Have you found that after having gone on a diet, and reaching your goal weight, you’ve just gone and piled on all the lost pounds again? This phenomenon, called weight cycling, or the ‘diet yo-yo’, is one that several people struggle with but experts say there might be more to it than just failing to maintain your weight loss.
Genes, for instance, play a role in driving an individual’s tendency to gain excess weight. Research has shown that weight problems can develop as early as the time spent in the mother’s womb — a pregnant woman’s behavior during pregnancy can influence how genetic mapping takes place. If a mother consumes more fattening foods during pregnancy, it will affect the child’s weight throughout its life. Once excess fat is present, the problems continue.
Body fat also causes the brain to release hormones differently, which results in a changed physiology. So for instance, a person 20 kg overweight who sheds the kilos has a high propensity to put it all back on because the tendency for his or her body to want to gain those 20 kg is quite high. Experts claim it can take months – or years – to change your body’s chemistry as it deals with breaking down fat.
The only way to break the diet yo-yo is to stick to a weight-loss programme that works for you, which is tough for most people. But an app like HealthifyMe, for instance, can help keep you on course, with its calorie and fitness tracker and trainers to provide encouragement and motivation. Don’t flog yourself if you fluctuate a little bit. After all, part of the struggle is changing your approach to your weight.
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