The detriments of the YoYo diet

By Dr. Warren Willey
Columnist for the Journal

You may have heard the old adage “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” This does not apply to dieting.

The constant ups and downs (under eat then binge, over exercise then over rest) that we have all become so accustomed to are doing nothing but causing problems. Studies have shown that the more you diet, the fatter you get. Anyone who’s been on the chronic yo-yo of dieting knows this to be true. I have heard countless times about how the first time a patient tried a certain diet, it worked great. When their goal weight was reached, they stopped utilizing the eating system and gained their weight back – occasionally with a vengeance. Then, when they’d back to the diet, it failed to do what it had done the first time. 

The University of Pennsylvania did a great study on rats showing just this fact. The first time the rats were put on a diet and then allowed to eat normally again, they gained all their weight back rather quickly. Then, when they put them on diets again, they lost weight 100 percent more slowly and regained the weight 300 times faster than they had the first time. These rats also became fat storage machines, as they were capable of storing fat 400 percent more efficiently than rats who had never dieted.

Quit playing with yo-yos. Understand that weight gain and weight loss are hormonal issues, not calorie issues, and a long-term sensible energy intake with the appropriate foods is how one not only loses weight but maintains the loss.

Dr. Warren Willey is the Medical Director of a hormone management and medical weight loss center in Southeast Idaho. A widely-published author and speaker, Willey is a Board Certified Osteopathic Physician and did his postgraduate training at The Mayo Clinic. For more on his work and background, visit

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