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Updated: Nov 11, 2022

Have you heard the old saying that it's "always the last 10lbs you can't lose" when dieting?

Yo-yo dieters are people who lose and regain the same 5kg again and again. In fact, some yo-yo dieters lose and gain the same weight 10 times in a year.... For 50+ years.

If this happens more than 3-5 times, you're officially "weight cycling."

Weight cycling has some pretty gnarly side-effects, but most people have no clue about them. Let us tell you about some of them...

6 side effects of weight cycling are:

1. Appetite awareness decreases leading to cravings and increased likelihood of binge eating. It’s not your fault that after years of dieting you are more obsessed with food.

2. Muscle loss can be experienced as food intake decreases during dieting and when regaining fat storage is preferred by the body

3. A condition called fatty liver can occur due to cycles of weight gain and loss with dieting

4. A higher risk for type 2 diabetes has been associated with yoyo dieting

5. A higher risk of heart disease, with the greater swing of the yoyo. That makes, the more times you lose and gain the same weight, the higher this risk is

5. Increased dissatisfaction and stress - with food and by extension, life

6. Weight cycling has been linked with increased depressive symptoms, which may be due to feelings of “failing” to stick to the diet. Let us be clear: you are not a failure for falling off a diet. Shannon has a whole podcast episode talking about this right here.

Are you weight-cycling?

  1. Have you experienced a loss then regain of weight due to dieting?

  2. Has this happened more than three to five times?

Then yes you may be experiencing weight cycling. The weight itself can be minimal, but the gain and loss is what causes some side effects.

if you're ready to get off the dieting cycle for good, we want to help you. Get in touch with us via the contact form.


  1. Madigan et al 2018

  2. Rhee 2017

  3. Byun et al 2019

  4. Rhee et al 2018

  5. Jung et al 2021


We are a specialist eating disorders and disordered eating online clinic. We support people with troubled relationships to food with expert Nutrition Counselling.

Founded by Shannon Western in 2019. The team has grown to welcome wonderful Dietitians and Nutritionists all to help you feel better with food.

Are you:

  • Struggling with feeling overwhelmed or out of control with eating?

  • Unsure about when, why, and how much to eat?

  • Ready to take the steps (however small!) away from your eating disorder, disordered eating, or long dieting history?

We are here to help you do just this (and more). All with compassionate, practical, supportive person-centred Nutrition Counselling.

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