Weight loss in America is big business. As a country, we spend billions of dollars trying to lose weight. While many individuals succeed at shedding pounds, only a very small percentage of those who lose weight through dieting are able to maintain their weight loss. Many of those who regain the pounds make further attempts to lose weight. This yo-yo dieting, as it is called, may contribute to several health problems.
Yo-yo dieting may result in a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes. When fat is regained after dieting, it may be stored around the abdomen. Abdominal fat storage, in contrast to fat stored in the leg or hip region, appears to be a risk factor in the development of certain diseases. Yo-yo dieting also may increase your percent of body fat. When you lose weight through dieting, you lose both fat and muscle tissue. However, when you stop dieting, excess calories are stored in the form of fat. Therefore, even if you regain only as many pounds as you lost through dieting, your body is likely to be fattier than it was previously.
Also, when your percent of body fat increases, your metabolic rate (the rate at which your body burns calories) declines. This happens because muscle tissue is more metabolically active than fat. Hence, if your percent of body fat increases after regaining lost weight, your body will not be able to burn as many calories.
It is important to keep in mind that diets are for the purpose of weight loss, not weight maintenance. All too often, when a diet is completed, the former dieter goes back to the same eating habits that caused him or her to gain weight in the first place. So instead of struggling with a weight-loss regime, do yourself a favor, and focus on making positive, permanent changes in your eating habits by following the guidelines outlined in the next chapter of this book.
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