People use the term yo-yo dieter just like they use the term like Roth IRA theyve heard about it before and they think they understand it but more times than not, they dont really grasp the full idea and its consequences.
Lets first be clear about the definition of a yo-yo dieter.
This is someone who jumps from diet to diet, usually not staying on any one of them for too long. They initially experience rapid weight loss (say 5-10 lbs.) and they are the first to call all of their friends to tell them that they have found salvation the answer the secret the cure to all their weight loss problems.
A few weeks down the line, she starts to feel some real hunger pangs and some strong urges for certain types of food but decides to ignore this chemical response to crash dieting and stay the course and let will power and discipline lead the way to a thin body.
A couple of weeks after this theres a slip. Maybe its a piece of cake, or a few bites of someones cheese cake at dinner, or a bowl of ice-cream late-night. The urge to keep eating is so intense but Mrs. YO-YO decides to fight it off with everything she has.
With non-stop thoughts of food, low energy, mood swings, and a tank of willpower running on empty, she finally cracks right around the 4-6 week mark with an incredible appetite, sugar cravings that are unreal, and a scale that has not only stopped going down, but is now going up fast.
She finally gives up claiming she is cursed and goes back to her normal way of eating. 1 month goes by and she feels that she has been pretty good and decides to peak at her Weight Watchers scale to discover that she is heavier than when she first started to diet. But how?
1. When you try to lose weight impatiently and incorrectly by crash dieting, the weight you do lose is not from fat, but from muscle and water thats bad
2. This initial drop is so exciting, you decide to press on and maybe even diet harder to speed the process up
3. When you eventually fail because the cravings are too intense, you rapidly gain all the water weight back very quickly leading to a rapid rise in the scale that usually surpasses your initial starting weight
4. Heres my main point: Because you lost lean muscle during this process, you have significantly slowed your metabolism down.
So what if I lost muscle? Well, since muscle is directly responsible for how many calories you burn, you are now burning less calories over the course of a day. Put simply, you now need to eat LESS calories than you did when you first started the crazy diet or you will gain weight.
When you go back to your normal way of eating, its too much because you have altered your body composition for the worse. The total calories you used to eat are too much now because of what you have done to yourself.