How to Stop the Yo-Yo

Feeling like you keep getting stuck in the yo-yo? You lose some weight but then gain it back (and then some)! The key to success may have more to do with biochemistry than willpower. That’s because the way we typically try to lose weight and our modern diet doesn’t set us up for success. Instead, they work against our bodies and inevitably lead to weight gain. 

The traditional way that most of us have been taught to lose weight is by restricting calories. The idea is that we will lose weight by burning more energy than we’re consuming. While this is theoretically true, it doesn’t always end up that way. This way of dieting leaves out how our body’s biochemistry works. Specifically, this theory doesn’t address the impact of the quality of the calories we consume and the way our body’s metabolism works. 

Here are 3 important facts about the science behind how what you eat and your habits affect your metabolism.

Quality over Quantity

Our body works to turn the food we eat and the drinks we consume into energy through digestion. Food is broken down into its macronutrients - fat, protein, carbohydrates - and absorbed into the body. Carbohydrates break down further into sugar molecules in our bodies. When too much sugar is in our bloodstream, our body releases insulin to help the cells absorb the extra sugar. When those cells are full, the residual sugar is stored in our body as fat. Fat is much harder to burn for our bodies and tends to cause weight gain.

In this instance, while you may be consuming fewer calories, the quality of those calories makes a big difference in how your body responds. 

Count Nutrients. Not Calories.

Further, if your diet is made up of added sugar or low-quality carbohydrates, you will get stuck on a cycle of cravings. That’s because your body is not getting the nutrients it needs from your food and won’t release leptin, the hormone that tells your brain that you’re full and satisfied. Instead, the hunger hormone, ghrelin, will keep signaling that you need to eat more, saving you from returning to the cupboard for more food. 

On top of the leptin-ghrelin hormonal loop, your brain’s biochemistry will also be impacted by this added sugar. That’s because our brain releases dopamine, the chemical tied to pleasure and reward when we consume sugar. When our dopamine surge eventually crashes, our brain looks for more dopamine quickly in the form of sugar. This is how we become addicted to sugar. 

Unfortunately, there is so much hidden sugar in the food we eat today. From salad dressing to snack food, our modern diet is full of it. The best way to avoid this added sugar is by eating a diet rich in fresh, whole foods. 

Make your metabolism work for you, not against you

Finally, the last significant way we get stuck on the diet hamster wheel is by ignoring our body’s metabolism. Our metabolism primarily regulates our energy expenditure to support our survival, especially in lean times. When we are overly restrictive with our calories, train too hard, or lose weight too quickly, our body slows down our metabolism. This makes it harder for us to lose weight, and when we inevitably go back to eating the way we used to, it causes us to gain a lot more weight. 

The key to working with our body is consistency. Instead of going on a diet, creating better, long-term healthy habits that can work with your metabolism is better. 

In summary, the best way to stop the weight loss yo-yo is by focusing on the nutrients in your food instead of the calories. By consistently eating a diet rich in nutrients and fiber and low in added sugars, you can work with your body to lose weight while keeping you satisfied. 

Learn more about the science behind Plantable, and how our programs can help you break your addiction to sugar, support you in creating healthy habits, and get you the results you want.