The Hidden Consequences of Yo-Yo Dieting You Need to Know (and Why Future Weight Loss is That Much Harder)

Ep. 216 - WordPress


Compared to being overweight or obese (as defined by BMI) the act of consistently losing and regaining weight (read: yo-yo dieting) significantly increases your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure…

I’ll say it one more time: someone who consistently loses and regains the same 15 – 20 pounds over and over is at a greater risk for several disease states compared to someone who maintains their weight – even if they’re 20 pounds over what would be considered a healthier, ideal weight.

In today’s episode, I am going to dive deep into the research that examines the depth of the negative impact yo-yo dieting has on your physiological health. Moreover, I’ll share several emotional consequences that remaining stuck in this weight loss and regain cycle has.

All of this, of course, is in an effort to help you wake up to the fact that if you find yourself stuck in this perpetual cycle, you need to make major changes to break free. Otherwise, the accumulating stress placed on your nervous system from yo-yo dieting will bring about a significant risk for several disease states.

Click here to get the coaching, community, and accountability you need to break the cycle for good! 
NOTE: This episode is a replay of one of our live weekly coaching calls in The 5% Community. If you feel this type of coaching and connection is what’s missing in your life, click here to learn more about how The 5% Community can help you feel and look your best!

Just like that

Episode Key Highlights:

  • Discover what the latest research has to say about the impact weight cycling (yo-yo dieting) has on your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. 
  • Learn Paul’s biggest recommendation to help you break this cycle (it’s far simpler than you may think).
  • Hear more about the depth of the emotional impact yo-yo dieting has on your life and wellbeing.

How I Can Help You:

  1. Hire me to build you an Individualized Nutrition Blueprint (Plan) – Learn More.
  2. Discover how high-achieving women in their 30s and 40s (and 50s) are developing massive amounts of confidence, self-love, and self-worth…  while simultaneously losing 20+ pounds and keeping it off FOR GOOD with my 5% Inside-Out Formula for Sustainable Weight Loss – Learn More.
  3. Hire A Registered Dietitian and Results-Driven Coach to Help You Develop Massive Amounts of Self-Confidence and Self-Love While Dropping 20+ Pounds for Good so That You Can Feel, Look, and Be the Best You – Learn More.
  4. Find Food Freedom Forever: Free yourself from BS food rules and the accompanying guilt, anxiety, and regret that comes with them so that you can feel excited, calm, and in control of food again – Learn More.
  5. Connect with Paul on Instagram – Say hi!


Paul Salter:

Hey, Amy. Lisa, Allison, great to have you ladies here. Jana, I was just thinking about you, Jana. I’m glad you made the call. Maria, happy Wednesday. Awesome. Allison, I love this multitasking you got going on. A little bit of you, a little bit of work.


I’m on call tonight. I don’t have a choice.

Paul Salter:

I applaud you for still making you a priority despite that. Awesome. I know you got your mouth full. So Lisa, what’s a win we’re celebrating?


Oh, I just feel like things are going really well. I know we had a call this week. I’ve been struggling a little bit with my blueprint. My brain just got in the way and I feel like I got my brain back in order and ready to just get back on plan today.

Paul Salter:

Good. I love it. And I got two points to add. First is remember that you deserve to feel good and how you feel right now can be your norm. As human beings, we’re very guilty, whether we know it or not, of finding a way to self-sabotage. And sometimes we have to really just remind ourselves that we deserve to feel this good. I was going to shout you out, anyway. I’ll do it now. You taking such quick action after our coaching call the other day, I just applaud you. I think it’s awesome that you were able to do so that quickly and make yourself a priority and you’re already feeling the results.


Thank you.

Paul Salter:

Yeah, absolutely. Bethany, great to have you on here. What’s a win we’re celebrating?


Oh, I hit the wrong button.

Paul Salter:

There you go.


Darn. You called on me. I’m alone, so my house is quiet. That’s a win. But probably for real, it’s just been a good week, I think. I’ve been mid breakfast today, so breakfast is going to kill me someday. And today I did it.

Paul Salter:

Good. Outstanding.


Embarrassing, but it’s true.

Paul Salter:

No, you’re right where you’re supposed to be and you’re making progress one day at a time. I’m thrilled to hear that you took action. Very good. And let’s go one more. Tanya, what’s a win we’re celebrating?


Getting organized this week. I accomplished more than I said I would, so it was great. Usually I set a goal and I just barely meet the goal. And this week I set a goal and I actually exceeded the goal, which was surprising. I was like, “Oh wow, I can do that.”

Paul Salter:

Hell yeah. That’s awesome. Now take five minutes to reflect, why were you able to do more this week? Find what that secret sauce is for you and let’s repeat it next week. Awesome. Dave, great to see you sneak on here. I didn’t see you originally, so happy to see you. Heather, Ginger’s here, Julie’s here. Karen, welcome to your first ever call. Karen is our newest member of the 5% community. Thrilled that she is here and thrilled that each and every one of you is here.

So a couple housekeeping pieces of announcements. I would love to dive in and just start celebrating our September challenge winners because we’ve got some new faces and just kudos to everybody who participated in and finished the September One Mile challenge. But I want to read some wicked fast times and improvements and shout these people out. So Maria, congratulations. You are one of our September challenge winners. An improvement of 121%, shaving off nearly three minutes of your time in the Mile Walk/Run. Congratulations. I’ll follow up and send some good old Amazon money your way here shortly.

Also, coming in with a big victory this week, having a goal of just wanting to be able to run the entire mile, let alone she smoked it with the time of 8:22 is Amy. Amy, congratulations. Nearly a 150% improvement. Outstanding. Very, very good. And then coming in really freaking fast. I don’t know how this woman does that. Heather can run 50 plus miles and wake up and do it again the next day and she can also run a mile in six minutes and 17 seconds, but she was able to have a tremendous improvement as well, racking up nearly a minute shaved off of her time. Absolutely outstanding. So kudos to Heather, wicked fast times here. And just again, kudos to everybody.

And on that note, I’ve got to put the big spotlight and call out on myself. I’m going to be really honest. I slacked like crazy during this challenge. I ran my miles, I beat my goal time, but half the time I should have ran and I opted to walk and I really had a little bit of a tough time getting myself to complete both of my workouts from 75 hard and then to go run a mile back on top of that. And more often than not, I did not do that. I used my extra walking workout as my mile and I’m just voicing that to each and every one of you because I would like to be held a bit more accountable for the October challenge, which I am way behind. So many of you guys are sit up masters and that motivates me and I promise to be back with stronger consistency this month. And again, please check in on me, call me out if you haven’t heard from me about my sit up progress.

But I will hit my goal of triple digits or die trying or maybe crunch trying, either way, I am committed to it. And I need a little extra motivation this month, so that’s why I’m hauling myself out and relying on each and every one of you.

Next item of business October challenge. Today is the last day to test your two minute max sit-ups. So you’ve got plenty of time after this call. I’m going to go knock out my daily 10 after this call. But a reminder is today’s last day to submit the maximum number of standard military sit-ups that you can complete in two minutes. And then every day the rest of the month, we’re just going to do 10 per day and it’s going to be really exciting at our 5% live event to all sit up in unison. Yeah, we’re going to make that a little bonding activity. That should be fun. More on that later. But reminder, get those scores in and drop them in the monthly challenge channel.

Second to last reminder is that brand new food freedom and rebuilding your relationship with food module is not going to complete itself. So a good reminder, if you have noticed any trends in your relationship with food, areas of that you would like to take back ownership and control of, develop more semblance of peace of mind and control while navigating social occasions or just everyday meals and snacks, that is a golden module that I am so excited to share with you and really just wanted to put that back on top of your radar and remind you to turn your attention there whenever you complete whatever module that you are working on now.

And then lastly, Kelly and I are working on putting together a quick survey, less than 10 questions we both promise should be ready next week, that’s really just designed to learn a little bit more about how I can continue to over deliver and provide value, provide you a combination of both what you want and what you need specific to our live 5% fire calls every Wednesday. So just be on the lookout for that next week. We’ll of course tag you 15 million times to let you know that it’s ready for your completion. But we would greatly appreciate you spending two to three minutes to answer a couple questions for us so that we can learn how to continue to best support you and show up to help bring the best out of you.

And let me get my chat marks up. I see it’s blowing up. Okay, perfect. Tanya, Karen. Got it. Awesome. Yes, thank you Tanya. I appreciate that. Otherwise, couple big shout outs, Just some great progress happening here. So I’m going to go ahead and shut up Kirsty, who’s not on the call. And Kirsty sent me a novel of a DM today and I had to read it a couple times to fully digest it. But the long story short was she finally recommitted to putting herself first and felt so confident with her blueprint and racked up more than a month of consistency that she had the confidence to enter a diet for the first time in a very long time. And after I believe almost six weeks had dropped eight pounds, tons of inches, but far more important than that, she made that very clear, her entire relationship with food she would describe as at peace and in control. She’s navigating night shifts at work effortlessly. So big shout out to her doing great work.

Big shout out again to Mandy as it’s crunch time for prep for our first ever live 5% event who just continues to kick us and get 15 million things done in a week. Big shout out, Lisa. I already shouted you out, but I want to mention again. Big shout out to Bethany as well. Bethany just is really bringing a big smile to my face to see the amazing progress you’ve made in particular these last six weeks or so. Keep up the fantastic work. I don’t know how many calls you’ve made in a row, I don’t know what you’re doing, but please keep doing it.

And then a big shout out lastly to Jen as well. Jen is one of our OG original members back from early 2021, and it’s great to be able to see her face in the community a bit more lately. She has had quite a challenging summer, buying a house, cleaning it out, rebuilding this, that and the other, but is now finally moved in and already made it her own, made it a home. And it’s just wonderful to see that she is putting herself back a top of the priority list.

And with that said, let’s turn our attention to yo-yo dieting. Tonight’s call Ladies and gents is really designed to do two things. Number one is to bring ample awareness to the deeper physiological and perhaps more importantly, emotional impact that yo-yo or chronic dieting has on either your physiological or emotional health. Also, your financial health. If I remember, I’ll touch on that as well. And my aim tonight is to share some of the latest research, some facts, et cetera, about just how great the depth of that impact is if you find yourself continuing to stay stuck in the yo-yo dieting cycle.

But I also want to paint a very clear picture as to why we get stuck physiologically and nutritionally speaking, and why sometimes rather, more often than not, the best answer to trying to lose weight is to just simply put a pause on your weight loss goal, take a step back, reevaluate, recalibrate, and reprioritize so that you can finally move forward when you feel emotionally, mentally, and physically ready to get the maximum return on that diet phase in a manner that is sustainable so you don’t find yourself in a similar position 3, 4, 5 months down the road. And as we navigate tonight, of course, we’re going to use the chat box. I’ve got a couple questions built in, but at any time specifically when we start talking about some of the physiological and emotional effects, please chime in with questions, comments, observations. If you need me to clarify anything, of course, don’t hesitate to reach out as well.

So let’s kick things off with just a simple working definition tonight. You guys know me well. I love definitions, love a set of clear foundation here. So when I say the word yo-yo dieting, this is simply a pattern that is characterized by cyclic weight loss, followed by weight gain that is typically a result of some strict, restrictive and unsustainable crash diet intermixed with subsequent periods of binge eating or really just eating in a gigantic calorie surplus with that good old fuck it mindset, not caring about portions, calories, whatever it may be. And there’s one slight caveat here I think is worth clarifying. If I were to use the term chronic dieting, that is technically different than yo-yo dieting because chronic dieting is typically characterized by periods of starting over every Monday or diet hopping. And although there’s a consistent fluctuation between intentional restriction and then eating ad libitum, there’s not always a significant change on the scale.

There’s a general theme of chronic under eating, but again, it’s not usually showing up on the scale with these massive weight fluctuations, whereas yo-yo dieting can be equated to losing 15 to 20 pounds and seeing that weight come back. And that’s very, very important to distinguish between, because as I’ll get into in just a little bit, there is a massive difference in the impact of being overweight, being obese, and simply being stuck in the yo-yo dieting cycle. And the impact that has on not only your emotional health, but specifically your risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease in a slew of other disease states and conditions.

But we will get there shortly. And how I’d like to kick things off here is just sharing a bit of a reminder and overview of the physiological adaptations that take place during a diet to ultimately set the stage for what happens with yo-yo dieting, why that weight regain happens so damn quickly, and ultimately, why the longer we spend in this cycle, the harder future weight loss becomes. The biggest reminder I need to share is dieting is a significant physiological, emotional and psychological stressor. And more often than not, we don’t really feel or experience that to the extent that’s actually taking place. And what I mean by that is typically the first few weeks of a diet are incredibly exciting. The scales moving now. We’re consistent because we’re committed and motivated in both our diet and our exercise habits. So we just feel good, not really related to any weight loss that is occurring, but really related to the fact that we’ve set a goal, we’ve made nonnegotiable commitments and boundaries and we’re actually following through on them.

But underneath the surface there are several physiological changes taking place to fight back against the stress or the calorie deficit that you have created because again, our bodies, our nervous system’s primary goal is to maintain a smooth sailing in a state of homeostasis. And you trying to eat less than your body needs goes against that. So your body fights back in several ways. First and foremost, it has a massive impact on the two primary appetite regulating hormones. So there is a major increase in appetite stimulating hormone called ghrelin, and a major decrease in the appetite suppressing hormone known as leptin, which is basically to say you start to feel really hungry eventually while you are dieting. Even more your body is actively working on several fronts to conserve energy by way of expending fewer calories throughout the day. So not only is the energy you might typically have to complete your normal activities of daily living down, but you experience more of a generalized fatigue.

And if you were to do the same exact workout on day one of your diet, same exercises, same sets, same rest, same reps, same rest breaks, and then do that again on day 30, day 60 and day 90, you would see a trend of fewer calories being burnt from day one, day 30, day 60, day 90, even though you’re doing literally the exact same workout. And that is because your body prioritizes becoming as efficient as possible while dieting, again, in an effort to conserve energy. Oh yes, favorite five percenter is on the call now. So happy Amy, you brought her on. Thank you so much. So what I want to really just recap and ingrain here is as you continue to progress during a diet, after three or four weeks you hit that dreaded plateau, you’re forced to either eat less, move more, or implement a combination of both to restart that calorie deficit, restart the weight loss phase.

And the longer you diet, the more added exercise that accumulates. The harsher your calorie restriction, the more profound, prominent and harsh those adaptations are. And as a result, you might find yourself 8, 10, 12 weeks after you began your diet, not only literally eating maybe 50 or 60% of the calories that you were eating before you started dieting, but your hunger hormones are completely out of whack. Your metabolism has slowed to a snail’s pace and let’s say using an arbitrary set of numbers that when you began your diet, you were eating 2000 calories per day and losing weight, you may very well find yourself in a position at the end of a diet in which you’re eating 1,200 calories and you’re not losing weight, because your body is incredibly dynamic and it does everything within its power to recreate a state of homeostasis and to fight back against any internal and external stressors that we place on it.

So here, very common position. That’s just a set of normal adaptations that takes place during a diet, but here is where people begin to go wrong. So after a diet, you’ve probably heard of me or the 5% community because of my outspoken strong beliefs on that, the post diet maintenance phase, especially those first four to six weeks being so critical to your success. And the biggest mistake that people make is implementing too large of a calorie increase after their diet, or maybe they diet eight weeks and then just throw the towel and say, “Fuck it.” And begin eating whatever they want, whenever they want and eating as much as they want. What happens is… This is a bit of an oversimplification, but for example purposes, our metabolism becomes incredibly overwhelmed. It cannot keep up with the massive surplus of calories that comes as a result of completely overeating or eating like an asshole at the end of your diet.

So what happens is because our body has been under this stressful condition for so long, its first priority at the sight, the thought or the smell of extra calories is to protect itself. And the way it protects itself is by storing those calories. And in a perfect world, those calories would be stored as muscle, but we don’t live in that world. So those calories are quickly stored as body fat to simply protect ourselves against any future stress, which in this case, stress being equivalent to dieting. And this is just simply a biologically wired survival mechanism that dated way back when we literally didn’t know when our next meal was coming and always had to have adequate fuel or calories in reserve. So what happens is if you don’t have a diligent and planned post diet maintenance increase in place is you jump from 1,200 calories to maybe 2,000 or 2,400 calories a day and it overwhelms your body.

It prioritizes those extra calories being stored as fat. And what happens here, and this is a really key point, is the time it takes for those bodily functions that underwent an adaptation during the diet to restore to normal pre diet levels, so the number of calories you were burning, the metabolic rate, et cetera, it takes far longer than the time it took for those adaptations to begin in the first place. And what I mean is, let’s say for example, it takes four weeks of consistently eating 2,000 calories per day until you actually see a plateau on the scale, it might take six, eight, even 10 weeks for your body to get back to that level of efficiency and having your metabolism humming along. And the reason that people get stuck in this yo-yo diet cycle and inevitably reach a point where they can’t seem to push past a certain threshold or number on the scale is they jump up and they binge for a period of time or they’re eating in a massive surplus because they just don’t care about tracking food anymore after a period of significant restriction.

And although their baseline average calorie intake is way up here, their body has not caught up yet. So their body is still operating as if it’s eating maybe 14, 1,500 calories per day. So you’re in this huge surplus for a while, which leads to rapid weight regain and unfavorable physique changes. And then when reality sits in and you recognize, “Oh, I’ve been eating like an asshole. I need to get my discipline, my consistency back on plan,” then you try to restrict your calories really hard again and maybe you restrict back down to 1,500, 1,200, and again, if we use that 1,400 numbers in arbitrary example here, you’re not really at a big deficit anymore. Yes, 1,200 calories used to be a big deficit for you before you started dieting, but right now it’s no longer a deficit. So what happens? You start to borderline starve yourself.

You feel like shit, you’re hungry, you’re tired, you’re irritable, you have cravings, and the scale’s not moving. So what do you do? Eventually you reach a point of burnout and you repeat the process over and over again and the big missing piece here is you did not allow adequate time alongside adequate patient increases in food to allow your body to catch up and restore those adaptations back to pre diet levels. And as you can imagine or maybe you’ve experienced, you get stuck in this cycle of gaining a ton of weight and then you lose a little, then you gain some back and then some, and you keep repeating this cycle over and over again simply because you have not allowed enough time in between diets. And the big theme takeaway to extract from that is you’ve just never given your body a breather. It’s always been overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed in the sense you’ve placed this calorie deficit stress on it or you’ve gone the opposite way and you’ve begun eating so much food that you’re taxing your metabolism that had just previously adapted to very low intake. So your body, your digestive system, your nervous system, your mind, your emotionality and spirituality are just taxed 24/7. And as you can imagine, it is that stress or also we can use the word inflammation that is one of the root, if not the primary calls for so many metabolic conditions and diseases that affect our body, our mind, and our heart on a much broader scale. And that’s what I’ll use to start segueing into some of the deeper impact that this pattern of yo-yo dieting has. But before I do that, just want to check in any questions about what I share to do a better job clarifying the changes that take place during and after a diet. Maria, any questions? Tracy? Any questions?


I’m good, thank you.

Paul Salter:

Okay, Tanya, fire away.


I know you mention and I hear it all the time, how your body is going to take a beating when you are in a diet phase. But I guess the question is, but when you eat more than your body needs, also your body’s taking a beating, right? Because it’s like it can’t keep up. So I guess the question is, are you talking about restrictive eating? Because if a trusting metabolism is like, let’s say, 2,000 and you do 1,800, is the body actually really taking a beating just losing the 200 calories per day? I get if you go to 1,000, of course, now you’re restricting. But where is that? I feel like there’s a fine line between restrictive eating and just…

Paul Salter:

That’s a great question. And like any stress in life, a little stress is really good. It forces positive change if we have the right mindset and action steps. So you’re absolutely right. When it comes to a small deficit, that is the absolute best approach to take when weight loss is the goal. We don’t go from 2,000 to 1.000 calories per day. You might go 2,000, 1,800, 1,600, whatever it may be to have a more manageable stress level. And that same thing applies when we start coming out of a diet. We don’t want to go from 1,000 to 2,000 calories, again, these are very arbitrary numbers, we would go from… and very low, please don’t ever think we’re talking about only eating 1,000 calories per day.

But for the sake of simplicity, if we were going 1,000 to 1,200 calories per day, that’s a minimal stress. Your body responds favorably. Your metabolism is going to catch up fairly quickly. And then you go to 1,400, for example, same thing, metabolism catches up very quickly, which is why so many people who follow a well-planned and patient post diet maintenance phase actually experience a little more weight loss or they maintain their end of diet weight to a T because their metabolism begins to hum and rev up quite quickly because of just the minimal dose of stress. I wish I could give you a perfect number, but unfortunately I can’t.


And can I just ask one more question? I know you have other things to do, just kind of a quick follow up on that. I know there’s the whole concept and what we all do in that you go through a diet phase, then you go to maintenance. What would happen in the event of, let’s say, again, your resting metabolism is at 2,000 and you go to 1,800 and you just cruise along, in a way you’re dieting, but it’s minimal dieting, it’s just that 200 and you stay there forever. I know at one point the body adapts, but I guess I don’t really understand the concept of your body adapts and then 800 becomes the norm. So that way you have to lower so that the body knows… I guess what happens if you’re always in this diet, is really small diet phase for the rest of your life.

Paul Salter:

Think about it like this. If you went from 2,000 to 1,800, just like you said, your body’s going to eventually adapt, 1,800 becomes your new maintenance. So if you were technically in a small diet for the rest of your life, you would have to keep decreasing, 1,600, 1,400, 1,200. You start to cross a threshold where it’s not sustainable, hunger starts rising, stronger adaptations begin to kick in because at a certain point, we all have what’s known as a genetic or a body fat set point where the amount or with the intensity that our body fights back becomes that much greater. So if we carry out your example infinitely for the rest of our lifetime and we just keep chipping away and eating less and less and less, eventually we reach a threshold where it becomes unsustainable because our body just punches us in the face that says, “Hey, uh-huh, we can’t do this.” Does that answer your question?


Yeah. I guess I was just thinking without chipping away, if we just stay at this 200 decrease, how does your resting metabolism change and the 1,800 becomes now what your body adapts to and you’re no longer in a dieting phase? I was just wondering if you can just do the 200 for a year go from 2,000 to 1,800, would you still continue losing weight?

Paul Salter:

Probably not. You would for like three to six weeks and then no, it’d become your new maintenance. Several factors influence your resting metabolic rate, your muscle mass, your age, your size, your gender, your exercise type, duration, intensity. So your body will find a way to compensate to the game, maintain or satisfy its primary goal of establishing homeostasis.


Got it. Thank you, Paul.

Paul Salter:

Yeah, thank you. Great discussion. So let’s use the chat box. We’re going to shift gears here now. We have a very clear picture of what yo-yo dieting is, and we’re going to talk about the emotional impact and we’re going to talk about the physiological and disease risk impact. So I would love to know utilizing the chat box here from each and every one of you, how have you been impacted emotionally by your diet history? How have you been impacted emotionally by your diet history? Meaning your diet choices, your decision to diet, not to diet, the type of diet you chose. How has it impacted you emotionally?

So I’ll share to kick things off as I await your chat response boxes. I remember one of the first literally body building diets I did, literally taken from the website, back in 2010, I believe, it made me feel like a failure because on paper it looked really simple, but about 30 or 40 days in of eating the same chicken, brown rice and broccoli, literally that is what I ate. I didn’t want to do it anymore. I couldn’t do it anymore. If I ate another bite of chicken, I was going to throw up or punch something. And I felt like a failure because on paper it looked really simple and I saw on the website all these people who did it successfully and had all these results, but I, for whatever reason, could not do it. So I felt like a failure. So let me start reading in some responses.

“Feeling like I’m not successful if I’m not cutting.” Yeah, Amy, that’s a big one. We don’t know what to do if we’re not dieting, if we’ve spent adequate time in the diet industry. Yes. Bethany, “Very stressful. The idea of jumping into a diet, especially one found online is stressful. It causes fear.” Yeah. April, “It scares me. Knows that’s stressful in your body.” Allison says, “It was getting to the point of feeling very hopeless, lost, desperate.” That’s powerful. “Seeing my weight go up and up despite dieting since junior high, high school.” Amy chimed in again, “Not learning about reverse dieting until a few years ago. Fun fact, I learned about reverse dieting on a Friday night in college and I could have been out drinking with my friends. I was the nerd reading an internet article online and I discovered reverse dieting. Oh, what a game changer.”

Kelly says, “Always feeling like I need to be a certain number, feeling attached to the scale.” Yeah, we’re due for another scale related call or a scale number. I’m going to make a note of that in the future. “The regain after the success makes me feel like a failure, pulls me down and drives me for additional stress.” Yeah. Oh Karen, that’s a good one as well. Something is wrong with me because I can’t stick it. Oh, you guys are awesome. This is very, very good, open, honest, vulnerable. I appreciate it. There’s a theme of feeling like a failure, feeling of fear, scared and just uncertain. I would also probably add in here, not to put words in anybody’s mouth, but almost like a sense of we’re not in control anymore. We’re doing all of the right things or what’s told we’re supposed to be doing, that’s we’re supposed to be doing and it’s not working. Am I broken? Can I not do this? Am I doing it wrong?

So obviously there is a tremendous emotional toll that comes as the result of this yo-yo dieting. I just wanted to read a few that I had written down previously just to show you how normal and relatable your feelings are and what you’ve experienced. So I wrote down the scale numbers and clothing size aside, the very act of committing to a goal and ultimately finding yourself further and further away from it despite these all in intense efforts, multiple efforts, this diet, this diet, it’s incredibly draining. And this type of pattern does bring about feelings of failure, helplessness, hopelessness, alongside depressive thoughts which eventually make their way into other areas of your life, how you show up in your career and your job, in your relationship, in your parenting, your social life, your extracurriculars, et cetera.

And this type of mindset then ultimately leads to a lack of belief in ourselves. A lack of commitment typically follows that lack of belief. And we just see this compounding negative spiral due to the greater overall emotional impact of yo-yo dieting. And I again want to remind you that sometimes the best approach when seeking weight loss is to put a temporary pause on seeking weight loss. So we can recalibrate, rebuild our relationship with food, rebuild our foundational eating habits, and ultimately, arrive with each of those being something that is unique, simple and flexible and therefore sustainable.

And the other thing I wanted to add to, I didn’t see anybody sharing it too, but when we continue to diet, diet, diet and we make these sacrifices, we give up alcohol or we give up our favorite foods, we skip out on social occasions. And this was the biggest one for me when I was younger, I skipped more social occasions than I care to even try to counter admit, I wouldn’t eat at family holidays or I’d bring my own stuff and just the emotional toll that has felt in our relationship with food, but also our relationship with others, with loved ones, with close ones.

And I know I’ve brought in a little bit of negative energy here, but I want to quickly bring us out of it with a reminder that you are in the best position possible right now to succeed. And so many of you have already experienced, you get the weight loss you desire, but every single one of you has made tremendous strides in your relationship with food, your relationship with yourself. And these are the areas that are the foundational catalysts to the long term sustainable weight loss that you desire. And as you continue to focus on slowing down, that act of slowing down to look into here and here will be what ultimately speeds up your attainment of significant sustainable results. So do not lose sight of that. You each are doing exactly what you need to be doing, which for many of you is drastically different than what you were doing before we happened to cross paths. And I applaud you for that, applaud you for your courage and open mindedness to take a different route.

Moving on to the physiological impact now. So again, I started off this call with a little bit of an illusion to this point here. There are many recommendations if you’re going to see your doctor, your endocrinologist, whoever he or she may be in the medical field who you go to, more often than not, one of the general most commonly shared recommendations to help write a, and I use this very loosely, right or wrong in a specific health parameter category, is to go lose weight. There’s ample, ample research and evidence to show that if you go from an obese BMI to an overweight BMI or an overweight to a normal weight, you experience vast improvements in various health markers.

But these improvements are very short lived if you are caught in this yo-yo dieting pattern and the depth of the effect that that stress of losing weight and gaining weight has on your risk for certain disease states, puts you in a position in which you are at significantly greater risk compared to if you were just, again, arbitrary numbers here, 20 pounds overweight for the rest of your life compared to someone who is losing 20 pounds, gaining 25, losing 15, gaining 18.

The person with this type of trend line is in a far better health position versus the person who is constantly doing this. And I want to share some of the data research here that I have found with you just to illustrate and drive these points home a little bit more. And the one caveat I’ll share is most if not all of the research I have here is absolutely done in humans. But there’s a couple studies where some of the research was done in rooted populations and then they just extrapolated and put together, like this will probably happen in a humanistic model as well. Always just like to be very clear on that. But let’s talk diabetes first.

So two types of diabetes, type one, type two and 95% roughly of all cases of diabetes are type two diabetes, which is what we’re going to focus on and which is characterized by insulin resistance. And the long story short of this is when we eat carbohydrates or sugar and we begin to break that down and absorb it, the amount of sugar or glucose in our blood begins to rise. In response our body, again, wanting to keep homeostasis, the pancreas produces insulin. Insulin comes, grabs that sucker of glucose and shovels it where it needs to go, to the liver to the muscles or to be stored and converted elsewhere. What happens when we begin to develop insulin resistance is now all of a sudden if it took three units of insulin to handle this 40 grams of carbs meal, over time, as insulin resistance develops, it might take four units of insulin. And these are arbitrary numbers, five units and six. So we need more and more and more, which means your pancreas is working overdrive. Again, another form of stress present to produce more and more insulin to handle the same amount of carbohydrates.

And what happens here is your body, when we begin to put on body fat, we store body fat in different places through our body. It’s highly related to our genetics, very, very individualized. But when we are caught in that vicious yo-yo dieting cycle… Oh Tanya has a guest too, outstanding. Extra, extra eyes and ears. But when we’re stuck in this yo-yo dieting cycle, where’s the primary place that our body prioritizes storing body fat? In our bellies. That is the primary place. And this is concerning for many reasons, but specific to diabetes is ultimately there is a significantly higher risk for insulin resistance when we have more abdominal fat.

And there is preliminary research, excuse me, in rodent populations that suggest that this yo-yo dieting has an even more detrimental effect on insulin production and insulin resistance putting you at greater risk. So the quick recap is yo-yo dieting increases the amount of body fat stored particularly in your belly. This specifically has been shown to have a strong influence on insulin production and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance in and of itself leads to a cascade of several negative reactions and adaptations in the body that leads us to not being able to handle carbohydrates well, being more at risk for weight gain, lethargy, fatigue, cravings, and the list goes on and on.

And moving on, just checking in the chat. Yeah, I love this too. I remember too, Chloe has her kids do the monthly challenges with them as well. Somebody’s husband is doing a challenge with them. The name escapes me. I don’t know why at this moment. But yeah, really cool. So I agree. Role modeling to a T, moming heart. I love it.

Let’s move on to another big risk factor. One of the primary killers in the United States alone is an increased risk for heart disease. So heart disease broadly referring to the narrowing or the occlusion of our blood vessels and coronary artery disease or CAD being the most common type of heart disease and the leading cause of death, like I mentioned, in the United States for men and women. And if we are overweight, if we are obese, there’s just a general increased risk for a heart disease related condition. But if we chronically restrict and lose a vast amount of weight in a very short period of time and then conversely find ourselves gaining all that weight back in a quick period of time, there is a significantly greater risk in developing heart disease.

So there’s a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in which researchers assessed several variables among just under 10,000 different adult participants and found that the increase in heart disease risk was greater based on the swing in weight that somebody was experiencing. The more weight that was lost and then regained, the greater the risk for developing heart disease. So again, think about it like this, the larger your weight loss fluctuation, I’m down 20 pounds, up 25, I’m down 30 pounds, up 35, and this happens multiple times over the years, the higher your risk for developing heart disease.

And if that’s not enough, there’s a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that analyzed several studies and concluded that that large variations in weight over time doubled the odds of death from heart disease. So again, yo-yo dying in of itself, the chronic restriction, the chronic binging, the weight loss, the weight gain has a much deeper impact physiologically and emotionally, as we discussed, predisposing you to a greater risk for some of these disease states.

And then the last one I want to mention as well is an increased risk for high blood pressure. So high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is defined as having a blood pressure greater than I believe it’s 139/89. And this ultimately increases your risk for blood clots and having a stroke. Fortunately, improving your blood pressure can really be distilled down into making better nutrition choices and exercising more, which usually leads to weight loss. Really, really good. It’s more or less a simple or an easier fix in some of these other disease states and conditions. But for yo-yo dieters in particular, the positive impact of weight loss on blood pressure isn’t nearly as strong compared to someone who was overweight and then lost weight and maintained it. And as you get older and you accrue more years of yo-yo dieting, get this, research has found the positive impact of weight loss on blood pressure may completely disappear. Again, because of this, the chronic stressful state that constantly losing weight and gaining weight has on the totality of our physiology, we are at a much greater risk for these disease states.

Now let me be frank. Our calls are not usually this grim and I want to make sure we end on a positive note, but I think it’s really important to just understand the depth that these behavior changes have on a much deeper level when it comes to not only our overall health and wellbeing, but our longevity here. So many of us have been stuck in this pattern of merely eating to survive versus eating to thrive and feel our best. We’re stuck in this pattern of caring way too much about, is this a good food or a bad food? Stressing about eating this, eating that. And it’s these types of behaviors where we get so caught up in the moment sometimes where we’re not able to see what happens 30 days, let alone 30 years down the road.

So I share this information on tonight’s call simply for more awareness, for more knowledge because both awareness, knowledge are power. And I want to use this to also remind the second part of that saying is that awareness and knowledge are absolutely nothing without action. And again, each and every one of you is in the environment to make the necessary changes up here and up here or down here, excuse me, to begin improving your foundational eating habits and your relationship with food. But perhaps most importantly, improving the relationship you have with yourself. Your amount of self love, compassion, kindness, grace and forgiveness, what you think about yourself and what you believe you are capable of. It is all of that information and all of that action, that deep, chaotic, uncomfortable, and messy work that will put you in a position to ultimately enter a diet phase more prepared than ever before, puts you in a position where your diet phase only entails eating a little bit less food.

We’re not throwing your old grocery list out, changing your meal prep habits, doubling down on extra cardio. No, that’s the only change. We’re going to eat a little bit less for a couple months if that. And it’s going to put you in a position to be able to sustain the outstanding progress you need. And the best thing you can do when you are struggling to lose weight is to stop trying to lose weight. Take a break, recalibrate, reassess, rebuild, and then move forward when all of your metaphorical ducks are in a row and you are set up emotionally, mentally, and physically to have a successful diet and to do so in a way that is sustainable and enables you to live life to the fullest and also maximize retention of your results to the fullest.

Any questions on what I share this evening? Amy, your daughter have any questions? Teresa, anything? Jana? Ginger, any questions?


Hey Paul, I have a quick question.

Paul Salter:



It’s Jana. So talk to me about, so you reduce, you go through the diet, you go into the maintenance, you start to feel better, lift heavier weights, you gain more muscle. So how does that equate in the whole scheme things with reason and obviously the number on the scale might go up because muscle weighs more than fat. Can you speak to that a little bit?

Paul Salter:

Yeah, so quick correction, this is not me singling you out, I promise. I hear all the time, muscle doesn’t weigh more than fat. A pound of muscle is a pound of fat, they both weigh the same. And I don’t know where that came from. And again, I’m not singling you out or trying to be facetious in any way, but where the misconception is, what I think people were really trying to get across is muscle is more energetically costly than a pound of fat, which means we have to expend more energy to maintain muscle mass. So if we build more muscle or accumulate more muscle, our body has to work hard to extend more energy, we get to eat more as a result. Does that make sense?


Got it. Yes. I didn’t realize that. I always thought that was the muscle weigh more than fat. [inaudible 00:48:20] always go by the number on the scale, blah, blah blah. Interesting.

Paul Salter:

Very common misconception. But then to answer your question, as you progress pre diet maintenance, diet phase, post diet maintenance, you’re absolutely right. If you’re just simply humming along with great consistency in your nutrition and you’re not in a deficit, you are absolutely accumulating muscle at different rates depending on your training age, your literal age, type of training, et cetera. And the way that factors in is not nearly as significant as you think unless we’re talking comparing last year to next year, when we’ve actually had ample time to put on pounds and pounds of muscle. Because muscle is very hard to accumulate in a natural manner. Depending on how long you’ve been training for, again, your type of training, et cetera, a woman who purely maximizes body building style training and does everything to a T might only put on between four and eight pounds of actual muscle in a year.

And I don’t say that to make it sound like disheartening and discouraging by any means because four to eight pounds of muscle will have a world of a difference and an impact on your physique. And even for men who naturally have more testosterone, that number might be as high as 10 pounds. Again, if you’re doing everything to a T and always choosing optimal and perfection over practical and consistency. So I share that just to highlight, not too much is going to change from a nutrition perspective, Jana. It’s just going to be continued consistency. But as you build muscle and you train harder and you get stronger, you might see the scale go down a little bit for whatever reason. And that is a sign, hey, I do need to eat more to match this new energy expenditure.


Okay, cool. Thank you.

Paul Salter:

Yeah, great question.

Speaker 8:

Paul, can you hear me as a question?

Paul Salter:

Fire away.

Speaker 8:

Yeah. Okay. So why is it on other programs that when they finish a diet and they go straight into maintenance, they put you right back at your pre diet maintenance, whereas you decide to slowly incorporate us back up. What’s the pros and cons of both?

Paul Salter:

So there’s a couple, and I’ll add one more category in there just for and giggles because people will probably come across this. So there’s the camp that will go, like you said, zero to 100 is the way I’ll categorize it. There’s our approach, which is more of a moderate in the middle approach. And then there’s even people who will increase four to five grams of carbs per week. We’re talking 10 to 20 calories. It gets really, really puny there. So the reason behind such a large increase after a diet is to completely overhaul the psychological adaptations that took place. Generally, if you’ve dieted for a very long time, you’re going to experiment what we like to call diet brain, and that big increase in calories is really just to help quell those psychological challenges, thinking about food all the time, having vast amounts of cravings and also of course having very high hunger.

Now the pro with that is you quickly feel like yourself back to normal again. You’re eating so much food so you’re mentally and physically satisfied. But every approach has a pro and a con. So con there is, you are much more likely to see numbers on the scale go up significantly. And now what that could lead to is if we were to make that drastic jump, you might see a five to 15% fluctuation on the scale. And I’m using percentages just because everybody’s body weight is different, but it might normalize very quickly. So pros and cons there.

I have always found this sweet spot we’ve arrived at just to be the best approach because it truly aligns up with how our body behaves. If we make moderate increase, just like I mentioned earlier I think when Tanya asked a question, a little bit of stress is really good. It causes powerful positive changes. So if we give just the right dose of stress, our metabolism comes up quickly and we can actually begin eating more food at a very quick pace and don’t need to go zero to 100. And by taking those incremental steps, giving a chance for our body to respond and keep up with feeling minimal overwhelmed, we get to maintain our weight loss, satisfy our cravings, and begin to eat abundance more of food.

Speaker 8:

Got you. Sounds good. Thank you.

Paul Salter:

Yeah, good question. Any other questions this evening? Points I can clarify? Random questions? Funny jokes? Jan’s our Friday woman. We need like a go-to jokester though. We’ll have to work on that. I’ll have to scout her out.

Speaker 9:

Can I apologize that my kid was picking her nose on a recorded video?

Paul Salter:

Oh, I can’t-

Speaker 9:

This is motherhood.

Paul Salter:

I’ll edit and put it on social media though. I’m excited for this. Awesome. Ladies and Dave and I, it’s so good to spend this Wednesday evening with you. I hope we found tonight’s call valuable. As always, if you have any questions, specifically the ones that tend to happen 60 seconds after we hang this call, don’t hesitate to shoot me a DM. More than happy to continue our conversation there. But kudos to you as always. Congratulations on making yourself a priority and literally smacked up in the middle of what I presume to be a very busy week. So kudos to you. It’s wonderful to spend this time with you. You know where to find me, which is always in the community. Have a fantastic rest of your Wednesday. And if you haven’t participated in the freaking sit up challenge, you got four or five hours depending where you’re living, get your damn sit up set. It’s a fun challenge and you grow tremendously inside and out and you also accumulate a lot of sit-ups, win-win, get it done. I’ll see you in the community. All right, bye everybody.

Share this post

Paul Salter

Paul Salter is a Registered Dietitian and Founder of The 5% Way. Since 2013, Paul has worked one-on-one with nearly 1,500 men and women, helping them to collectively lose tens of thousands of pounds of body fat and keep it off for good. He’s also published nearly 1,000 articles, two books, and 175 podcast episodes (and counting) on all things related to our five core elements of sustainable weight loss.



Micheala is a Transformation and Community Success Coach. She specializes in bringing out the absolute best in you and helping you see that you already have everything you need to achieve the transformational results you desire. Micheala will be an incredible asset for you on your journey since she went through the process herself and has seen long lasting results.

The Maintain My Weight Loss After A Diet Blueprint

Leave a Comment