Genetics could play a role in diet yo-yo

Posted at 9:52 PM, Jan 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-01 22:00:33-05

Constantly gaining and losing weight—better known as the ‘diet yo-yo’—might be more than just a failed attempt at maintaining your weight.  According to Dr. Daisy Merey, a board-certified Bariatrician for 35 years, genetics can play a major role. 

“People who have unfortunately inherited those genes have a tendency in gaining weight and also have more difficulty in losing weight,” said Dr. Merey. 

For mom and full-time orthodontist Sharon Haas, that’s a struggle she says she has experienced her entire life. 

“Growing up I remember times when I was very thin and I also remember times when I was very overweight,” Haas said. “I was self-conscious of it.  I think I noticed that there were people around me that were thinner, and prettier.”

Haas dropped the extra weight and by the time she married was just 120 pounds, but with moderate exercise and healthy eating her weight continues to fluctuate. 

“It seems to be an ongoing process,” said Haas.

Dr. Merey said Haas, a patient of hers for years, is the perfect example of someone who has trouble maintaining a healthy number on the scale thanks to her genetics. 

Merey said a mom’s behavior while their baby is in the womb can influence genetic mapping.  Eating fattier foods when you’re pregnant can affect your child’s weight throughout their life.  Then—once excess fat is there—Merey says the problem continues. 

“Nutrition of the mother is very important for the child’s development,” said Merey. “Your brain makes you crave the foods, and the brain is the one that controls your appetite.  If you have a tendency or a propensity for weight gain it's a constant battle. 

But that genetic, battle of the bulge is one Haas isn’t willing to lose.

“I think knowing genetically I’m probably programmed to be overweight that it’s definitely more of a struggle,” Haas said.  “But I don’t think that means you can’t overcome that; the mind is stronger than the genes.”

To get to a healthy weight and stay there Dr. Merey recommends finding a healthy, but realist BMI for your body—one that you can stick to.  According to the Centers for Disease Control anything under 25 is considered a healthy BMI. 

To find out what your BMI is click here: