If you've heard one, you’ve heard them all; keto, paleo, Atkins, Nutrisystem, weight watchers, whole 30, intermittent fasting, the cookie diet, and so many more diets out there that have claims of fast easy weight loss. Let's talk about what makes them a fad and why they don't work.
To determine what a fad diet is we need to look at what the claims are behind said diet.
about why they don’t work for most individuals and can leave us feeling even more frustrated than when we first started. Think about it this way: do you really want to commit to Nutrisystem or Weight Watchers and have to do that specific diet for the rest of your life? That seems pretty excessive and not the kind of life that brings joy and healthy eating habits to your everyday life.
When we think about lifestyle and our habits, think about how hard change is. Try to set your alarm clock an hour earlier, put time aside for a new hobby, change up your bedtime routine, maybe something more stressful like a new job or schedule change. How many things do you actually stick to that you try to start? Sometimes change is forced and sometimes we want to willingly change, but either way can be extremely hard. Now thinking about our diet I bet you've eaten about the same foods you always have, created some type of routine around eating, and very rarely does it change for you. This may have created some issues for you like weight gain, health issues, physical and psychological problems and now you are seeking any solution you can find to get you back on track. This is where we turn to fad diets for a quick easy fix. These diets are usually never sustainable and can actually cause more harm than good.
The harm in fad diets comes from the abrupt change in diet that can throw your body all out of whack. Have you ever heard of the keto flu? A phase people go through of actually feeling sick when starting out. That doesn’t sound very healthy to me. A lot of fad diets are also extreme in their changes such as eliminating food groups, huge reduction in calories, and strict in their rules. We just talked about how hard change can be and now you are abruptly changing something you have created life long habits around. From this we can experience yo-yo dieting (hopping in and out of diet culture) that can lead to excess weight gain, metabolism dysfunction, and even more health problems than you might have been experiencing before. These types of diets also have a high burnout rate and can be very draining when trying to function in everyday life leaving you frustrated, low energy, and honestly just miserable. I'm not saying you may not find one that works for you but I can tell you there are much better and healthier ways to change your lifestyle to reach your goals.
The sad thing about these fad diets is most of them aren’t doing anything other than reducing your calorie intake which creates a caloric deficit and makes you lose weight. It doesn't matter what kind of foods you eat, if you reduce your calories enough you will lose weight. As soon as you stop and go back to your normal eating habits you will automatically gain that weight back and possibly even more than before. You want to create a lifestyle that you can maintain for the rest of your life because we don't want to diet our entire lives because we can't. It's not sustainable and we will always fall off the bandwagon at some point.
We want to create lifelong healthy changes that are sustainable and let us live the life we want to. I don’t think it's fair to expect anyone to never eat a piece of cake again at a birthday party or enjoy their favorite holiday meal. Fad diets can also create disordered eating habits that can result in restriction and binging habits that can be very hard to break. Being mindful about what we eat and when will give us the best outlook on our health in the grand scheme of things. Life can be hard and big changes can make it even more challenging. By taking small healthy steps to reach your goals, you will gain power over your life and get you feeling like you are in control.
Here are some small changes that you can make to your diet to start feeling better and reach those goals you are working towards. You may not even need to do all of these things - just pick a couple to start. Small consistent changes are going to produce far better results for prolonged periods of time than suffering through quick fix fad diets.
Some small changes to start working into your lifestyle can include:
You most likely don't need to overhaul your whole life and eating choices but take small steps to be more mindful about what you are eating and when. Start slow and consistency will start to speak for itself. Remember you’ve had years to create the habits you have now and it can take years to break them down and create new ones in their place. Give yourself grace and remember your goals and how you want to live your life. One step at a time will get you moving in the right direction. Next time you see an ad for some new weight loss program remember they are just trying to cash in and may not have your best interest in mind. If it seems too good to be true then it probably is. If we somehow found some new secret to weight loss that was easy don’t you think everybody would be doing it? Treat your body with respect and it will respect you back.
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Hi! My name is Allison Hopkins and I am the owner of Wilcox Wellness & Fitness in Brunswick, ME. I am excited to bring WILCOX to Brunswick and share in my passion for living a great life through health and fitness.