Yo-Yo Dieting for Weight Loss Puts Heart Health at Risk
You want to lose a few pounds, so you go on a calorie-restricted diet. Maybe you take a weight-loss supplement, ramp up exercise, or a combination of all three. Most people who use this weight-loss strategy do shed a few pounds and tip the scale in the right direction.
That might seem all fine and dandy. But there’s a catch. Extreme dieting, weight loss supplements, or extreme exercise isn’t sustainable. After a few weeks, or maybe a few months, most people stop. Calories increase. Exercise decreases. The weight-loss, weight-gain cycle starts all over, and that’s a major problem.
In a recent Columbia University study, researchers found that yo-yo dieting with a pattern of weight loss and weight gain raises the risk for heart disease. Researchers also found that the more often someone goes through a yo-yo dieting cycle, the higher their risk for heart disease.
Translation: If you want to protect your heart, maintain a healthy weight. If you need to lose weight, adopt sustainable diet and exercise habits to help you lose weight and keep it off.
Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day. Go for a walk, jog or run. Hit the gym, or take a fitness class. Bike, swim, dance, work in the yard. Any activity that elevates your heart rate will help you burn calories and fat to support your weight management goals.
But exercise alone isn’t enough to achieve your weight loss goals and protect your heart. You need to eat healthy, too. For best health, your primary food sources should be fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, legumes, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, and plenty of water. Avoid or limit fried foods, foods high in sodium and saturated fat, and sugary drinks and snacks.
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If you want to keep your heart healthy, maintain a healthy weight or lose weight if you need to. And avoid yo-yo dieting.