I hate the word “diet.” As soon as someone says they are on a diet, it just seems like they are miserable. Have you been there? When I think of diets, I think about being hungry, cutting carbs, eating weird foods, no chocolate, and unnecessary cleanses. None of those things are pleasant to me, so why would I subject myself to that torture? Well, a lot of people do buy into diets, and there have been many over the years. I’m here to tell you that fad diets are not worth it.
There are all different types of fad diets out there that focus on different strategies. There are liquid diets like Slim Fast, where you drink one or more meals instead of eating food. Atkins and The Zone are two popular low-carb diets. The first stages of these diets are extremely limiting, then you slowly build good carbs back in. Dr. Ornish gave us the low-fat diet, but we now know that fat isn’t the enemy we used to think it was. There are also diet pills like Dexatrim and Hydroxycut. The idea of diet pills should just be scary to everyone.
It can be very tempting to fall for the advertising of fad diets, promising dramatic weight loss results in a very short amount of time. Those before and after pictures can also be another reason you get sucked in. You think, Wow, look at her. She looks great. I want to look like that. In reality, these diets are just a money-making scheme that will most likely leave you unsatisfied. Here are the top reasons you should avoid fad diets.
#1 – Short-term results
Many fad diets require a huge deficit in calories or eliminating a particular food group. Any diet that tells you to cut fruit completely from your diet should be a red flag. Of course limiting calories will make you drop pounds quickly, but what happens when you go off the diet? Yep, you guessed it! Those pounds will just come right back on. You are most likely losing water and muscle. There is not a good chance of long-term success with these types of programs. Do you want to lose 10 pounds for 2 weeks, or forever?
#2 – Health issues
When you cut out a lot of calories or certain food groups, you are putting yourself at risk of becoming deficient in important nutrients, like vitamin C, B, or calcium. For example, carbohydrates are our body’s source of fuel. If you go on a low-carb fad diet, you are most likely going to feel tired all the time, and your metabolism may change in a negative way. Are you going to eat low-carb forever? If not, then there is no reason to put yourself through the torture to lose pounds that you may end up gaining back.
#3 – Expensive
Fad diets are not cheap. There are multiple ways the companies try to squeeze money out of you. You may have to buy a book, a DVD, take a course, and buy food, supplements, or other items. This will add up very quickly and can end up costing hundreds of dollars. I have even talked to people who spend over $100 each week on the food their diet center requires them to buy. Yes, your health is worth investing in, but not this way. It makes more sense to just buy whole, fresh foods and invest in some sort of exercise equipment, whether it’s at home or at a gym. If you really need guidance with starting a healthy eating life, you would be better off spending some money on a few sessions with a nutrition specialist. That way, you will learn how to eat right, and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle long-term.
#4 – No exercise
Most fad diets claim that you can lose weight with just their eating plan, no exercise necessary. Well obviously that is not a healthy approach. Eating right and exercise are both required for good health and genuine weight loss. Don’t believe anything you see that says otherwise. Now you might just want to start with a healthy eating plan, and add exercise in later so you don’t get overwhelmed, but don’t think that you can be healthy without exercise.
#5 – Exaggerated results
In the ads for fad diets, you will see a client who was probably paid to share her story. This person usually had dramatic weight loss results, and amazing before and after pictures. Have you ever read the fine print? You will see something like “Results not typical.” Plus, we have no way of knowing if she kept the weight off long-term. Don’t be fooled by the unrealistic visuals in these ads.
#6 – Deprivation-driven
If you have ever tried a fad diet, you probably know that they are not fun to be on. You are usually restricting calories and not allowed to eat the foods you love. You are probably miserable, tired, cranky, unfocused, and bored with your food. No one will want to be around you, including yourself. I have no idea why anyone would intentionally make themselves feel like that.
Fad diets are not the answer to health and weight loss. You can lose weight without them, and yes it will take more time and more work, but it’s worth it. You will get long-lasting results, you will feel good, and you will be all around healthier. Here are some key strategies to doing it on your own:
- Eat small regular meals and snacks throughout the day.
- Limit your sugar intake.
- Pay attention to your portion sizes.
- Exercise 5 times a week (or more).
You can do it!