Study urges people to think twice before going on a diet

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A caller qualitative study highlights nan antagonistic interpersonal and psychological consequences associated pinch "yo-yo dieting," besides known arsenic weight cycling. The activity underscores really toxic yo-yo dieting tin beryllium and really difficult it tin beryllium for group to break nan cycle.

"Yo-yo dieting -- unintentionally gaining weight and dieting to suffer weight only to summation it backmost and restart nan rhythm -- is simply a prevalent portion of American culture, pinch fad diets and lose-weight-quick plans aliases narcotics normalized arsenic group prosecute beauty ideals," says Lynsey Romo, corresponding writer of a insubstantial connected nan study and an subordinate professor of connection astatine North Carolina State University.

"Based connected what we learned done this study, arsenic good arsenic nan existing research, we urge that astir group debar dieting, unless it is medically necessary. Our study besides offers insights into really group tin combat insidious aspects of weight cycling and situation nan cycle."

For nan study, researchers conducted in-depth interviews pinch 36 adults -- 13 men and 23 women -- who had knowledgeable weight cycling wherever they mislaid and regained much than 11 pounds. The extremity was to study much astir why and really group entered nan yo-yo dieting rhythm and how, if astatine all, they were capable to get retired of it.

All nan study participants reported wanting to suffer weight owed to societal stigma related to their weight, and/or because they were comparing their weight to that of celebrities aliases peers.

"Overwhelmingly, participants did not commencement dieting for wellness reasons, but because they felt societal unit to suffer weight," Romo says.

The study participants besides reported engaging successful a assortment of weight-loss strategies, which resulted successful first weight loss, but eventual regain.

Regaining nan weight led group to consciousness shame and further internalize stigma associated pinch weight -- leaving study participants emotion worse astir themselves than they did earlier they began dieting. This, successful turn, often led group to prosecute successful progressively utmost behaviors to effort to suffer weight again.

"For instance, galore participants engaged successful disordered weight guidance behaviors, specified arsenic binge aliases affectional eating, restricting nutrient and calories, memorizing calorie counts, being stressed astir what they were eating and nan number connected nan scale, falling backmost connected speedy fixes (such arsenic low-carb diets aliases fare drugs), overexercising, and avoiding societal events pinch nutrient to driblet pounds fast," says Romo. "Inevitably, these fare behaviors became unsustainable, and participants regained weight, often much than they had initially lost."

"Almost each of nan study participants became obsessed pinch their weight," says Katelin Mueller, co-author of nan study and postgraduate student astatine NC State. "Weight nonaccomplishment became a focal constituent for their lives, to nan constituent that it distracted them from spending clip pinch friends, family, and colleagues and reducing weight-gain temptations specified arsenic drinking and overeating."

"Participants referred to nan acquisition arsenic an addiction aliases a vicious cycle," Romo says. "Individuals who were capable to understand and reside their toxic dieting behaviors were much successful astatine breaking nan cycle. Strategies group utilized to combat these toxic behaviors included focusing connected their wellness alternatively than nan number connected nan scale, arsenic good arsenic exercising for fun, alternatively than counting nan number of calories they burned.

"Participants who were much successful astatine challenging nan rhythm were besides capable to clasp patient eating behaviors -- specified arsenic eating a varied fare and eating erstwhile they were quiet -- alternatively than treating eating arsenic thing that needs to beryllium intimately monitored, controlled aliases punished."

However, nan researchers recovered nan immense mostly of study participants stuck successful nan cycle.

"The operation of ingrained thought patterns, societal expectations, toxic fare culture, and pervasive weight stigma make it difficult for group to wholly exit nan cycle, moreover erstwhile they really want to," Romo says.

"Ultimately, this study tells america that weight cycling is simply a antagonistic believe that tin origin group existent harm," Romo says. "Our findings propose that it tin beryllium damaging for group to statesman dieting unless it is medically necessary. Dieting to meet immoderate perceived societal modular inadvertently group participants up for years of shame, assemblage dissatisfaction, unhappiness, stress, societal comparisons, and weight-related preoccupation. Once a fare has begun, it is very difficult for galore group to debar a lifelong struggle pinch their weight."