Book Review: The Yo-Yo Diet Syndrome

Posted On: June 3, 2011

I picked up this book partly because my husband had pointed out something I was already acutely aware of; namely, that I was displaying signs of emotional eating. The main reason, however, was because the author is Doreen Virtue.

In case you don’t know who Doreen Virtue is, she is a highly regarded expert when it comes to angels, Indigo, Crystal, and Rainbow children. I can already visualize some of you rolling your eyes. However, The Yo-Yo Diet Syndrome is neither new-age nor based on hocus pocus. The use of affirmations is as far down that road as it goes.

Updated in 2010, The Yo-Yo Diet Syndrome is about emotional eating and how to deal successfully with weight problems. Intended for the person put off by stringent dieting rules, and who might have struggled to lose pounds on countless occasions — only to have that problem repeat again and again, this book was the only one of its kind during its time talking about the underlying psychological, spiritual, and physical causes of weight gain. Doreen Virtue is certainly well qualified to write about this subject for she holds degrees (B.A., M.A., and Ph.D.) in counseling psychology and ran a clinical practice for many years.

Whether you overeat due to stress, depression, boredom, fatigue or even happiness, or crave (and binge on) a specific type of food (such as chocolate, cheeseburgers, chips, to other fat- and calorie-laden foods), this book provides a wealth of practical information on how to heal your appetite and dieting issues, from the inside out, and in so doing, permanently curb inappropriate behavior once and for all.

Part One of the book talks about The Hungry Heart and attributes your craving for food to what goes on inside. Part Two features Five Overeating Styles with real-life examples: The Binge Eaters; The Emotion Eaters; The Self-Esteem Eaters; The Stress Eaters; and The Snowball Effect Eaters. This is where an affirmation for each overeating style is given. Affirmations are just part of the equation, because in Part Three, more ‘way forward’ strategies are covered from practical guidance on eating right; exercises for the body, mind, and soul; lifestyle strategies; to simple weight maintenance for the last few pounds.

As a clinical sexologist, I have my fair share of clients who come in lamenting about their weight and its contribution to chronic fatigue, lack of sexual desire and difficulties with conceiving a child. This is a must-read book for anybody who desires a simple and realistic method for shedding those excess pounds — for good.

On a personal note, I was able to identify that I was bingeing on chocolate whenever I was feeling emotionally effected after client sessions. At times, I was eating when it was not food, but rest, that I actually needed. I also ate out of boredom, resulting in eating in a ‘snowball’ manner. More aware now of what eating patterns I fall into, I am more watchful of what snacks I keep around me, and am reciting affirmations extracted from this book. We are all works in progress. Being aware of the symptoms is often the first step.


Dr. Martha Lee is Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching. She is a certified sexologist with a Doctorate in Human Sexuality. She provides sexuality and intimacy coaching for individuals and couples, conducts sexual education workshops and speaks at public events. For more, visit or email

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