diet-695723_1920How many times have you successfully lost weight — only to gain it again further down the track?

Yo-yo dieting (such as losing 6 pounds, gaining 8 and losing 3, repeat) is not only frustrating, but it may also cause changes in your brain that prime you to eat more when stressed, a study from theUniversity of Pennsylvania states.

When your diet includes bouts of starvation, missing meals, or very low calories – you are setting yourself up for the yo-yo effect. While it seems that good results can be achieved quickly, sooner or later, the body gets the hint that less calories are coming in. The body adapts, and decides that energy must be conserved – and metabolism (the way the body burns food for energy) begins to slow down. Often this can be a ‘plateau’ – the weight loss that was initially achieved begins to slow down or stop. (

Some studies suggest that weight cycling may increase the risk for certain health problems. These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and gallbladder disease. Losing and regaining weight may have a negative psychological effect if you let yourself become discouraged or depressed. (

Scientists offer up a solution for the quagmire: Consume a quarter of your daily calories from protein to keep weight off. People on a diet moderately high in protein are twice as likely to keep losing weight as those who don’t eat as much protein.