Why Yo-Yo and Fad Dieting Does Not Work and What to Do Instead

December 6, 2021

Everyone deserves to feel good about and be happy in their own body. For many, achieving this goal means losing weight. Unfortunately, many people do not go about this process in a healthy and effective way. Yo-yo and fad diets can be quick ways to lose a few pounds, but they often do not last, and the weight comes back. Taking a well-thought-out approach that includes identifying causes of weight issues and incorporating sustainable changes can lead to better results.

What is Yo-Yo Dieting?

It is the cycle of weight loss and gain, like a yo-yo that goes up and down. You may diet for a few weeks and successfully lose weight, but once you stop or drift off course, you end up gaining all of that weight back, and possibly more. This triggers you to go on a diet again, and the cycle continues.

What is Fad Dieting?

Just as fashion trends change, so do diet trends. Fad diets are the latest approach for weight loss that may or may not work or be healthy for your body. These programs promise a quick fix or fast results and often lack any type of reputable scientific research or studies. They often involve limiting or eliminating certain foods or food groups. They are popular for a while, then another one comes along and becomes the next best thing.

Why Yo-Yo and Fad Dieting Do Not Work

These types of weight loss programs rarely provide lasting results. As soon as you stop following the given plan, you may gain the weight back. Plus, these types of diets can wreak havoc on your body. As you lose weight, you burn fat, but you also lose muscle mass. When you gain weight, fat accumulates more quickly than muscle. Fluctuations in your weight can also affect your gut health, blood pressure, blood sugar, and heart health.

Following the latest diet trends can also take a toll on your mental health. It can be frustrating when you do not see the results you want, and you constantly have to watch what, when, or how much you eat. If a food you love is off-limits, it can be tempting to “cheat” and have it anyway, which can negate some of your success.

A Better Solution: Medical Weight Loss through Functional Medicine

Rather than bounce from one diet to the next with varying degrees of success, it can be beneficial to create a plan that works for your body. Medical weight loss plans take multiple factors into consideration, such as:

  • Diet
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Genetics
  • Hormones
  • Lifestyle

Functional medicine doctors look at the reasons behind why you may be gaining weight or having trouble losing it or keeping it off. It could be due to a combination of factors such as hormonal imbalance, thyroid problems, vitamin deficiency, poor sleep, or high stress. Understanding these issues and getting them under control can make a major difference in your weight loss journey.

What Strategies are Used to Lose Weight?

There is no standard solution to weight loss as every person’s body and needs are different. A functional medicine doctor will evaluate your health as a whole, looking at blood work, fat density, muscle mass, diet, exercise, and lifestyle. Your doctor will discuss your goals and what results you would like to achieve. Your personalized plan may include approaches such as:


Learn how to create a healthy diet that includes all of the recommended vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Your body needs carbohydrates and fats to function effectively, so eliminating entire food groups can be dangerous. Instead, focus on moderation and eating more fresh, whole foods as opposed to processed foods. Many patients find intermittent fasting beneficial for stimulating metabolism and fat burning without severely limiting foods.


Keep your body moving with an exercise plan that fits your abilities and lifestyle. Incorporate different types of physical activity such as cardio, aerobics, and strength training. You may choose to go to the gym or exercise in your own home. It is important to develop a plan that you feel comfortable with and are committed to maintaining. A good rule of thumb is at least 150 minutes of moderate activity a week.


In some cases, medication is necessary to help manage health conditions such as hypothyroidism or hormonal imbalances. Once these issues are controlled, you may find it easier to lose weight and keep it off. You may have more energy, improved sleep, and a better mood as well, which can make a difference. However, medication is not used as a primary means of losing weight but rather a complementary approach.

Mental Health

Stress can lead to unhealthy eating habits or overeating. Recognizing the causes of stress in your life and making meaningful changes can create a better relationship with food. You may incorporate approaches such as yoga, mindfulness, meditation, or deep breathing to help you relax and calm your mind and body. This can also give you a more positive attitude when it comes to embracing medical weight loss strategies.

Lifestyle Changes

Simple changes can make a big difference, such as drinking more water and being more active. Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work, or park further away from the entrance. Pack your own lunch to limit processed food, fast foods, and portions. Get more sleep, so you are rested, energized, and alert for the next day.

Regain Control of Life With Medical Weight Loss

Take back control of your health and wellness through a personalized medical weight loss program. Schedule a consultation at the Wisconsin Institute of Functional Medicine today to start your journey of looking and feeling better while skipping yo-yo and fad diet plans.