Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer

4 Reasons to Break Up with Yo-Yo Diets Today

It’s so easy to get lured into the latest craze when it comes to healthy eating. You’re promised unlimited energy, unprecedented weight loss, and a healthy glow so bright your teeth will be seen from outer space.

So you try it. You throw out all the treats in your house, or all the grains and beans or all the meat or all the dairy or all the fruit. You buy the ingredients for your latest diet, and try with all your might, irritating and alienating your family along the way (because who really wants to eat “pancakes” made out of garbanzo bean flour and organic apple sauce, topped with one teaspoon of steamed date puree?).

And hey, maybe you lose five or ten pounds. Maybe you lose 20, or more. But ultimately, living on kale chips and bean curd (or even chicken breast and scrambled eggs) is unsustainable, and before you know it you’re back to eating all of your favorites or, even worse, everything you can get your hands on (even if you never knew how much you loved oatmeal until you were told you couldn’t eat it).

Along with the extra calories come the inevitable extra pounds, and you’re back where you started. You think it’s your fault and vow to try again—maybe this time you should give up all yellow foods?—but end up going through almost the same roller coaster ride of weight loss and weight gain.

Yo-yo diets aren’t good for you, any way you slice it. Here are 4 reasons to break up with them, forever.

  1. They’re expensive. No matter what the diet is, it very likely calls for ingredients you don’t normally keep in your house. Going paleo? You’re going to spend a ton on farm-raised, pastured, baptized beef. Not to mention the money you’ll spend on organic coconut oil and raw macadamia nuts. Going raw? You’ll need a juicer, a dehydrator, and about one zillion pounds of nuts and produce to get started. Buying into one of those programs that provide the food for you? Yeah, I probably don’t have to explain how that would get expensive.
  2. They make you lose confidence in your ability to make good choices for yourself. When you diet frequently, you’re buying into the idea that a diet guru who has written a book or has a snazzy website knows what’s best for you. When you can’t sustain the way of eating that they have prescribed, or want to eat different foods than they allow, you feel like a failure and lose the ability to feel as though you can choose the right things to eat.
  3. They make you think you can’t control yourself around certain foods. When you take a food away, from bananas to baked potatoes to cheddar to beef to (of course) chocolate, you begin to focus on them all the time. You may have never cared much for cereal before, but now that you’re not allowed grains, man, doesn’t a big bowl of toasted O’s sound good? And when you do go back to the missing food group (as you inevitably will), you’re going to eat so, so much more of that food than you would have. This “proves” that you shouldn’t be allowed to eat that food, when in fact putting it on the forbidden foods list in the first place made it that much more appealing.
  4. They make you miserable. I mean, do you really need a better reason than that? Feeling like you can only eat certain foods, have to skip social events, or can’t eat with your family is not going to increase your health and well-being. Losing and then regaining the same 10 or 20 pounds is going to depress you. Try small but permanent lifestyle shifts (like walking 30 minutes every day or including 5+ servings of fruits or veggies each day) instead of over the top diets.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.