backup og meta
Health Screening
Ask Doctor

Effective Ways to Stop Yoyo Dieting

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Nov 13, 2022

Effective Ways to Stop Yoyo Dieting

Many people who are on a weight loss journey understand that one of the most frustrating things is to lose weight and gain it back, over and over. In this article, we will discuss the effects of such a pattern and how to stop yoyo dieting.

What is Yoyo Dieting?

Yoyo dieting is the pattern of losing weight and gaining it back. You can also call this “weight cycling” because your weight is often fluctuating – you shed off the pounds, and then you gain them back again.

Although you may get the feeling that it is okay to gain weight as long as you are going to lose it later, studies are suggesting that yoyo dieting ultimately affects our health negatively.

What are the Effects of Yoyo Dieting?

Before we talk about how to stop yoyo dieting, let us first outline its potential impacts on our health:

Weight Cycling Could Increase the Risk of Obesity

  • When a team of researchers examined a total of 19 studies, they discovered that more than half found a possible link between yoyo dieting and increased body fat. The conclusion particularly pointed to increased belly fat, which can heighten the risk of obesity.
  • Additionally, 3 out of 8 studies revealed that weight cycling could lead to future weight gaining.

Although the scientists agree that the conclusions are “inconclusive,” it’s still possible that yoyo dieting is connected to the risk of obesity.

Yoyo Dieting May Be Bad for Your Heart

Some studies also concluded that yoyo dieting is bad for your heart. For instance, one particular study revealed that people with stable weight have better heart markers than those who gained weight. The interesting thing is it is still true even for obese people.

One possible reason for this is the “unhealthy” spike in several measures such as blood pressure, blood sugar, kidney function, and heart rate. You see, when you lose weight, these measures get better. But when you gain weight, they “shoot up in unhealthy ranges.”

Simply put, when the measures shoot up frequently, it could be bad for your heart.

Weight Cycling is Mentally Frustrating

Aside from its possible effects on our body, weight cycling is also mentally frustrating. Each time you lose the extra pounds, you will feel great. But when you gain them back, the feeling of failure may set it and lead to depression and loss of sense of achievement.

Some reports even say that in yoyo dieting, you gain more weight than what you had previously lost. This means that you will have to work harder to lose the extra weight again and that can be a little hard to accept.

As such, behavioral challenges may arise, such as the possibility of binge eating. Reports also say that yoyo dieting may lead to dissatisfaction in life.

How to Stop Yoyo Dieting

According to experts, people may experience yoyo dieting if they have an “unsustainable weight loss plan.” Hence, to stop yoyo dieting, one must have a tangible long-term plan that they can stick to.

Here are some tips to stop weight cycling:

Remember that Dieting is not a One-Time Big Time Goal

According to University of Fribourg’s Professor, Jean-Pierre Montani, MD who’s an expert in weight cycling and obesity, people should think of dieting as a gradual process.

Professor Montani highlights that your weight loss goals should not be just for months, but for the long haul. This way, you can break down big goals into concrete, little tasks.

Try to Shift to More Positive Thoughts

Often, people who want to lose weight have unhealthy notions about shedding the extra pounds. To stop yoyo dieting, try to remember that:

  • Healthy foods taste good, too. Most people have the notion that if the food is healthy, then it will not taste good. In reality, a lot of delicious foods are good in promoting healthy weight.
  • You can start anytime. Most people would like to start their weight loss journey on Monday or next month. But the truth is, you can and should start anytime.
  • You do not need to starve yourself to lose weight. Feeling hungry is not an indication that you are losing weight. Experts believe that feeling hungry often leads to overeating, which essentially is not good.

how to stop yoyo dieting

Focus on the Little Things

To have a sustainable weight loss plan, you need to focus on the little things as those are the things you can follow through for the long-term. To stop yoyo dieting, you can:

  • Cook your own meals. When you cook your own meals, you can rest easy that it is healthy and not filled with preservatives. Additionally, if you plan on counting calories, preparing your meal is one of the best options.
  • Drink water frequently. Avoid drinking empty calories filled with sugar, like sodas and other sweetened drinks. Drink water frequently and have a glass before each meal.
  • Eat your veggies first. You must already know that increasing the portions of your vegetables is good for the health, but another sustainable advice is to eat veggies first. This way, you will have less appetite, and less “room” for the other calorie-dense food items.
  • Remove unhealthy foods one step at a time. It is true that to stop yoyo dieting, you must remove some foods in your routine. However, removing bad foods all at once may feel a little daunting. Remove sugary and processed foods one step at a time to avoid feeling deprived.


Because we are talking about a sustainable weight loss plan, there is no doubt that physical workout is included. Get moving daily. If you’re not used to vigorous workouts, try less exhausting routines like walking, jogging, and dancing. Start for 30 minutes every day and work your way up.

Get Motivation from Results

And of course, do not forget to monitor the results of your work. Try to check your weight weekly or every other week – whatever works for you. Seeing that you are losing weight, even just a little, is a big motivation to help you continue.

Key Takeaways

The ways on how to stop yoyo dieting largely depend on the little things that you do. Dividing big goals into small, doable steps will help you sustain your plan to lose weight and live healthily.

Learn more about Healthy Eating here. 


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Nov 13, 2022

ad iconadvertisement

Was this article helpful?

ad iconadvertisement
ad iconadvertisement