Do you know anyone who is quite overweight but doesn’t eat much? To look at that person you may think she eats a lot, when in actuality she really doesn’t eat much. (Or, maybe this is you and you can relate). Wonder why this is? How can a person be quite overweight but not eat much? Don’t you have to eat a lot to gain fat? More times than not this is due to yo-yo dieting. Although it may seem innocent enough, dieting here and there for short periods of time can have lasting effects. The effects are far from innocent and quite ugly. Let me explain… When you decide to go on a crash diet or quick fix program, you drastically change what you are eating overnight. You diet hard for a short period of time and your body fat decreases, your muscle mass decreases (unless you are following a very high protein diet) and, unfortunately, your metabolism decreases as well. Crash Diet= Decreased body fat, muscle mass and metabolism In the end, you may have lost body fat but now you have a lower metabolism. Then, after you crash diet you start to long for more food. You can’t stand the restrictive diet with obsessive portion control so you begin to eat more. And more. And more. Soon you have gained the body fat back. You might think that you are now back to where you started, but sadly you are NOT. When you increased your food intake rapidly, you didn’t give your metabolism and muscle mass time to catch up. The result? Increase in body fat but NOT equal increase in muscle mass and metabolism. Crash Diet= Decreased body fat, muscle mass and metabolism Post-Crash Food Intake= Increased body fat while muscle mass and metabolism stay the same (very slowly increasing) The Ugly Truth? Your Quick Fix has left you in a Fix. You now have a higher body fat than before with a lower muscle mass and metabolism. People who yo-yo diet continually decrease their metabolism. After the post-crash diet body fat increase, that person is even more unhappy with his body and does what? Looks for another ‘quick fix’ to lose body fat. But this time, his metabolism is lower than it was before so it takes even less food to achieve the same results as the last time. Rinse, lather and repeat. A wrecked metabolism can be repaired but it takes a long time and lots of patience. Thinking about crash dieting? Wooed by the latest fad? Make sure whoever you are working with is well educated about proper nutrition and is educating you so that when you are on your own you can maintain that level of food. Make sure you have a good relationship with food. Work with someone who addresses the emotional aspect of food so that you can emotionally handle the decreased amount of food in the crash diet. A quick fix may make you feel good short term, but long term it will leave you feeling worse. Want to learn more? Check out Layne Norton’s video blog on this exact topic. Layne is a professional bodybuilder/powerlifter and a coach with a PhD in Nutritional Sciences. He does an excellent job of taking the complicated science of fat loss and muscle gain and describing it in layman’s terms.