Why Yo-Yo Dieting Isn’t Actually So Bad for You

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Seriously, again? It seems like Kirstie Alley is always in the news about her weight, whether she’s losing it or gaining it back.

On the Today Show this morning, the actress announced her 50-pound slim down over the past nine or so months, thanks once more, to Jenny Craig. (Alley is a paid spokesperson for the weight-loss company.)

“It was so easy for me when I did it before,” Alley told People, referring to her 75-pound loss with Jenny Craig between 2004 and 2007.

As she told Matt Lauer on Today, “This time it’s different. My goal is to keep this and maintain this throughout my life. … I feel like I’ve conquered that now. I’m sort of hardheaded. You know, when I used to do drugs, it took me a while to quit, quit, quit—and then it was done. And I feel like that’s occurred for me [with my weight now].”

For many, hearing about her perpetual yo-yo dieting is more of an annoyance than anything. And that can’t be good for your body, right? But turns out, no matter how many times you shed pounds and then put them back, dipping to a lower, healthier weight is just plain good for your heart, finds a recent study in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Researchers followed about 1,000 men and women from birth until age 64, and saw that those who went down to a lower BMI group (so obese to overweight, or overweight to normal) reduced their risk of heart disease—even if they gained the weight back.

“Losing anywhere from 3 to 10% of your body weight at any point in your life is helpful,” study co-author Naveed Sattar, MD told Health. So even though Kirstie may re-gain the 50, the fact that she slimmed down at all is a good thing. “The point is to keep going,” Dr. Sattar said. “Even a small dip that doesn’t last gives your body a break and probably helps keep your heart and blood vessels younger in the long run.”

So while hearing about Kirstie Alley’s dieting may drive you crazy, her weight loss efforts aren’t bonkers, at least when it comes to her heart.

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