Yo Yo Dieting – Why does the weight come back so fast?

Yo yo dieting has got to be near the top of the list when it comes to reasons people struggle with their weight. And it all comes down to genes.

We have the same genes as our hunter gatherer ancestors, human genes haven’t changed in at least 30,000 years. This means that we have the same genes that enabled humans to survive an ice age. This is really interesting and I cover it in more depth in Uber Slim.

Surviving an Ice Age

Food wasn’t in abundant supply, and when calories were short there was real danger of starvation. Other times there might be glut of food, for a relatively short period of time. To survive, the human body was programmed to do two things:

  1. Slow the metabolism down in lean times – to conserve energy
  2. Make fat in times of abundance – to increase the chance of getting through the lean times

We still have these genes today, but for most in the Western world the famine never really comes – but some replicate it by yo yo dieting.

Yo yo Dieting – What Really Happens?


Because of your hunter gatherer genes, when you restrict food by going on a diet you send a message to your body that food is short. Your body perceives famine – this is an emergency because it could mean death!

Your body conserves energy by slowing your metabolism:

  • You burn less energy
  • Your fat-making enzymes are switched on

Once these effects have been switched on – the effect is long lasting, and there lies the big problem. Because on the other side of the coin, your hunter gatherer genes are programmed to make fat in times of abundance.

It’s pretty easy for most people to get fat when food it freely available. But if you’ve really switched on your thrifty hunter gatherer genes by starving yourself, you’ll find out just how effective they are at storing fat. Yo yo dieting is a great way to do this.

Starving yourself by going on a restrictive diet turns up to full your survival genes.

In this state your body clings to any calories it gets, and is very stingy at releasing the energy once it’s got it. Your body remains in this state long after you break your diet, so when you start eating more your body very rapidly, and very efficiently turns that into fat. It knows its famine season so it’s getting ready for the next one.

Another diet a few weeks or months later reinforces this message, and you get even better at making fat. Yo yo dieting is the best way to train your body for fast weight gain. Working in harmony with you genes ensures weight loss, it’s what I teach in Uber Slim.

Break the Yo Yo Dieting Cycle

Bearing in mind it takes between 40,000 and 70,000 years for any significant changes to happen in human genes – we are stuck with our hunter gatherer genes, we can’t do anything about it.

The only solution is to work with what you’ve got, and the first thing to do is stop yo yo dieting.

The second thing is to learn how to work in harmony with your genes, because when you do that you can achieve your ideal and healthy weight. You can maintain it, and you’ll never feel starved again! Say goodbye to yo yo dieting.

It’s really interesting that while reduced calorie and starvation dieting fails miserably – fasting doesn’t, in fact it’s a VERY effective weight loss strategy. Read more here (and don’t be put off by the title of the blog if you’re not a woman!)

Get in touch with any questions you have, I always answer personally.

Have a great week (without yo yo dieting)

Dr Julie

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