Avoid the Diet Fads

Diet fads are sweeping the world as people want quick solutions to their growing weight. It’s estimated that only 5% of those who lose weight with these types of diets will keep it off...so why are so many people spending so much time and money on these non-solutions?? This page gives a summary of many of the short-term diets on the market, their pitfalls, and some ways to increase your chances of weight loss success.

All diet fads have one major common thread that lead to their low success rate: they focus on the short-term. They give us exactly what we want (“lose weight fast!”). This inherent impatience of ours has us pursing a solution before we’ve even identified the problem. All of the diet fads on the market feed off of this quick-fix mentality. Remember: The companies that sell diet products are driven by profits and increased sales…not your long-term success.

The best way to lose weight and keep it off involves some detective work on your part. How did you get to the point where you are now? What do you eat in a day (not a guess-timate…write down actual quantities & calories)? How much exercise do you perform a day? After you have a good grasp on your daily habits, and which ones need to change, then you’re ready to initiate a gradual plan for long-term change. This is a major first step towards meeting your health and fitness goals…and staying fit.

Most diet fads focus on short-term change. Think about it…most of them come with a 30-day supply of their diet product….what happens on Day 31?? Be cautious as you look for instant gratification...it’s far better to pursue permanent lifestyle changes.

Below is a list of some of the more popular diet fads and their premise for weight loss. The principles of weight loss are largely the same for all of these diet products and that’s through a reduction of daily calories, but the companies will try to lure you into thinking that their product is some sort of scientific break-through. I, too, have fell victim to a few of these fads…so don’t feel bad. Some of them can be used to help change our habits…there not all bad.

  • Diet Fad #1: The One-Food Diet
    Some people will eat weeks of cabbage soup or grapefruit in hopes of getting to where they want to be. And while this can be effective at taking off some pounds, there’s no special metabolism magic going on. If you eat nothing but soup or grapefruit, your daily calorie intake will be very low. Add in some moderate exercise and you’ll be burning far more calories than you’re eating – this will facilitate weight loss. So how long can you eat nothing but cabbage soup or grapefruit? Then what?? You’ll go back to what you know best – your old habits…and the weight will come back with it. Long-term weight loss requires long-term changes…not a few weeks of soup.
  • Diet Fad #2: Diet Pills & Patches
    These nifty little devices pose as our own little personal diet-disciplinarian. The diet patches supposedly suppress our urge to eat, while many of the diet pills will force our body to reject fatty foods above a certain amount. Sounds great, huh? A simple no-fuss solution…right? Wrong. These products come with risks and side effects that will make them far from convenient. Take for example, the over-the-counter drug Alli. The most common side effect is “anal leakage”. Call me crazy, but I think I’d rather just avoid the cookie jar than have daily “accidents”?! The prescription drugs have much more serious side effects that could impact your kidneys, liver and other organs. And once these side effects or the cost of the product forces you to stop…what then? That’s right – back to your old habits. These products just aren’t worth it. One wedding…that one-week on the beach…whatever is causing you stress and searching for immediate weight loss solution is not worth the cost and side-effects of these products
  • Diet Fad #3: The Diet Foods Package
    Have you ever heard the sales pitch, ”Act now and we’ll send you a 30-day supply with an additional free 2 weeks worth of food”? A few of my friends have tried Nutri-System’s 30-day diet plans where they were shipped a meal plan and the actual frozen meals and snacks, and all of them have since gained back the weight and then some. The convenience of not having to plan and shop for healthy foods may sound alluring, but you may be back to where you are now in just a few months. Is that really worth it? These diets can be very expensive and the reason that they work is that they restrict the amount of daily calories…there’s nothing more complicated than that. You could save yourself hundreds of dollars and actually increase your chances of keeping the weight off if you just prepared your own food and counted your calories. There are plenty of FREE tools on this site under Nutrition 101 to help you out. Save your money.
  • Diet Fad #4: The Banned-Food Diets
    Remember the Atkin’s Diet? It was so popular that even fast food chains were trying to capitalize on it by having an Atkins-friendly menu. On a positive note, the Atkins diet raised awareness to our society’s overindulgence with starchy and sugary foods. However, for those of us that enjoy pasta, rice, and grain products…the prospect of eliminating carbs was a huge deterrent. Any diet that bans a certain food or food type from your diet is likely doomed to fail in the long run. Eating foods in moderation and gradual shifting to a better diet will facilitate long-term success. By eliminating a food that you enjoy, deprivation may lead to over-indulgence when you finally have had enough of the diet. I’d avoid the food-ban diets, they’re not conducive for permanent healthy lifestyle changes.

Diet fads can lure us in with their promises of quick success. And our self-disgust can often propel us through these diets for weeks or even a month, but then our motivation dwindles. I’ve seen many people lose weight with these products and celebrate their success and the end of the diet…only to be right back where they started (or worse) in just a few months.

There’s an entire profitable industry that feeds us promises of instant gratification, so make sure that you evaluate their plan and products carefully. Look for a diet that gradually shifts eating and exercise habits over a period of time. Weight Watcher Points is a good example of a diet that focuses on long-term success by having their members maintain a budget of daily food points. If you have the time and motivation to do it yourself, this website is loaded with free information, inspiration, calculators, exercise guidance, and even a monthly newsletter to help you out. Start with the Fitness Plan page and work your way through. It’ll take a commitment to yourself and some hard work, but you’re well worth the effort! Take it one step at a time…best of luck!

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