register for a free guide

Subscribe via email today


Weight cycling is the weight loss-weight regain phenomenon that happens in some overweight and obese individuals who want to lose weight. It usually occurs in people who habitually adapt a weight loss program, then quit, and adapt another one again. The Weight-control Information Network defines a small weight cycle as the loss and regain of approximately five to ten pounds of weight. Large cycles also occur particularly in severely obese individuals and in most cases, the weight change may involve 50 pounds or more.

What are the problems associated with weight cycling?

More weight gain

One of the biggest problems with weight cycling is more weight gain at the end of the cycle. In one study published in the July 2011 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the researchers recruited 78 postmenopausal women who are overweight or obese. Their body composition were analyzed and recorded before the weight loss intervention, immediately after the intervention and six to twelve months after losing weight. The researchers noted that their study subjects who intentionally lost weight usually regain weight within a period of one year and their fat mass usually becomes greater than their lean mass after their weight cycling. Gaining more fat after losing weight makes it more difficult for those who previously lose some weight to lose their present fat mass again.

Binge eating

After a period of very low-caloric weight loss diets, many patients experience the out-of-control feeling of eating a lot of food. This is called binge eating and it loads the patient with a lot of calories much more than he or she actually needs. Out-of-control eating causes the patient to go back into the loop of weight cycling.


The Weight-control Information Network mentions depression as one of the major problems associated with weight cycling. Most people who are stuck in weight cycling tend to feel like a failure making them feel depressed.

How can I prevent weight cycling?

Focus on your goal and be committed – focusing on your goal can help you achieve a healthy modest weight loss.

Stick to an attainable, healthy, easy-to-adapt weight loss diet plan – fad diets that encourage you to take in very amounts of calories can make you binge-eat afterwards. Think of those weight loss diet plans that you can have for the rest of your life.

Have regular physical activity – people who do not engage in regular physical activity are the ones who usually get trap in weight cycling, according to the Weight-control Information Network. To get out of the cycling, have your physical activity everyday for the rest of your life. You will not only maintain your weight loss, you will also get healthier too.


Weight-control Information Network: Weight Cycling

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; Is lost lean mass from intentional weight loss recovered during weight regain in postmenopausal women; Beavers, K.M. et al.; July 2011

Category : Weight Loss Guides

Write a Review of Weight Cycling: What is it and how can it be prevented?