However, new research from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in the US has shown no link between repetitive weight loss and metabolism changes.
Repetitive dieting, otherwise known as weight cycling, has been thought to impact on how effectively our bodies can burn calories, with many believing a history of yo-yo dieting slows the metabolism.
The study published in the journal Metabolism showed no such result, indicating that it does not matter if women diet on and off throughout their lives.
Senior author of the study Dr Anne McTiernan said: "A history of unsuccessful weight loss should not dissuade an individual from attempts to shed pounds."
Researchers examined the behaviours of four groups of women aged 50 to 75 to determine if repetitive dieting had a negative effect on the body.
Some 439 women were randomly split into four categories; reduced-calorie diet only, exercise only, reduced-calorie diet and exercise and a control group that carried out their normal habits.
According to the study, those on the diet-only programme and the diet and exercise regime shed ten per cent of their starting weight by the end of the project.
Despite the fact yo-yo dieters tended to be 20 pounds heavier than non-cyclers at the beginning of the study, researchers found no significant differences between the two groups in terms of successful dieting, blood pressure and insulin sensitivity.
While pursuing a healthy balanced diet is best for long-term weight management, this study suggests there is no reason to be discouraged from dieting if one programme proves ineffective.
Dr McTiernan encouraged women to follow a healthy lifestyle including plenty of exercise to help stave off health problems like cancer and obesity.
"We know there's an association between obesity, sedentary behaviour and increased risk of certain cancers," she said.