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Why you should avoid the yo-yo effect

You've probably heard it many times before, but do you know why it's so bad to gain and lose weight? This is because losing weight quickly almost always results in gaining weight again. Here's the explanation why.

Many people want to get a kickstart by, for example, following a powder diet or another type of starvation diet. The plan is then to return to the regular diet when the first kilos have been lost. It sounds like a good plan, but that's not how our bodies work. Burning fat is a slow process because the body can only release a certain amount of fat from the cells per day. What you lose instead is fluid and muscle. Which creates a vicious circle, because muscles actually increase the metabolism.

The reason why many people lose two to three kilos in the first weeks is that all the excess fluid disappears from the body. This happens as a result of a reduced carbohydrate intake. It is mainly fast carbohydrates, such as white sugar and unnecessary snacks that bind our fluids.

If the fluid is gone from the body and you're still in a major calorie deficit, your muscles are next in line. Since you can only lose a certain amount of fat per day, the body breaks down your muscles to provide fuel for the brain, liver, lungs and heart.

When muscle mass is broken down, our BMR, the basic metabolic rate, drops. This means that the daily energy expenditure at rest decreases and we get a slower combustion. Muscles are our key to weight loss because they expend a lot of energy just being there. If you lose ten kilos of muscle mass, you get a lower metabolism. When you start eating normally again, your body needs less energy and you gain weight. You may be gaining weight before you started your starvation diet.

But it is possible to repair the damage. Combustion is not static and adapts to the circumstances. So with patience you can build it back up slowly, by slowly increasing energy intake while building muscle mass through strength training at the same time.

What many people don't know is that your metabolism actually increases the more you eat. This is because the body is constantly striving for balance and a good, healthy weight. Many overweight people actually have a fairly high metabolism, even if they don't believe it.

Losing weight must take time. In the first few weeks, it is normal to lose pounds faster, as excess fluid disappears when you change your diet. But after that, you should aim for a pound a week. Let it take 20 weeks if you want to lose ten pounds. In the meantime, make sure to do as much strength training as possible, to signal the body to keep the muscles. You should have a calorie deficit, but it should not be too big and you should eat well and healthy regularly.