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The yo-yo effect is caused by a single mistake. Do you make it too?

Hooray! I’ve managed to drop quite a lot of weight and I’m feeling great. I can finally look in the mirror without feeling dreadful. Such an achievement deserves a reward, right? Hmm, how about that scrumptious piece of chocolate cake with whipped cream on top that I’ve been ogling in my favourite cafe for the past few days? And of course, a piece of cake is never complete without a nice cup of latte. Surely it won’t do any harm for once...Does this sound familiar? Unfortunately, the journey towards the yo-yo effect can be this simple. Almost everyone who has managed to lose weight is dreading the yo-yo effect. If you want it to leave you alone for good, read on.

Up and down. Put a stop to weight fluctuation

You might feel like being stuck on a roller coaster that you can’t get off. If your head is already spinning, it’s time to say goodbye to the yo-yo effect. It is often the case that once they have lost weight, people then put on even more than they have lost on a diet. No wonder their confidence is seriously dented!

What is the yo-yo effect?

It is a cyclical weight gain that usually follows a targeted weight loss (after finishing a diet).

A body’s thrifty programme is on and the kilos are back

The biggest mistake that is behind the yo-yo effect is that on completing their diet people immediately return to unhealthy eating habits or to an insufficient nutrition diet. What usually happens is that having finished their diet, people are not sure about what to eat and how much to eat in a day. Worried they might be eating too much, they start to eat much less or irregularly. They then end up feeling very hungry which is in most cases down to being busy all day without having time to eat. The first thing they then do when they get home in the evening is to raid the fridge.

Fearing it might be going hungry again, the body then switches to its thrifty programme – it slows down its metabolism (the basal metabolic rate decreases) and starts storing fats for times of austerity. Nevertheless, the dieter is happy (albeit prematurely) because the weight loss most likely still continues. However, apart from fat, they are now also losing their active muscle mass. The problem usually becomes obvious (weight gain) when they think they no longer need to watch what they eat because they have lost enough weight. The body then struggles with a higher calorie intake and starts making further fat reserves. The result is that the person ends up gaining more weight than they have lost during the diet. What’s more, the weight gain is now solely driven by increasing fat levels.


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A quick weight loss does not lead to the yo-yo effect

The yo-yo effect is often wrongly attributed to fast slimming. As you now already know, it’s nonsense. If you manage to lose weight quickly and then you slowly transition from a weight loss regime to a healthy, balanced diet, you won’t give the yo-yo effect a chance.

If you are, for example, on a protein diet, you follow a specific and structured diet plan. Once you have completed your plan, continue with a regular diet and slowly build up your carbohydrate and energy intake. Don’t panic as this is usually a turning point – you will either manage to keep your new weight, or the lost kilos will creep back on.

A short-term diet can nicely kick start your metabolism. Not only will it help you lose weight, but it will also detoxify your body. It will also make you rethink your diet and lifestyle in general. That’s why you might find it useful to see an experienced nutritionist or dietician after completing your diet to discuss your next steps. They can also prepare a tailored, balanced diet plan for you if you are not sure how to go about it yourself just yet. The thing is that if you make a successful transition onto a healthy diet, you stand a good chance of maintaining your new weight long term.


How to lose weight and stay that way

1. Set yourself a goal and achieve it

Stop just dreaming about being slimmer and get into action. Set yourself clear goals and put them on paper so that you can see them all the time. You might like to come up with your own plan – for example, you can draw your slimming journey, i.e. how much kilos you will lose, which body parts will be toned up, how often you will exercise and which sport or activity you will finally have a go at.

2. Learn from your mistakes

If your dieting history already records several (failed) attempts at losing weight, you might have a good idea what does and doesn’t work for your body. Try to remember – what was it last time that could have caused you to start piling on weight again? Have you identified your weak spot?

3. Change your eating habits for good

Let’s finish with the most important point. It is important that after finishing a diet you change your old eating habits, once and for all. Don’t count on liposuction, fat burners or slimming tablets to save you from the yo-yo effect. These methods can only aid your efforts. Don’t be obsessed with checking the numbers on your scales. Focus on the slow reduction of your waistline or your hips instead. A healthy diet and regular exercise should be the backbone of your new lifestyle. It is thanks to them that you will never have to part with your new slimmer you!

We wish you all the best on your slimming journey!

Author: Nikola Nevečeřalová

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