Yo-Yo Dieters

Women who go up and down on the scale can still lose weight

(RxWiki News) Many women lose or gain 10-20 lbs. several times in their life. The good news is that yo-yo dieting does not prevent women from being successful with diets later in life.

A recent study compared weight cyclers to non-cyclers in diet and exercise groups. Results of the study showed that losing weight on a diet is possible for both groups.

"Make healthy dietary choices!"

Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD, from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s Public Health Sciences Division, led an investigation into the long-term effects of weight cycling.

For the study, 439 overweight, inactive women aged 50 to 75 were split into four groups for 12 months.

Group 1) gave 118 women a weight loss goal of 10 percent; 2) put 117 women in aerobic exercise for 45 minutes/day five days/week; 3) had 117 women do both diet and exercise; 4) used 87 women as a controls.

Moderate weight loss was considered 10 lbs. or more, while severe was considered to be 20 lbs. or more. Moderate or severe weight loss three or more times was considered ‘cycling’.

Each of the women were given multiple blood and hormone tests to measure their metabolic function.

At baseline 103 women fell into the moderate cycling and 77 women were considered severe cyclers. These women also showed unfavorable metabolic profiles.

After the 12 months of dieting or exercising, results showed that the weight cyclers kept up with their diet and/or exercise as well as non-cyclers.

The metabolic profiles of the cyclers improved in the exercise group.

Ladies in the diet only and diet and exercise group lost 10 percent of their body weight by the end of the 12 months.

Moderate or severe cyclers did weigh approximately 20 lbs. more than non-cyclers at baseline. But, this did not appear to hold back any of the cycler women from sticking to the diet and/or exercise regimens.

Dr. McTiernan said, “A history of unsuccessful weight loss should not dissuade an individual from future attempts to shed pounds or diminish the role of a health diet and regular physical activity in successful weight management.”

This study was published in August in the journal Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental. Funding was provided by the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute and the Canadian Institutes of Health, no conflicts of interest were found.

Review Date: 
August 15, 2012