Question: OK, now I’ve really gone and done it! I fell off the SCDiet during the holidays. Not only did my fatigue, headaches, aches, itching, reflux, and depression return, I’ve gained five pounds! I made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight and improve my diet, but, despite my best intentions, I’ve failed. What can I do to get “back on the wagon”?

Answer: The first thing you can do for yourself is to stop feeling guilty. You recognize the link between your diet and your symptoms of yeast overgrowth. Now it’s time to recognize the link between yeast overgrowth and excess weight.

The vast majority of people with yeast overgrowth have weight problems, although few of them link the two. When you’re exhausted and depressed, the last thing you want to do is to move around, so weight gain is likely from that alone. However, there is a complex chain of events that yeast overgrowth can cause that triggers weight gain that goes far beyond an unwillingness to exercise and burn calories. Yeast also contributes to the build up of belly fat, the most dangerous type of fat that has been associated with increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.

This subject is discussed at length in The Yeast Connection and Women’s Health, but here is a capsule:

There are several ways yeast contributes to belly fat because it’s more than just fat. Yeast causes abdominal bloating that can add an extra five to seven inches to your waistline that seems to appear out of nowhere. This can be devastating for someone who is on a diet and trying to lose weight and lose inches. Yeast can also contribute several pounds of fluid retention in an attempt by the body to dilute the toxins that are produced by the yeast.

This is not taught in medical school and most doctors still don’t believe it exists. If a woman says she has only been eating 1,000 calories a day for a week yet still gained weight, a doctor tends to think she is not being truthful. However, if she is adding carbohydrates/starch/sugar to her diet, she may very well be growing yeast, which creates a toxic buildup and fluid retention as her body attempts to dilute the toxins. This is a whole new way of looking at weight gain that most people are not aware of.  Besides bloating and toxic fluid build-up yeast can decrease thyroid function and lead to lowered metabolism, a well-known cause of weight gain. Those food cravings that we think are just a lack of will power can actually be caused by yeast clamoring for its favorite foods: sugar and simple carbs. Yes, in this state, even honey and fruit can contribute to the yeast overgrowth.

Finally, yeast overgrowth can cause your immune system to overwork in an attempt to deal with the toxic overload. This places chronic stress on the adrenal glands, which raises cortisol levels . . . and you can’t lose weight when you are under stress with elevated cortisol.

Understanding this process will make getting “back on the wagon” easier. The first few days may be a bit of a struggle as you drop back and begin the “Beginning” SCDiet (homemade chicken soup regimen, etc.) again. You will find the cravings and imbalances that caused the weight gain will soon disappear when you once again starve out the bad bacteria by eating only the Allowed SCDiet Foods, and add the good probiotics (bacteria) with the homemade lactose-free yogurt (or fermented veggies).

Most people can make it through and feel good again. Occasionally, however, there is a point of no return when the intestinal damage is too severe to completely heal again. The wise person never takes diet risks.

Adapted from