Weight Loss: The yo-yo effect – what is it and how to avoid it? Effective tips

The yo-yo effect is gaining weight back after successfully losing weight. It usually occurs after restrictive dieting or a return to old eating habits after losing weight. To lose weight without the yo-yo effect, follow the principles of healthy eating after dieting and remember to exercise.

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What is the yo-yo effect?

The yo-yo effect is a rapid weight gain after successful weight loss. It is assumed that the yo-yo effect occurs when, after 5 months, the weight gain exceeds 10% of the weight achieved. Initially, the weight increases slightly, but over time there is a return and then an excess of weight before the weight loss. The alternation of weight loss and weight gain can occur cyclically.

Causes of the yo-yo effect

The yo-yo effect often occurs after a restrictive diet, when immediately after its completion, there is a return to old eating habits, snacking and lack of exercise. Here are the most common causes of yo-yo effects:

  • Poorly chosen slimming diet, e.g. too low in calories compared to caloric needs, fasting, an insufficient amount of nutrients in the menu, etc.
  • The rate of weight loss is too fast, which causes the body to go into energy-saving mode, storing it in fat tissue and slowing down the metabolism.
  • Return to bad eating habits, which occur quickly after the end of the slimming treatment, ie snacking, eating products high in fat and sugar, such as fast food.
  • Lack of physical activity, which leads to a slower metabolic rate and a loss of muscle tissue necessary for the fat-burning process.

How to avoid the yo-yo effect?

1. Always exercise regularly

After finishing the diet, exercise protects against body regurgitation and the yo-yo effect. Not only because working muscles use up calories, but also because the metabolic rate increases with exercise. The nicely shaped figure is also a definite advantage.

A 30-minute workout every day is great, but if you don’t like it, walk regularly and try to keep a fairly fast pace. Don’t blame yourself for not having enough time. Cycling, swimming, or walking with poles are just as effective.

How much energy will you burn during 30 minutes of activity?

  • cycling or dancing: 180 kcal,
  • walking: 130 kcal,
  • swimming: 210 kcal.

2. Moderation at parties

Occasional overindulgence (partying once or twice a year) is not a big problem. But if you party often, try to eat a little more than your daily routine and choose lower-calorie meals – salads, roasted meats.

When the cake hits the table, ask for half a slice. To make sure the empty plate doesn’t tempt guests to give you another serving, make sure there’s always something on it.

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3. Follow a biological clock

Our digestive system has a circadian rhythm. It starts “work” in the morning and ends at dusk. And even if you prefer to eat at night, it won’t change your habits. Therefore, it is best to sit at the table while the digestive system is working. It is then easier to keep a slim figure and avoid the yo-yo effect.

4. Breakfast 7-9 a.m.

When you wake up, your stomach starts to excrete a lot of digestive juices. So it’s a good idea to eat breakfast within 30 minutes.

It will be digested quickly and the blood will get a portion of glucose that is used up. If you don’t eat breakfast, your body will go into “fallback mode” and it will draw energy from your muscles, which is bad. It will also start to slow down metabolism and build up fat stores.

5. Second breakfast around 11 a.m.

The pancreas secretes a lot of insulin, which uses the carbohydrates that entered the bloodstream at breakfast. To supplement them, you should eat, for example, a large piece of fruit, a yogurt, or a sandwich with wholemeal bread. However, this cannot be a big meal.

6. Lunch 1 to 3 p.m.

The digestive system is still working at high speed. Now it secretes many enzymes that digest proteins. The substances provided with breakfast are absorbed by the small intestine. This is the right time for a larger meal.

Ideally, it should consist of one portion of a protein-rich product (e.g. lean meat, fish, cheese, legume cutlets) and a large portion of vegetables. The addition of carbohydrates (potatoes, pasta, or rice) should not be too important.

7. Afternoon snack 4-5 pm

Insulin levels rise again, as they did at breakfast time. This is called an insulin spike and it makes almost everyone crave something sweet right now.

And you really need to provide the body with carbohydrates. However, overweight people should choose fruit or, for example, fruit jelly, rather than cake.

8. Dinner at 7 pm

These are the last hours of good stomach activity. When you pass them, the body will not use the energy from the evening meal, but will store it as fat tissue.

The same thing will happen if you eat something heavy or sweet for dinner (the pancreas now produces less insulin than it did during the day). This is the best time for vegetables (steamed or raw), fish, lean meat. If you stay up late and need something else after dinner, make it something small and easy to digest, like a salad.

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9. Carefully increase your portions

When you are finished losing weight, you need to remember that you now have a slower metabolism than you did before your diet. The body is so smart that when we start providing it with few calories, it slows down the metabolism. At all costs, it wants to leave itself at least a little reserve in case of hunger in the future. Therefore, there may be no way to go back to the old menu if you are wondering how to avoid the yo-yo effect.

  • In the first week after weight loss, eat as you would on a diet, adding just one slice of whole-grain bread per day.
  • In the second week, you can also eat a spoonful of pasta or rice. After this period, weigh yourself. If you have still lost weight, add an apple and a slice of cold cuts to your daily menu.

If you stop losing weight, don’t eat unless you start exercising more. This period of weight stabilization should last at least 3 months.

10. Cleanse the body

The best method is the so-called liquid day 2-3 times a month. If you do not work, you can only drink water and herbal teas on this day, for example, nettle, birch, chamomile, or horsetail. The total amount of fluids should not be less than 2.5 liters.

While you are working, drink unsweetened fruit and vegetable juices and yogurt smoothies that day. You can eat hot vegetable soup once a day, but not potatoes. The toxin-free body burns calories faster.

11. Change the way you cook

You don’t have to give up your favorite foods, even the fried ones, and still make sure the weight doesn’t increase. Just learn to make them differently.

  • Reduce the amount of fat you used to wet your pan before your diet to fry meat, scramble eggs or sauté onions by at least half. Dishes with non-stick coatings are actually good enough to brush with an oil-soaked brush.
  • Prepare foods by steaming. Not only vegetables but also poultry and fish. If you don’t have a steamer, use the openwork overlay on the pot.
  • If you don’t like ready-made meals, try grilling. They are also healthy, as the melted fat runs off the product onto the hot plate.

Be careful! The faster you lose weight, the faster it comes back. Therefore, when you lose unnecessary weight, do not reduce the caloric value of your meals below 1400 kcal per day if you want to lose weight without the yo-yo effect.

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