Why is a quick weight loss diet FATTENING?

A Quick weight loss diet, followed by weight re-gain, or the yo-yo dieting cycle is the modus operandi (MO) of the average modern dieter. 

Have you done this more than once?

Unfortunately these recurring weight fluctuations are more than frustrating, inconvenient, discouraging, or fleeting aspects of the dieter's dilemma.

Each diet episode can have lasting effects on the body and your ability to keep the weight off!

How can DIETING can make you FAT?

A quick weight loss diet has a negative, lasting and fundamental impact on the body's system, altering its makeup, its ability to function in a state of balance and the efficiency with which it burns calories. 

The critical issue is not how many pounds the dieters loose but what kind of pounds!  Since the loss of lean body mass (muscle) occurs as soon as dieting begins, every down phase of the yo-yo syndrome leaves the dieter with less muscle mass.  This means you will be less efficient at burning calories and keeping the weight off for very long.

When the weight is regained mostly fat and very little muscle is replaced.

We have all seen the shocking and enticing pictures like the one below, where someone has lost a whole body size in weight. What you don't see is the picture of how much they gained back!

It is usually more than what they lost!

Even though the picture above is seductive when you are considering a quick weight loss diet, my question is always....what did they look like two to five years later. In my experience most people are bigger than they were before they went on the diet.

The ability to repair loss of lean body mass (muscle)decreases with each decade of life so a quick weight loss diet has more serious consequences as we age.  

Weight loss effor usually train the body's metabolism and cell function to adjust to a low-calorie diet by decreasing the basal metabolic rate which means you don’t burn calories very efficiently. Bad idea!

Diets also teach the body to metabolize the food you eat more efficiently, store more as body fat in preparation of the the next famine or diet! Quick weight loss diets also reduce the rate of dietary induced "thermo-genesis", or the rate that the body uses body fat for energy. 

By practicing Responsive Eating described on this website much of the damage from years of dieting.... can be undone.

Responsive eating involves eating in response to hunger within 5-10 minutes whenever possible, making a perfect match with the belly hunger, stopping with fullness (and even a little before fullness) and developing or maintaining regular pleasurable exercise.

There is still a need to rebuild the muscle lost through a practicing a quick weight diet.

To rebuild the muscle lost through years of dieting, be sure to include strength or resistance training in your exercise routines.  Muscles are the part of the body that require energy and burn calories, so as we loose muscle mass through a quick weight loss diet we burn less calories in our daily activities and in our exercise time.

That  needs to be corrected to support you in keeping the weight off for life!

The restrictive diet or quick weight loss diet is the problem!

The body will make adjustments based on the environmental threat of less food, just like animals in hibernation. 

So with quick weight loss diets, the weight loss you see on a weigh scale can be VERY DECEIVING you could be losing muscle which burns calories and keeps the metabolic rate high!

This is why you could get to the same weight you were 15 years ago and after years of dieting look VERY different. Your percentage of body muscle is dramatically reduced with each dieting episode!

But no one bothered to tell you that before you started dieting in the first place did they? Usually you are so anxious to loose weight you would take your chances on any diet, right?

Well.....hopefully after you learn the  information on this website you will never risk it again and go on a diet!


There is better solution offered here.


Below is an example* of what happens with a seven week program of calorie restriction with some who exercised during that time and some who did not.  Wow, it makes a big difference in body composition !

Later if both groups regain the weight the non-exercisers will have a greater percentage of body fat and less active calorie burning tissue (muscle) than the exercisers. 

The non-exercisers will have reduced their metabolism as well. Then with each weight loss attempt, especially a quick weight loss diet,  this will take place requiring  more extreme measures with each diet.

This is why people say “I can’t seem to lose weight by dieting like I was able to do when I was younger”, after years of the yo-yo diet cycle.

Here is another example of the results from a quick weight loss diet*.

A healthy 23 year old woman,  starts out at 115 and 25 % of that weight is body fat, she is not connected to her belly hunger and fullness and gains 20 lbs over a four year period.

She now weighs 135 and has 34 % body fat.  She diets drastically and reduces her weight back to 115 in 8 weeks and the end result is 31% body fat. 

Soon she resumes her old unchanged habits and the body in defense after dieting, regains the weight back to 135, now she has 38 % body fat.

As the cycle is repeated for several years she ends up with a body weight of 115 after a dieting episode but her body fat is 40 %.

Plus her body is starving and just waiting for an opportunity to “catch up” on nutrients and weight.  Her reduced amount of active lean tissue (muscle) and slowed metabolic rate have plunged her into a vicious cycle of weight gain.

That is especially what a quick weight loss diet does!  She watches herself get heavier even as she consciously controls her diet.

What is the solution to the problem of a quick weight loss diet?


The solution and reversal of this dilemma is to learn and practice Mindful Eating.

Stop restrictive dieting (that is disconnected from your belly wisdom), especially a quick weight loss diet AND make exercise (including strength training) a part of your daily life just like brushing your teeth.

Remind yourself that your muscles hunger for exercise, we were built for active living.  When we don’t get regular exercise our body doesn’t function as efficiently, we miss our inherent potential for vitality and good health.

 Exercise even for as little as 5-10 minutes, that is a concerted effort, to break through the threshold of inactivity and take good care of the body feels empowering.

Exercise is also a stretch of the willpower, that makes us feel like we have some control over our lives and it affects our healthy ego strength in a very positive way.

I will get into more information about exercise later.


Stop dieting forever and begin to eat in strict adherence to your belly wisdom with Mindful Eating (or Responsive Eating as I like to call it) while practicing understanding and meeting all of your other needs (Other Hungers). 

Stop weighing yourself compulsively, let the pounds fall where they may, and focus on your health and developing excellent self-care.

Learn to eat in response to hunger, fullness and body cravings while you Normalize foods


*Excerpted from research done by George L. Blackburn, M.D., Ph.D. & Konstantin N Pavlou, Sc.D., at the Harvard Medical School in 1985.

Many such studies have been done over the years showing the same outcome.



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