What goes up must come down…

Or rather, what goes up can come down. At least as far as the numbers on your scale are concerned.

New research shows that you can forget what you might have heard about yo-yo diets ruining your metabolism. Even if you have a history of extreme weight gains… and losses… and gains… you can still get fit again. No excuses.

Researchers enrolled 439 overweight or obese postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 to 75 in this latest study. They were, of course, sedentary before the study started. And at least a quarter of the women had histories of moderate to severe weight cycling.

Researchers assigned the women to four different groups. One group cut 500 calories a day. Another group took brisk walks, but didn’t diet. Yet another group dieted and exercised. And the final group made no lifestyle changes.

At the end of a year, results showed that two of the groups–the women who dieted, and the women who dieted and exercised–lost 10 percent of their body weight. The women who only exercised lost substantially less, at just 2.4 percent of their starting weight. But ultimately, there was no significant difference between the results of the yo-yo crowd and the results of women with less sordid dieting pasts.

Not in weight loss. Not in the amount of body fat or muscle mass lost. And not in hormone concentrations, blood pressure levels, or insulin sensitivity, either.

Two key messages stand out to me here. The first is the fact that exercising, while necessary for your health, just isn’t enough. If you want to shed pounds, you have to change your relationship with food. There’s no way around it. And the results of this study reflect that very simple fact.

The second is the most obvious takeaway: You always have another chance to lose that weight and get healthy for good. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many times you think you’ve failed. In the weight loss game, you’re only as good as your last diet.

And yes… if you follow my New Hamptons Health Miracle, this diet will be your last one. I promise.

“History of weight cycling does not impede future weight loss or metabolic improvements in postmenopausal women,” Metabolism – Clinical and Experimental – 14 August 2012