Why You Put On Weight Following A Diet - FBL

Why You Put On Weight Following A Diet


I thought the best way to illustrate the long term negative effects of ‘dieting is to use an example.

Gemma is a twenty five year old, five-foot five inch woman who gains 60 pounds of weight through over-eating and lack of exercise. She now weighs 200 pounds (14st 2 lbs). She panics one day and goes on a restricted calorie diet of 1,000 calories per day. She does not exercise. Her initial body composition is:

  •  Body fat: 38%, of 76 pounds
  • Muscle Mass (excluding bone, water and hair weight): 55%, or 110 pounds
  • Body weight: 200 pounds


She then loses 50 pounds rapidly over 4 months but cannot tolerate the starvation any longer. She starts to overeat again and gains back her original weight of 200 pounds (in reality most dieters will gain back more than their pre-diet weight). Body composition now:

  •  Body fat: 42%, or 84 pounds
  • Muscle Mass: 51% or 102 pounds
  • Body weight: 200 pounds


Fed up with her weight, and knowing that she was successful before she repeats the diet cycle again, reducing calories and losing 50 pounds. Again after 4 months she is fed up with starving herself and so goes back to eating previous calories and rebounds back to 200lbs. Body composition now:

  • Body fat: 46% or 92lbs
  • Muscle mass: 47% or 94 pounds
  • Body weight: 200 pounds


Do you notice the pattern?

With each dieting episode, she strips precious muscle mass from her body and replaces it with more fat weight.

 For every pound of muscle mass lost, she is reducing her power to remove excess fat. One pound of muscle mass burns anything between 35 and 50 calories at rest. So in the above example, best case scenario she has lost 16 pounds of muscle mass through yo-yo dieting and therefore if she doesn’t eat 560 calories (16×35) less per day she will gain weight.

If she once consumed 2000 calories per day to maintain a weight of 200 pounds, she now has to cut her consumption to around 1440 just to stay at 200 pounds! If she carries on eating 2000 calories per day then she will put on a pound of fat every 6 days.

How do you get around this then?

Too much detail for this article, but needless to say by adopting a weight training exercise programme and then making long term nutritional changes (forget short term diets), not only does weight come down but more importantly so does body fat.