Friday, May 29, 2015

Let me debunk a myth about yo-yoing in weight

I think it can be quite easily stated that I have yo-yoed up and down in weight several times in my life. I have yo-yoed a lot in the last 5 years - big swings of weight - 40-90 pounds of yo-yoing from 2012 to 2015 - several times.

Is this good for my body? Of course it isn't. My body is happier and healthier at a lower weight. My blood pressure is normal. I feel happier. I feel stronger. I sleep better, etc. But, I also think it's better to keep trying to get to a better weight for my health than to say, "better to just be fat than to yo-yo". I am not sure of any reliable study that says it's better to be fat  - like OBESE than to yo-yo as long as the diet a person is on is not dangerous.

But there is this myth out there that it gets harder and harder to lose weight if you  yo-yo. I think that myth was created by someone who was using it as an excuse to not try to lose weight (been there done that myself). That your metabolism slows down and it just gets harder. Well, does it? I don't think it's yo-yoing that makes it slow down if it does slow down.

Weight loss DOES seem to slow down a bit with age. Young people seem to be able to drop the pounds much faster, but then when I look at how much a young person can eat compared to an elderly person, it seems clear our metabolism slows down and that might not even have as much to do with age than muscle mass and amount of movement.  Older adults can work to boost their metabolism with exercise and strength training. It will decrease with age, but it doesn't have to decrease as much as it does for many.

With that said, I am dropping weight as fast, if not faster now as I did in my early 30s. I am losing at the same pace after 3 years of yo-yoing as I did in 2011 when I was just starting and hadn't been yo-yoing. In fact, it's easier to stick to my diet plan because I now have a diet plan that works well for my body whereas before I was still figuring parts of it out.

Now is yo-yoing fun? No. It's not. Creating a deficit in calories is hard work, so we should try to find ways to NOT yo-yo. And people yo-yo for all sorts of reasons. Mine is because I lose all desire to deal with my sugar addiction and just felt I needed to eat during the winter months when I'm naturally sluggish and slightly depressed.  Some other people yo-yo because they see dieting as a temporary thing and not a change of eating and exercise forever.  I found this article about yo-yoing good. Here's an excerpt I particularly liked:

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 adiet 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."
So, don't let the idea of "but what if I gain it back and start to yo-yo" stop you from making better dietary and exercise decisions. That is worse for my health than just being "fat". It shouldn't be an excuse to not eat better and make lifestyle changes.

No, you don't want to yo-yo. I definitely don't want to yo-yo, but I also don't want to take these last few years of yo-yoing as a reason to give up. It just means that I haven't figured my head out 100% yet.  While one of the reasons some people yo-yo is the reason stated in the article - just wanting quick fixes instead of making lifestyle changes. MANY of us who yo-yo just have a hard time sticking to lifestyle changes. THAT is where the work needs to come in. HOW to make this dietary change and exercise plan permanent. For some people that might mean changing the diet plan (like low carb didn't work, but intermittent fasting does, or one big meal in the morning works better than a big meal at dinner). But I would bet most people needing to lose large amounts of weight have figured out how to eat and exercise along that year or two long journey, it's getting the HEAD in the right place - permanently.

At least that's what it is for me.

Restart 5/18/15
Down 9.9 pounds

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back to posting!

    A book I found really helpful to me on the mental aspects of losing weight and making permanent change was The Diet Fix by Yani Freedhoff. It really helped me a lot in realizing that if I couldn't happily follow something for the rest of my life then it wouldn't work for me.