How to avoid the yo yo effect.


It’s almost the end of my Tour de France 2015 and after 4 weeks spent in Paris, Bordeaux, Aurillac and on the Ile de Re, I’m happy to see that the French are still slim and fit… Traditional French food wisdom – the backbone of my approach –is instrumental in keeping them healthy.

So today as I know that some of you are thinking of going on a diet to feel and look better for summer, I wanted to share 7 mistakes most of the French don’t make when it comes to weight loss. 7 mistakes that can sabotage your hard work, prevent you from shedding those extra winter kilos and trigger the yo yo effect that most dieters unfortunately know!

I also could not resist the temptation to share the yummiest food photos of my trip. I hope you don’t mind… Bon appetit!

Mistake #1: deprive yourself.

French Champagne surf board...

Veuve on the Ile de Re.

This one is not negotiable for the French. Pleasure when eating is key. This is the only way to lose weight and keep it off. The recipe? Cherish your body, don’t punish it. Never feel deprived. Never deny yourself. If you follow a few principles that I cover extensively in my nutrition coaching programs, you can eat supposedly harmful or fattening foods such as butter, chocolate or cheese yet still be and stay slim…

My signature strategy Real Food + Pleasure = Health© has helped many of my clients embrace the positive approach to food and life of the French… desserts included! If 60 million French can do it, so can you!

Mistake #2: sweat on a dread-mill.

The best tomatoes from all shapes and colours.

The best tomatoes from all shapes and colours.

Don’t get me wrong: exercising is critical for your health, your heart, your happiness. So please don’t stop! However when it comes to weight loss, it’s all about what you eat.

The fitness industry doesn’t like it and doesn’t want you to know it but it’s a fact: 70% of a summer body is made in the kitchen and 30% at the gym. Swimming, yoga, walking, dancing will help a lot but if you still eat rubbish (or if you eat more because you exercise!) you won’t see any results.

So if you want to make the most of the beach season, focus on your diet first.

Mistake #3: no gluten, no dairy, no grains, no sugar…

Saint Nectaire, Cantal and purple wild figs.

Saint Nectaire, Cantal and purple wild figs.

Unless you’re gluten or lactose intolerant or suffer from food allergies, there is no sensible reason to cut any food groups.

Ask any Parisians: none of them follow these kinds of unsustainable rules yet most of them are slim and healthy. “What kind of life is it if you can’t enjoy fresh wholemeal bread, delicious cheese, yummy desserts and a glass of red wine? Boring!” they would all tell you.

As long as those foods are real foods and part of a balanced diet, you’ll be fine… and happy!

Mistake #4: eat low-fat.

Clams, white wine, onions, parsley.

Clams, white wine, onions, parsley.

You need fat to lose fat. Period.

I know, it’s hard to believe. We’ve been brainwashed for decades about fat being our biggest enemy. We know now that we need fat for our brain, our skin, our organs, our cells.

However the trick is to know what types of fats to choose, as some are very healthy while others are super toxic (generally the ones used in processed foods, take-aways and most restaurants!).

Do like the French: enjoy olive oil (more about olive oil HERE), grass-fed butter and duck fat.

Mistake #5: skip breakfast.

Le Tourteau: very light cheese cake made with yoghurt.

Le Tourteau: very light French cheese cake.

Everywhere in France over the last 4 weeks I saw people religiously having breakfast.

I’m sure you’ve heard it many times before – even your mum might have told you this every morning. A wealth of research shows that starting the day with a good nutritious breakfast is the MOST important thing to do to beat cravings, lose weight and give you the focus and energy you need to function properly, whatever your day holds.

A recent study confirmed that 3/4 of people who managed to lose weight for good had breakfast every day.


Mistake #6: eat salads.

Raw tuna, avocado, mango.

Raw tuna, avocado, mango.

What? Salads make you fat? Well, not exactly… The dressing does! So many of my clients do this mistake: they don’t pay attention to the dressing, use way too much or not the right one. For instance did you know that a Caesar salad is one of the most fattening dishes? It is even included in my very popular food traps list!

Avoid supermarket dressings and sauces at all cost. They are all loaded with very bad fats (see mistake #4), sugar and other nasties. Always make your own.

For some ideas of the best dressings used by the French every day, check out my recipes HERE.

Mistake #7: be on a diet.


Roasted camembert with jambon.

Raw, paleo, no-sugar, green juices, 5:2… You might have tried many of those fads. As covered by the Sydney Morning Herald (see summary of the article HERE), most of those diets don’t work. Worse: they trigger the yo yo effect. There is a wealth of research showing that 90 to 99% of people on a diet end up putting the weight back on within a year. The more people try different diets, the more likely they will put the weight back on later. Cutting particular food groups, counting calories or avoiding fat are the yoyo effect best friends.

The solution? “It’s not about a diet, it’s a lifestyle”, as my clients describe my approach. It’s about empowering you with the knowledge to know what to eat, how to source it, how to cook it, and most importantly how to ALWAYS enjoy it. Simple, cheap, easy and… delicious!

If like the French you don’t make these mistakes and use my 3 tips from last week’s article (link), you’re on your way to make the most of summer!

Have a fabulous week!


  1. Excellent advise once again… Thanks!

    • Thank you so much, Ann. Very happy you found the article useful. Yves

  2. Love your blogs..i always share them with my patients. As a Naturopath I find them a wealth of information in easy to read interesting articles. And i agree with all your ideas too! Food is meant to be enjoyed, I love the French approach!

    • Bonjour Fin, thank you so much! So happy you love my blogd and share them with your patients. It means a lot to me. Have a fantastic day. Yves


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