Fad Diets vs. Lifestyle Change
We’ve all seen the infomercials, the advertisements, and the “as seen on TV” fad diet products in the supermarket. However, do these fad diets work? While some may claim to have quick results or to be “endorsed by a doctor,” the majority of them put an unhealthy strain on your body or are based on 100% false claims.
First things first, what is a fad diet? A “fad diet” is a weight loss plan that promises dramatic results, as defined by FamilyDoctor.org. They are typically pretty unhealthy, sometimes even dangerous, and do not hold long-term results. Some of these include juice cleanses or liquid diets, celebrity named diets such as “Suzanne Somers Somersizing,” or “magic weight-loss pills.” So, how do we recognize fad diets?
- The diet completely cuts out certain nutrients, such as carbs, sugar, or fat.
- The diet promises extremely dramatic results (Lose 20 pounds per week with X/Y Diet!)
- The diet is based on pills or powders
- The diet replaces meals with bars or drinks
- The diet requires you drastically cut back calories
That’s not to say that all diets are fad diets- there are a few that are fantastic for you and can yield great results, provided you stick with it. A “clean eating” diet is the best example of that. Instead of being based around eating more or less of specific things, it’s about eating foods that are unprocessed or minimally processed or refined, so that they are as close to their natural form as possible. Plus, a great thing with clean eating is that it can be flexible; many people maintain the diet on a 80/20 scale- 80% clean eating, 20% whatever else. So if you’re just craving that bagel in the window at Starbucks, that can be part of your 20%.
(Here is a great article by fitness magazine that goes into the steps of clean eating, if you’re interested to find out more!)
So if we should avoid fad diets, how do we lose weight? Basically, eat healthy foods and exercise regularly. Try to do some form of exercise daily, to keep you metabolism going and to burn a couple of calories. If you can, try to get 30 minutes to an hour in 4-6 times a week. And of course, exercise is not the only part of staying healthy- you’ve got to eat too!
- Watch your portion sizes! I know this can be tough sometimes, especially when out at restaurants. But control where you can.
- Stay hydrated- water, water, water! Drink a glass first thing when you wake up, and several more throughout the day. Take a water bottle with you wherever you go, if you’re able to. You may have to make a few more trips to the bathroom than usual, but your body will thank you.
- Eat a variety of foods- carbs, veggies, fruits, grains.
- Limit your daily intake of saturated and trans fat, sodium, and cholesterol. (But don’t you throw those eggs out- they’ve got good cholesterol!)
- And last but not least, as Parks and Rec puts it best…
- As long as you don’t overdo it, treat yourself! Channel your inner Donna and Tom and have a cupcake after a long day, and hop back on that healthy horse the next morning. Just as eating one salad doesn’t make you healthy, eating one burger or one piece of cake doesn’t make you unhealthy. Don’t limit yourself- if you fight an extreme craving, the craving will fight back harder.
Stay healthy, smart girls, and leave your tips in the comments!