Yo-Yo Dieting and Metabolism


What happens to metabolism when you yo-yo diet? Read on…

Question: I have recently (within the past 6 months) put on about 15 lbs from stress eating and lack of exercise. I have a history of yo yo dieting and am wondering how much this affects my attempt to lose the weight now. My BMR is about 1350 but i have been very careful to watch my calorie intake and even at 1200, i do not lose and find myself even gaining! Is there a certain % by which metabolism slows if you go under a certain caloric intake? Thanks for the help.

Answer: Everyone’s metabolism varies so there is no certain per cent by which metabolism slows if you go under a certain calorie intake. It is usually recommended not to go under 1200 calories. If your body goes into starvation mode (you eat half the amount of food that your body needs), the body tries to spend as little energy as possible and this prevents you from losing weight rapidly. Also, the body tries to use its own reserves to get energy and you begin to lose muscle.

Your metabolic rate depends on many factors including the amount of muscle you have. For more info on this, please see How to increase metabolism?.

The good news is that yo-yo dieting does not lower your metabolism permanently. If you restricted your calories intake too much and did not do exercises, you have less muscle now than at the time you started dieting. However, you can increase your activity level and the amount of exercises you do and this will help you gain more muscle.

You should think about the things that make you gain weight. If it is stress, the first thing you should do is learn how to recognize and handle stress. Chronic stress disrupts the hormones that regulate everything from appetite to fat storage. You should spend more time on relaxation and exercises (for example, you can try yoga). When stressed, people tend to lose sleep. However, if you do not get enough sleep, you may gain weight. Most people need to sleep 7-9 hours.


2 thoughts on “Yo-Yo Dieting and Metabolism”

  • Please understand that only your doctor can give you a particular recommendation regarding your health and your diet. I can only tell you that if you eat less than 1200 cal a day, your diet must be supervised by a doctor as very-low calorie diets are dangerous.

    You can easily burn 1200 calories a day even if you are sedentary. You should understand that your body burns calories even when you are at rest. Your body needs energy to pump blood around the body, maintain body temperature, etc.

    Once again, it is very important that you consult your doctor as soon as possible.

  • hi im really confused and im needing urgent help from someone, i have anorexia … have been to hospital twice now and i have convinced the doctors that im mentally well again… which is not true. currentlyi am at the weight of 40.5 kg , im 5’6 and 17 years old, ive been currently consuming 1200cal a day but now its dropped to 700 cal a day… i dont over exercise as i get tired easily but i do house work… hula hoop for about half an hour a day sit ups and well other few things but not crazily active… will i burn those calories easily?…i want to know how many resting calories i should consume to put my mind at rest… and i was wandering… if i went back up to 1200 calories a day being sedetary active.. will i put on weight?… also if i was on bed rest eating that amount would i put on weight i was wandering?

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