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  • Why Years of Yo-Yo Dieting Damages Your Metabolism

    Weight Cycling

    By Kathleen Benson RDN LD

     Yo-yo dieting (weight cycling) can be described as a chronic dieter who often loses weight and gains it back. These diets are usually very restrictive in calories, promoting a significant amount of weight loss with little to no maintenance once the diet program ends. The dieter rebounding and gaining back their original weight often follows this. In many cases these individuals not only regain original fat, but also add on additional fat tissue.

     Let’s get into the basic science of it in 3 points of why weight cycling can cause weight chaos.

     1. Low-calorie diets tend to promote muscle wasting (a.k.a. losing your gainz). s

    Muscles are more metabolically active than fat.  While there are factors that play a role in how many calories muscle tissue and fat tissue burn, it’s generally accepted that one pound of muscle has the daily metabolic rate of roughly 6-8 calories while every pound of fat has a daily metabolic rate of about 2-3 calories.  While the difference doesn’t seem very significant, it does add up over time. Less muscle = less calories burned.

     2.  Very low calorie diets promote a decreased metabolism.

    If the body isn’t getting enough fuel it tries to ration out and hold on to calories for energy when absolutely needed. This is a double-edged sword because the decrease in metabolism can leave the dieter feeling tired and less likely to do hard work (less muscle work = less growth) and because the body will find energy from other sources (i.e. muscles).  Muscles require a lot of energy and work to maintain. They are the first to go when calories are too low. Don’t forget, once that weight is gained back there is potential for additional fat on top of the muscle loss.

     3. Without lifestyle changes eating poorly after a diet can cause rapid weight gain. Not having a plan for lifestyle changes and a healthy diet after cutting weight can promote relapsing. Overeating right after losing weight appears to induce rapid fat tissue growth due to metabolic shifts favoring fat storage. Fat cells signal the body to fill them back up again with fat. Because of this, it is setting yourself up for failure if you have the mentality to binge once the dieting phase is completed - so don’t stuff your face with donuts after cutting! There are a variety of reasons for rebounding, however they seem to stem from going back to old dietary habits and/or binging. Metabolisms can be decreased for the time being when the dieting phase is over. Because of this, binging can be even more detrimental to the hard work that was put into losing weight.

     So what does this all mean?

    With the above points in mind here’s why you may see very slow weight loss (or even weight gain) when beginning a diet program if you’ve dabbled in diets throughout the years:

    1.      Your metabolism might just be trying to figure out your body again and become balanced after all the changes you’ve put it through. There is new information that suggests when people lose a significant amount of weight, (especially over a very short period of time) their end metabolic rate is slower than someone of the exact same sex, height, age, and body composition.

    2.      Hormones play a role in weight management. With the changes in calorie intake and expenditure, your body might also take some time to adjust.


    If you have yo-yo dieted, the best thing to do for your body is to make sure you’re consuming enough protein, doing strength training, staying consistent with caloric and macronutrient intake, and most importantly be patient.

     Overall, the safest and most beneficial way to lose weight seems to be 1-2 pounds per week. This can be especially challenging in a culture where we are used to getting things at a click of a button; big changes expected for little work. Weight loss is not about quick fixes or programs that end forever. Instead, it’s about making lifestyle changes. Cutting can help with that initial weight loss, but the most important factor after the program ends is how you eat on a daily basis.


  • Elisabeth Akinwale: On-Balance Seminar April 16th

    On Balance is a one-day interactive workshop with 5-Time CrossFit Games Athlete, business owner, fitness coach, and mother Elisabeth Akinwale. 

     Elisabeth will share the specific strategies, resources, and skills that have helped her compete at the highest level of CrossFit while maintaining a focus on life balance and overall health.  Build your confidence, mental fortitude, and develop a strengths-based approach to the pursuit of your goals.

     Course content will include Gymnastics, Olympic style weightlifting, and a holistic approach to physical & mental training to empower you in accomplishing your personal mission.


  • New Year's and Resolution


    New Year’s and the Resolution.

    I love New Year’s.  I know, so many people say their resolution, is to not make any resolutions.  But to me, there is something about a New Year, a fresh start that makes me hopeful.  Makes me excited!! 2015 brought many highs and lows for many of us.  Before this year ends, I hope each of you take a few minutes and reflect on the past 364 days.  What did you like, love?  What things do you need to give up or let go of?  Writing down things you want to do and (maybe stop doing) is a great first step in making your goals a reality.  Telling your family, posting your goals on FB and or sharing it with your JCCF family can help keep you accountable.   

    Make small goals, and enjoy the journey. 

    So many of us only look at the end point. And along the way we shame ourselves, we don’t love ourselves and we put conditions on ourselves.  “When I lose 20#, then I’ll be happy and like who I am.”  That mindset has to change.  You have to love yourself NOW, you have ENJOY the journey and love yourself exactly the way you are.  Realizing your goals are to create the BEST version of WHO YOU ARE.  Make your goals for you.  No one else.  Make your goals about being happy for you.  Not goals to prove people wrong or out of spite.  (While those can be things that help short term, it comes from a bad place and won’t sustain you.)  Intrinsic motivation, doing it for you is how goals are achieved and maintained.  Happy New Year JCCF!  I can’t wait to see what this New Year brings all of you



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