articles are provided as general information and no text should be used as a substitute for advice from a physician or another health scientist, regardless of the date it has been published.

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