Metabolic and anthropometric changes in female weight cyclers and controls over a 1-year period

J Am Diet Assoc. 1993 Sep;93(9):1025-30. doi: 10.1016/0002-8223(93)92042-v.


Objective: Women who diet to lose weight often regain the weight over time, and the cycle repeats itself. The objective of this study was to identify a group of female weight cyclers and to match them with a control group who had never consciously tried to lose weight. For 1 year, weight patterns, eating habits, metabolic parameters, and body composition were assessed to determine whether there was a relationship between weight cycling and these variables.

Design: Measurements were done at baseline and at 6 and 12 months. Changes in weight, diet, and exercise were monitored throughout the year.

Setting: All testing was done at a university physiology laboratory.

Subjects/samples: Nine weight cyclers with a notable history of dieting and food restriction were recruited. Subsequently, nine control subjects were selected and matched for age, height, weight, lean body mass, and exercise habits.

Main outcome measure: The observational study included measures of 3-day diet records, skinfold and girth, serum glucose, insulin and triiodothyronine, and resting energy expenditure.

Statistical analyses performed: The main variables were analyzed using a 2 x 3 (diet group x time) analysis of variance with repeated measures on the time factor. Comparison of the means was done by Tukey post hoc test.

Results: A 7-point satisfaction scale indicated that the weight cyclers were dissatisfied with their weight compared with the noncyclers (P = .03). Otherwise, there were no differences between groups in dietary intakes or the physiologic variables.

Applications/conclusions: In the parameters measured, a history of weight cycling did not affect the metabolic profiles of the weight cyclers compared with the noncyclers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology
  • Anthropometry
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Composition
  • Body Image
  • Diet Records
  • Diet, Reducing* / psychology
  • Eating
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Triiodothyronine / blood
  • Weight Gain / physiology*
  • Weight Loss / physiology*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Triiodothyronine